Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising involves the purchase of sponsored ads in the search engines on a Cost Per Click basis.  The advertiser only pays when the ad is clicked on.  PPC is one of the best ways to drive immediate targeted traffic to your company’s website and landing pages. It allows you to set specific daily/weekly/monthly budgets for ads that can then be geo-targeted, continually monitored, and highly optimized.  PPC is not just limited to the search engines anymore either.  Social media sites like Facebook provide great demographically targeted advertising.

When used with SEO, PPC provides a company the ability to gain great visibility in the search engine results pages, drive immediate traffic, gather valuable analytics data, and test new markets.  Search engines like Google have made it very easy for anyone to set up and run their own PPC campaigns but without the proper knowledge and insight, it is a very easy way to waste money without generating any kind of ROI.

Here are some best practices to follow.

Do Your Research and Develop a Solid Keyword List:  You can use both public and private keyword research tools to develop a solid list as well as gather data on what people are searching for in regards to your products and services. You can use this data to then develop highly targeted campaigns.

Categorize Keywords into Ad Groups:  Separating your campaign into smaller specific ad groups will create better organization, make it easier to write targeted ad copy and develop specific landing pages, improve Quality Score, and increase conversions.

Set Up Keyword Matching:  There are three types of keyword matching you can use: Broad (your ad will appear for any search relevant to your keywords); Phrase (your ads will appear for search containing your keywords); and Exact (your ads will appear only when the exact keyword phase is used).  Typically it is best to start with Broad Match and then get more specific as you collect more data.

Write Compelling Ad Copy:  Once you have your keyword lists and ad groups you can begin to write your ads.  Compelling ad copy that is relevant to your keywords is crucial for ensuring good click through rates and Quality Scores.  You can also test variations of ad copy to see what works best.

Use Rules Based Optimization:  Using Google Adwords and various bid management tools you can set rules which will help automate the optimization of the campaigns.

Use Well-Designed Optimized Landing Pages:  When running PPC campaigns, it is best to send the traffic to landing pages that are relevant to your keywords and ads groups.  For example, if your ad copy mentions a specific call to action or special deal, your landing page should reflect that.

Use Your Analytics Data and Make Adjustments for Optimal Results:  Test ad copy, test landing pages, analyze data on click through rates and conversions, and use that information to continually optimize your campaigns.