An Introduction to Google PPC (Pay-Per-Click Advertising)

What Is Google PPC?

PPC is short for pay-per-click advertising, a system that enables you to advertise on Google, getting your message out to a vast audience of people searching for products, services, or information that you can provide.

Google PPC is used by millions of websites and businesses all over the world: It’s a powerful, cost-effective way to raise brand awareness and drive qualified traffic to your site, boosting sales and other conversions.

So how exactly does PPC advertising with Google work? Learn the basics in this quick primer.

Why Use Google PPC?

Sometimes people ask, “Why would I pay to appear on Google when I can get my site to show up for free?” The answer is, it’s not as easy to drive “free traffic” as you think.

Google’s algorithms are designed to only reward the highest-quality sites with organic rankings, and it can take a lot of time, effort and cost to achieve organic rankings on the keywords you want to rank for. It’s worth the effort, but don’t you want to be attracting traffic and driving sales in the meantime?

Going the PPC route is often faster, and in addition, gives you more control over the appearance of your listing in the search results. For example, if you’re selling bird houses, you’ll have a real advantage over the competition that is only using SEO if you’re also using PPC. Take a look at these results:

Someone looking for birdhouses is going to be naturally attracted to the PPC ads on the right-hand side of the screen, because those ads contain images and other enticing, pertinent information like price, shipping info, and star ratings.

This is why PPC is so powerful for commercial searches. When people are ready to buy, they want all the commercial information that a PPC ad can provide. Plus, clicking on those PPC ads will take them directly to a landing page where they can make that purchase.

Google PPC works because when you make the sale, your business drives a profit over and above the cost of the ad. It’s a win-win.

Getting Started with Google PPC

AdWords is Google’s PPC advertising platform and main source of revenue. Typically, PPC advertisers use AdWords to bid on the keywords they want to trigger their sponsored ads. Google chooses which ads to be displayed and each ad’s position based on factors including the ad’s Quality Score (a measure of the relevance of the ad, primarily determined by click-through rate) and the advertiser’s bid, or how much they’re willing to pay for each ad click. This whole system functions very similarly to an auction.

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