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Pay-Per-Click: What It Is and Why You Would Use It

The concept of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a simple one: high-traffic search engines such as Bing and Google sell listings in their search results to businesses and individuals, which are displayed above the organic, non-paid search results.  The search engines sell these advertisements in an auction format, with the highest bidder having the best opportunity to rank at the top of the sponsored results.

Once a person clicks on your pay-per-click advertisement to visit your website, you must pay the amount of your winning bid per click on that listing.  So, if you won a bid at $.20 per click for the keyword ‘gizmos’, there is a good chance your listing will appear on top.  Once 150 people have clicked your listing, you will be charged $30.00.

Be aware that winning a bidding war for a specific keyword could end up costing you a fortune. It is easy to spend thousands of dollars participating in ‘ego-based’ bidding, and bid inflation means that highly-searched phrases will continuously increase in cost.  The payoff can, however, be well worth the risk, as PPC advertising can generate instant traffic.  A well-written advertisement for a popular key phrase can result in clicks and visitors for your site the instant your ad is activated.

With positive rewards and negative drawbacks, where does PPC fit into your marketing strategy?  The answer: as a focused and limited marketing tool among several in your advertising toolbox.

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