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Vol. 1 issue #95  Jan 21, 2004


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PPC For Dummies (Part II)
2003 By  Scott Van Achte

(Part I of this article can be found in the Adlandpro Archives.)
Two of the most important factors of any Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign are creating successful ads and deciding how much to pay per click. There are many PPC options out there to choose from, I am going to focus on the two most popular, Google AdWords and Overture.

Creating Your Ads for AdWords
Creating your ad copy is the single most important part of any ad campaign. You want your ad to stand out amongst the others and scream out 'click me!' If your ad looks the same, and says the same, as everyone else's, searchers will simply pass it by.

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 Before creating your ads you need to determine your target market and keyword selections. If your company focuses on a specific market niche, try to target your ads in regards to that niche. Properly targeted ads will almost always out-perform those directed at a general audience.

The ad you create should include your main keywords either in the title or near the beginning of the body text. Draw attention by using call to action phrases and words that provoke enthusiasm and response. Use phrases like "Save on DVDs," "Get cheap stereos," or "Join now for 20% discount," etc. Just be cautious and be sure to follow Google's Guidelines. If you advertise something that you don't offer, Google will pull your ad. Also, if your ad offers something free, make certain that its listed on your landing page!

Once you are satisfied with your first ad, create 3 more ads that are radically different from the first. After 3 or 4 days, take a look at how your ads are doing. (If you are using less frequently searched terms you may have to wait 1-2 weeks for better results.) Check the click through rate (CTR) of each ad. In most cases, one of your 4 ads will be out-performing the rest. If this is the case, delete the poorly performing ads and create 3 new ads that are similar to the successful one, each with subtle differences in the title and body text.


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Again, wait 3 or 4 days to see which ad is performing best. If you notice that one ad stands out, repeat the process. Eventually you will end up with 4 quality ads that are performing equally. Once the ads have leveled out, continue to keep an eye on them. I recommend that you do so daily. If one begins to slip, tweak the wording. Monitoring your ads is essential, if you want them to perform well.

Determining Your Max Cost Per Click with AdWords
With AdWords, when you enter your MAX CPC, Google will show the estimated average position for each keyword. (The position predictions provided by Google are based on historical data from previous advertisers and are not 100% accurate, but will give you an idea of what to expect.)

Unfortunately, there is no way to see what the competition is paying, so in most cases, it's a bit of a duck hunt. I suggest starting with a MAX CPC that is slightly higher than you might normally pay. This will ensure a slightly higher ranking for your ad and increase your chances of accumulating clicks. If your ad performs well, your rank will increase. Once you have attained a good click through rate (CTR), you can adjust your max CPC to reflect the position you wish to obtain. (See part one of this article to find out how Google ranks ads.)

Creating Your Ads for Overture
Writing the perfect ad for Overture is somewhat different than for AdWords. Overture only allows you to create one ad per keyword, so testing various ads and going with the obvious winner is not an option. However, the basics for creating your initial ad is virtually the same. After you have selected your target market and main keywords, write a specific ad targeting each individual keyword. Be sure to include the keyword in the title or beginning of the main body text along with a call to action phrase that will draw attention. Remember to check the status of your ads on a weekly basis and tweak as needed. Keep an eye on your click through rate and regularly modify poorly performing ads.

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Determining Your Max Cost Per Click with Overture
Deciding how much to spend on Overture is simple. Take a look at what the competition is spending and out bid them. With Overture you should always try to be in the top 3 if you wish to have your ad dispersed among partner sites (Yahoo, Lycos, MSN, etc). If the number 1 spot is currently paying 25 cents per click, you need only bid 26 cents to grab the number 1 spot. If you want the number one spot but are also willing to pay more, you can bid 40 cents, and will only be charged the 26 cents. One penny above the competition. Keep in mind though, if someone else increases their bid, your actual cost will also increase up to the max CPC you have entered.

Managing an AdWords or Overture PPC campaign can be confusing at first, but it doesn't take long to get a handle on what works. Creating a highly successful ad the first time around with either AdWords or Overture is a rare occurrence, but with a bit of regular maintenance and a well targeted campaign, it doesn't take long to start seeing results.

Scott Van Achte is a Search Engine Optimization Professional and PPC Manager at StepForth Search Engine Placement Inc. Based in Victoria, BC, Canada, StepForth is the result of the consolidation of BraveArt Website Management, Promotion Experts, and Phoenix Creative Works, and has provided professional search engine placement and management services since 1997. Toll Free - 877-385-5526 Fax - 250-385-1198
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