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What is PPC & Why Your Business Should Start Investing Today

What is PPC?

PPC, or pay-per-click, gets mentioned a lot in the digital advertising world, but what exactly is it? Often referred to as sponsored ads, paid ads, paid search, and search engine marketing (SEM), PPC is a form of digital advertising in which the advertiser pays to have its business listed at the top or in the sidebar of search engine results pages (SERPs). On Google, all paid ads will have the word “sponsored” or “ad” labeled on the results.

Search engine marketing is one of the most popular forms of PPC. It allows advertisers to bid for ad placement on specific keywords so ads show up in paid results. For example, if you bid on the keyword “where to stay in Vail,” your ad could show up in the top spot on the Google results page:


With PPC, advertisers pay a fee every time someone clicks on their ad. When your PPC campaign is optimized and working correctly, the fee is trivial because the user’s visit to your site is often worth more than what you paid to get them there. In other words, if you pay $3 for a click but the result is a sale worth $300, your PPC investment was money well spent.  

There is a lot that goes into building a winning PPC campaign. Most often businesses will work with digital agencies to manage and run these paid campaigns. Details such as selecting the right keywords, organizing those keywords into campaigns, ad groups and setting up landing pages optimized for conversions. Intelligently targeted pay-per-click campaigns are rewarded by Google by being charged less per click, leading to higher profit. So if you want to start using PPC, it’s important to learn how to do it right.

Why Do Small Businesses Love PPC?

Pay-per-click advertising helps small businesses compete with larger businesses on an even playing field. No matter the size of your marketing budget, ads from all businesses share the same search results pages, giving SMBs the opportunity to compete for a user whose attention might otherwise lean toward larger businesses and corporations.

Benefits of PPC:

  • Immediate ROI: PPC can provide you the results you desire with an immediate return on investment. You may begin to see results within hours of launching your campaign. In fact, PPC can drive traffic to your website much fast than organic methods. While typical organic search optimization can take months or even years before your site begins ranking, PPC for B2B can take just days to deliver results. Of course, this method of advertising comes with a cost.
  • Dominate SERPs: PPC campaigns can help you take the lead in search engine results pages. This will give your prospective customer more opportunities to reach your website or offerings. That benefit is multiplied when your company shows up in both paid and organic listings.
  • Brand Messaging: PPC allows you to have far greater control over your brand messaging in search results, whereas organic search results and the messaging provided is manipulated by an algorithm.
  • PPC Targeting: Paid campaigns provide robust targeting options such as location, keywords, mobile geo-targeting and competitor targeting.

Things to Watch Out For:

  • Lead Management: Make sure you have a sales process in place to accept and follow up with any leads that come through PPC.
  • Auto-optimization: Many PPC platforms self-optimize for greater performance. However, your campaign will still require human attention. Auto-optimization targets user behavior and performance based on what you’re able to tell the publisher, but not all details can get through. Make sure you’re not auto-targeting clicks that don’t convert.
  • Negative Keywords: Be sure to use negative keywords! This is a type of keyword that prevents your ad from being triggered by a certain word or phrase. Don’t spend money on the wrong traffic. For example, when you add “free” as a negative keyword to your campaign or ad group, you tell AdWords not to show your ad for any search containing the term “free.” If you’re not offering something for free, you don’t want to pay for those clicks.

PPC can be a profitable channel, but it’s important to remember that search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns can take time and practice to get the full benefit.

If you’re interested in exploring paid advertising for your company but don’t have the time to learn how to fully optimize and manage a PPC campaign, Swift Local Solutions will build, manage and optimize paid campaigns to one or all of our local audiencesresort, community, or agriculture!

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