Pay per click, or PPC, refers to a model of affiliate advertising on websites, which has the goal of getting the reader, or potential customer, to click on the ads. Each time a reader clicks on an ad, the merchant pays the website owner a fee. This fee is often determined by the keywords that the website owner places on the site, along with other factors considered by search engines, such as Google or Yahoo. The fee might be a fixed fee or based on a bid. Although the algorithms used by the search engines change often and may be difficult to understand, you can use a few strategies, along with lots of trial and error, to maximize your site’s potential PPC.
1. Research, research, research. With so many excellent sites available to conduct keyword and PPC research, there is no excuse not to! Plug your tentative keywords into sites such as Google Analytics, Google Wonder Wheel, SEMRush, Microsoft Advertising Intelligence, or WordStream to find out which keywords in your niche will be more likely to bring in top dollar from advertisers. Most of these tools come with a free trial or a free version, but you might consider investing in the paid subscriptions if you plan to rely on them heavily.
2. Be wary of depending too much on your research. When you are looking for related keywords to add to your campaign, always keep in mind the PPC listed by the various sites listed above, and consider all of the suggestions. Remember, however, that these terms and keywords are a starting point only. Think like a person, and not necessarily like a computer: what other keywords, besides the ones listed, might draw you to your site? Even if they’re not listed, or even if they’re not listed with a big number in the PPC column, don’t rule them out. Also, consider negative keywords: are there any words that users might type into their search engines that you don’t want to lead to your website?
3. Diversify your keywords. A person who is simply wondering what a widget is will use different search terms than one who is sitting with his credit card in hand, ready to purchase a widget. Try to catch people in each stage of the interest-and-purchasing cycle. What might you search for if you are simply thinking about a product? What about when you are comparing different types or brands of the product? And when you are finally ready to buy?
4. Watch your competition. Be aware of whom you are competing against, and what their keyword campaigns look like. Notice their keyword density, length of content, ad placement, and other factors that may contribute to their success (or lack thereof). Also, keep your eyes peeled for brand infringement: If your brand is trademarked, report any instances of competitors using your ads in their own pay-per-click campaigns. Report these practices, as they’re not tolerated by Google, Yahoo or Bing.
5. Finally, don’t be complacent. Resist the urge to leave a successful campaign alone, and instead work hard to keep up with the newest and latest trends in SEO and PPC. Tweak your keywords and PPC campaigns as needed to stay at the top of your niche’s search engine results.
While it might seem complicated, learning more about PPC can help you raise your bottom line when it comes to affiliate advertising, as well as raise the overall success of your business. Remember to research well, research often, rely a bit on your own common sense, and always be willing to make changes, and you will see your PPC profits grow.