Pay Per Click
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Pay-per-Click Advertising (or PPC)
is a term used to describe online advertising
schemes such as Google Adwords or Yahoo! Search
Marketing. It can bring substantial numbers of
visitors at an affordable cost if you know what
to do and cost a fortune for no results if you
don’t. NetSecrets ensure you achieve the
All search engines these days offer a mixture
of results. They offer what are often called “natural”
listings which are the result of the search engine
examining the pages within your site using an
automated process called “spidering”.
Based on what it finds the search engine sees
your site as more or less relevant to a range
of search terms and your position in the results
of searches for those phrases is determined accordingly.
This is a slow process and it can take many months
for a new site to achieve good visibility and
only then if the site has been subjected to “search
engine optimisation” (SEO), which is another
service NetSecrets provide, covered here.
Alongside these “natural” results,
search engines now offer a means of gaining almost
instant visibility for a range of selected keywords
and key phrases. At its simplest it can be seen
as an auction system. You make a bid, representing
what you will pay to receive a visit from someone
searching for a given phrase. If your bid is the
highest you will be number one in the “sponsored
listings” for that phrase. If someone clicks
on the link and visits your site you pay the search
engine the sum you bid. If someone bids a penny
more than you, you drop a position. If you up
your bid, you can be back at the top.
There can be several reasons for using PPC as
well as or instead of SEO. Firstly if your site
has been built using “unfriendly”
design techniques PPC can be the only alternative
to scrapping your site and starting again. Secondly
it can take many months to get well ranked in
the natural listings and PPC can bridge the gap
by bringing visitors within days of the site going
live. Thirdly you can be found for a wider range
of keywords than you can normally achieve with
SEO. And fourthly you will get some visitors through
PPC who, for whatever reason, would not have clicked
on the natural listing.
1.0 Step One - Keyword Research
You can't set up a PPC campaign without picking
the target keywords carefully. These are the phrases
searchers would use to find your site and must
be relevant. These are organised into groups and
sub-groups of like phrases which form the basis
of the individual ads that make up your campaigns.
We use a range of tools to build these lists and
regularly review them in light of results.
2.0 Step Two - Traffic Measurement
We cannot assess the success of our PPC campaigns
without measuring the results. There are several
packages around that claim to meet this need but
most are inadequate. There is one package we know
to be suitable for this purpose, HitsLink. We
have in depth knowledge of HitsLink and use it
for all the projects we undertake. [..more]
Hitslink tells you how many visitors you get,
where they come from, what they searched for and
which pages they viewed. It looks at specific
actions on the site, such as entering an enquiry
or placing an order, and tracks the visitors who
bought or enquired right back to their origin.
So you can accurately see, for example, that this
week a specific Google Ad that cost you £50
in clicks brought in 10 enquiries or that an ad
in Yahoo! that cost you £100 this month
brought in £400 in orders.
As long as we work with you we continually update
your HitsLink account to more accurately reflect
the activities taking place on your site.
3.0 Step Three - Write the Ads
Research shows that the way a PPC ad is written
has a major influence on its success in drawing
relevant visitors. Where possible the ad needs
to incorporate the keyword searched for; it needs
to accurately portray what is on offer to limit
paid visits to interested parties only and it
needs to be attractive and compelling to the visitors
we want. All this with just 95 characters, including
spaces, to play with! To work best these need
to be miniature masterpieces and great skill and
experience is involved in writing them successfully.
In Google it is possible to cycle between one
or more ads for a given group of words. This allows
us to run 2 ads alternately and to measure their
success over a period of time. We can then delete
the poorer performer and create a new second ad,
repeating the process until we are satisfied with
The greatest success in PPC comes from methodically
working on the ads to improve both the click-through
rate and the conversion rate. This is because
your position in Google Adwords listings is only
partly based on the amount you bid. It also takes
into account the percentage CTR or Click through
Rate which is the percentage of visitors who click
on your ad related to the number of times the
ad is displayed and the quality and relevance
of the page the ad points at. This means that
an advertiser paying £1 per click with a
low CTR or poor landing page will be listed below
an advertiser with a 50p bid and a higher CTR.
So, contrary to expectation, you can end up paying
less per visitor the higher you are ranked in
the paid results.
4.0 Step Four - Landing Pages
It is proven that more visitors convert to customers
if the ad takes them to a page relevant to their
search rather than to the site’s home page.
So if the site sells buckets and spades, the ad
should take someone searching for “buckets”
to the page detailing the buckets on offer rather
than to the home page which is more general. Usually
it is beneficial to produce a “landing page”
specific to each ad offering the visitor options
specific to the search they have made.
5.0 Which PPC Engines To Use
The two most important are Google Adwords and
Yahoo! Search Marketing and these are used not
only in Google and Yahoo! but in large numbers
of 3rd party sites too, such as AOL, Tiscali and
the BBC. MSN has recently introduced its own system
and there are smaller engines such as Miva, Mirago,
WebFinder in the UK and many more overseas. We
usually start with Google (and often look no further),
then Yahoo! and add others if appropriate.
6.0 What Does It Cost?
There are three main elements to the cost of
creating and managing a PPC campaign.
Firstly NetSecrets charge a one-off fee for creating
your account, doing keyword research, setting
up tracking of the results in HitsLink and writing
and refining the ads. There is a small fee for
creating and configuring your Google Adwords account
plus a fee per campaign created. A campaign comprises
a list of target keywords and at least two variants
of an ad to permit “split testing”
of results. Usually a landing page will be specifically
created for each campaign although in some instances
these may not be required or one landing page
can serve several ads.
Generally the setup fee is £50 plus £100
per campaign and £100 per landing page.
These costs will generally come down if more than
3 campaigns are required or if campaigns are very
similar to each other. Equally prices can be higher
if the campaign is operating in a highly competitive
market where more intensive research is required.
Secondly there is a 3 month period of intense
testing and development of the campaigns, including
refining the keywords, ad content and landing
pages. This is the key to a successful project
as, however much preparation is undertaken, nothing
works like measuring actual results and acting
on the lessons learned. The cost of this is based
on the number of campaigns and how competitive
the target market is. Typical cost for 3 campaigns
for the 3 month period is £750.
Thirdly there are 3rd party costs that you, the
client, pay direct to the PPC engines (e.g. Google)
for the clicks received. In most cases this is
based upon a monthly budget you define but this
can be varied (usually upwards) as HitsLink measures
the success of the expenditure. Note that we set
up your account such that these costs are billed
directly to you, the client. Some PPC consultants
will make the payment on your behalf, add a percentage
to the cost and re-charge you. We reject this
practice as we feel we should not receive more
money through spending more of yours.
For sites which do not already have it, HitsLink
costs £100 per annum for smaller sites and
from £20 per month for high traffic sites
with multiple web addresses. For sites not built
by NetSecrets there is a one-off setup charge
to add Hitslink scripts to the web pages.
7.0 Ongoing Support and Promotion
Once all is set up, as defined in steps 1 to
4, your site enters the support and promotion
We agree objectives with you for the growth of
the site. This might be expressed as numbers of
visitors, numbers of enquiries, order value or
a combination of these depending on the characteristics
of your business. We then regularly monitor, change
and test the ads so that we achieve constant progress
towards the objectives. We also identify new opportunities
for increased traffic and advise these to you
as they emerge.
This is a lower key activity generally than that
undertaken in the first three months of “bedding
in”. Consequently costs are generally around
£100 per month to cover up to 3 campaigns
rising to £250 per month for 10. This will
always be individually calculated however for
each client based on the anticipated level of
8.0 What Next?
If you would like to explore the opportunities
presented by Pay-per-Click advertising you should
contact NetSecrets on 01905 672591 or by emailing
It would help if you can indicate which specific
products and/or services you wish to promote;
what geographical area you want to target; what
an enquiry and/or an order is worth to you and
what budget you feel you could allocate to the
project. An initial telephone consultation should
establish if we are able to help you meet your
objectives and if so we can present a proposal
with costs immediately afterwards.
In most cases the campaigns can be set up and
running within a couple of weeks from agreeing
the details of the project.
9.0 Other Services
There are other important services NetSecrets
offer to augment the PPC activities and further
increase your site's visibility. These include:
Engine Optimisation (or SEO): This
is the process of working on the structure and
content of your web site so that it is more likely
to be found in the "natural" listings
of the leading search engines for keywords relevant
to its content.
Submission is a service that works
hand-in-glove with SEO and aims to get search
engines to index more of your pages more quickly
so that the improvements made with SEO get results
from other web sites can boost your ranking in
search engines by indicating that your site is
an authority in its field. Links from complementary
sites can also bring relevant visitors who will
do business with you. NetSecrets can undertake
projects to identify potential link partners and
negotiate links to your web site that will bring
greater visibility and new customers.
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