What is Pay Per Click?

Anyone looking to run an online business has heard about SEO and Internet marketing. One term that comes up frequently is Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC). When you're first getting started, PPC can be a very complicated subject. So what is PPC, exactly?

Pay Per click Advertising is one half of a solid SEO plan. It's also a great way for businesses to get started, as long as they have a bit of budget to invest. Traditional SEO, like keyword research and link tracking, is excellent for long-term site building. PPC is the process you use to fill the gap between starting your business and getting your Internet marketing up to speed.

With Pay Per Click Advertising, you are presented with a list of keywords and their costs. Each keyword is something a user might type into a search engine -- shoe shiner Los Angeles, carpet cleaners in Dallas, professional fire inspections for example -- and where you want your site to appear in the results. Your business should target keywords relevant to the product or service you provide. This also kick starts your keyword research for later SEO.

For each keyword, you are given a price per click. Some PPC services allow you to bid on a keyword, and other companies can out-bid you for control over that keyword. Other companies have a fixed price and you simply purchase clicks. Either way, this is where your budget comes into play.

You might pick one keyword for which you want to purchase 1,000 clicks. This means that when users search for this keyword, they will see your website in the sponsored links. Your website will remain as a sponsored link until 1,000 people have clicked it. From there, what they do is up to you. If they become customers or if they bounce away depends on the quality of your content and the utility of your site.

PPC Advertising is very versatile for two reasons. First, you can purchase clicks in as high or as low a volume as you want, for as many keywords as you want, as long as you have the budget to pay for those clicks. Second, it takes effect immediately. As soon as you complete the bid for the keyword and set up your ad, it goes live. Your traffic begins immediately. This is why it is an excellent beginning to a long-term SEO campaign.