Pay Per Click Marketing: The Ultimate Guide

By now you have heard about Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing and are probably curious to learn more, or you already know that you want to use PPC to market your business, but aren’t sure where to start. You have come to the right place! In this ultimate guide to PPC Marketing, we will teach you everything you need to know from “what is PPC, pay per click advertising?”, “How to get better results from my PPC campaigns?”, and all about setting up a pay per clicks ads campaign and how to make it work for you.

Let’s define PPC and establish a basic working knowledge of how PPC advertising works.

What is Pay Per Click Marketing?

PPC stands for pay-per-click, it is a form of internet marketing in which advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked. Essentially, think of it as a way of buying visits to your site, rather than attempting to “earn” those visits organically.

Google Ads results receive 65 percent of the clicks that started with buying keywords, while organic results only receive 35 percent (Craig McConnel)

Let’s define PPC and establish a basic working knowledge of how PPC advertising works.

PPC Company Adwords Campaign

What Is Search Engine Advertising?

Search engine advertising is the most popular forms of PPC. It allows advertisers to bid for ad placement in a search engine’s sponsored links on a search engine results page (SERP) when someone searches for a keyword or keyword phrase. For example, if you bid on the keyword “PPC programs,” your ad might show up in the very top spot on the Google results page.

Businesses make an average of $2 in income for every $1 they spend in Google Ads. (Google)

Every time that your ad is clicked it will send the visitor to your website, you will then have to pay the search engine a small fee. When a PPC campaign is working correctly, the fee is trivial, because the visit is worth more than what you pay for it. In other words, if we pay $2 for a click, but the click results in a $500 sale, then your ROI is pretty significant.

Building a winning pay per click search engine advertising campaign takes a lot of research. You will need to select the right keywords, organize those keywords into well-organized campaigns and ad groups, as well as set up PPC landing pages that are optimized for conversions.

PPC advertising is an incredible opportunity to give your business an advantage over others by putting your brand and products in front of interested users.  Your ad will be displayed at the top of the search engine results page (SERP) and will appear to users who may never have found it otherwise. Unsurprisingly, it can be an invaluable tool for building brand awareness, generating leads and driving conversions.

Google rewards advertisers that can create relevant, intelligently targeted pay-per-click campaigns. Those will be charged less for their ad clicks. If your ads and landing pages are useful and satisfying to users, Google charges you less per click, leading to higher profits for your business. It is important to learn how to create a compelling PPC Marketing Campaign if you are going to start using PPC ads.

Why Will Pay Per Click Work For Your Business?

Google pay per click company - rank first

Google Ads (formerly known as Google AdWords) is the single most popular PPC advertising system in the world.  Not surprisingly there are over 160 billion monthly Google searches.

Businesses can create ads that will appear on Google’s search engine and other Google properties and websites that allow Google to advertise on their page.

Consumers who clicked on an advertiser’s Google search ad prior to visiting a store spend over 10 percent more, on average. (Google)

Google Ads operates on a pay-per-click model. This model allows users bid on keywords and pay for each click on their advertisements. You should note that you are paying for each click, not impression. Impression is the number of times your ad is seen but the user does not click on it. We will discuss impression in more detail later on.

When a user initiates a search, Google scours its pool of Ads advertisers and selects the most relevant ads to display. Depending on your quality score will depend on your Ad Rank and relevancy. The selected Ads are chosen based on a combination of factors, including the quality and relevance of their keywords and ad campaigns, as well as the size of their keyword bids.

Businesses make an average of $2 in income for every $1 they spend in Google Ads. (Google)

Every time that your ad is clicked it will send the visitor to your website, you will then have to pay the search engine a small fee. When a PPC campaign is working correctly, the fee is trivial, because the visit is worth more than what you pay for it. In other words, if we pay $2 for a click, but the click results in a $500 sale, then your ROI is pretty significant.

Building a winning pay per click search engine advertising campaign takes a lot of research. You will need to select the right keywords, organize those keywords into well-organized campaigns and ad groups, as well as set up PPC landing pages that are optimized for conversions.

PPC advertising is an incredible opportunity to give your business an advantage over others by putting your brand and products in front of interested users.  Your ad will be displayed at the top of the search engine results page (SERP) and will appear to users who may never have found it otherwise. Unsurprisingly, it can be an invaluable tool for building brand awareness, generating leads and driving conversions.

Google rewards advertisers that can create relevant, intelligently targeted pay-per-click campaigns. Those will be charged less for their ad clicks. If your ads and landing pages are useful and satisfying to users, Google charges you less per click, leading to higher profits for your business. It is important to learn how to create a compelling PPC Marketing Campaign if you are going to start using PPC ads.

What is Quality Score and How is it Calculated?

Google Ads Quality Score

Who gets to appear on the SERP is based on the advertiser’s Ad Rank. Ad Rank is a metric calculated by multiplying two key factors – CPC Bid and Quality Score. This formula allows the winning advertisers to reach potential customers at a cost that is within their budget, think of it as an auction.

In the early 2000s, Google revealed that Quality Score was used to determine which ads it would show above organic results and that a high-quality score could actually cause ads to jump over ads with lower quality scores that would otherwise not merit that prominent placement.

There are several factors that determine the Quality Score of an Ad. While each search engine has released directional information on the factors most important to them, they all have similar factors. Releasing the criteria for Quality Score ranking is an effort to guide their advertisers towards making better ads, none has revealed their formulas in detail, however.

Click-Through Rate

Click Thru Rate PPC Campaign

All three major search engines have revealed that an important determining factor – the top factor to Google – in their respective Quality Score formulas is the historical click-through rate (CTR) of the keyword and matched ad. In fact, prior to its introduction of Quality Score in July 2005, Google determined ad rank by running the following formula against each ad and sorting them in descending order:

Ad Rank = bid * CTR.

In addition to the CTR of both the keyword and matched ad itself, Google takes into account the overall historic CTR of the entire AdWords account. Google also takes into account the historic Click Thru Rate of the display URLs in the ad group.

Ad Copy Relevance

Pay Per Click Marketing Company Ad Creation

The search engines have also revealed that the relevance of the ad copy to the keyword is a factor in determining Quality Score. Therefore, it is assumed that ads with ad copy that contains the keyword will have a higher Quality Score than ads that do not contain the keyword.

Landing Page Quality

Anushka Website mobile optimized SEO

All three search engines have revealed that landing page quality is a factor in determining Quality Score. The landing page is a standalone web page, created specifically for the purposes of a marketing or advertising campaign. The quality generally refers to whether or not the page contains relevant and original content; as well as the navigability of the site.

Landing Page Load Time

Landing Page Creation Company With Google Page Insights

In June 2008 Google revealed that landing page load time impacts Quality Score. Overall, Google requests that pages load in less than 2 seconds. To learn more about page speed and overall off-page SEO, read our blog here. You can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to determine the speed of your landing pages. 

Geographical Considerations

Google Ads Company With Geographical consideration

The Quality Score is impacted by the account’s performance in the geographical region where the ad will be shown, according to Google. Additionally, in order to ensure that your budget will work within your campaign, selecting locations is crucial not only for efficiency, but also for conversions.

Other Factors

There are other factors that should be taken into consideration when you are calculating the  Quality Score. In particular, changes in terms of use in Google Analytics have fed speculation in the search engine marketing (SEM) community that Google is using on-site conversion tracking data in its Quality Score formula.

How To Setup A Pay Per Click Marketing Campaign

As mentioned above there are a few key elements you will need to consider in order to be successful when setting up a PPC Campaign.  Review the checklist below to ensure you have thought through these key elements.

  • Website designed with a clear Call-to-Action and easily lead users to your end conversion
  • PPC strategy and defined goals.
  • Create a budget and timeline for the test. We recommend at minimum $500 per month for 3 months, but more is better depending on your market
  • Figure your PPC management strategy

If you are unsure of what to set as a budget you can always reach out to your local PPC Company.

Google Adwords Account Set Up Basics

PPC Marketing Campaign Creation

In order to sign up to advertise on Google Ads, you will need to create a Google Account.  Then you will be able to go to Google Ads and sign in. This interface gives you a few key items to consider as we prepare to launch our first campaign.

  • Create a goal
  • Enter business name and information
  • Choose your budget
  • Create your ads
  • Select keywords to match your ads to potential customers
  • Enter your billing information

Prior to clicking  “Create my first campaign” there will be some legwork required in order to avoid having to backtrack in the setup process.  The first two areas recommended tackling are keyword selection followed by the account structure.

Creating an Initial PPC Keyword List

In order to sign up to advertise on Google Ads, you will need to create a Google Account.  Then you will be able to go to Google Ads and sign in. This interface gives you a few key items to consider as we prepare to launch our first campaign.

  • Create a goal
  • Enter business name and information
  • Choose your budget
  • Create your ads
  • Select keywords to match your ads to potential customers
  • Enter your billing information

Prior to clicking  “Create my first campaign” there will be some legwork required in order to avoid having to backtrack in the setup process.  The first two areas recommended tackling are keyword selection followed by the account structure.

PPC Keyword Research

PPC Company Using Google Keyword Planner
Keyword research for PPC can be incredibly time-consuming if done properly. However, it is also incredibly important. Your entire PPC campaign is built around relevant keywords, and the most successful Google Ads advertisers continuously grow and refine their PPC keyword list. If you only do keyword research once, at the start of your campaign, you are probably missing out on valuable, long-tail, low-cost and highly relevant keywords that could be driving traffic to your site. An effective PPC keyword list should be:
  • Relevant – You don’t want to be paying for Web traffic that has nothing to do with your business. You want to find targeted keywords that will lead to a higher PPC click-through rate, effective cost per click, and increased profits. That means the keywords you bid on should be closely related to the offerings you sell, and not ones out in left field.
  • Exhaustive – Your keyword research should include not only the most popular and frequently searched terms in your niche but also to the long tail of search. Long-tail keywords are more specific and less common, but they add up to account for the majority of search-driven traffic. In addition, they are less competitive and therefore less expensive.
  • Expansive – PPC is comprehensive. You want to continually and constantly refine and expand your campaigns. Creating an environment in which your keyword list is frequently growing and adapting.
If you want to find high-volume, industry-specific keywords to use in your PPC campaigns, be sure to check out our popular keywords.

Long-Tail Keywords

Google Ads Keyword Planner For PPC Company

Long-tail keywords are the foundation of an effective SEO and PPC strategy. They account for 70% of all web searches. Keyword searches are increasingly moving toward long-tail keywords because natural language search is becoming more popular and pervasive. With the exponential growth of mobile technology and users; search and voice to text searching is increasing via mobile sites. But unlike the fiercely competitive field of single keywords, it’s hard to precisely identify the right long-tail keywords to focus on for your PPC campaigns.

There are at least 300,000 mobile apps currently serving Google Mobile Ads. (Creative Roots Marketing)

After you’ve identified a potential long-tail keyword, go to Google’s Keyword Tool and acquire Broad and Exact match search volume for it. This will pull up a set of (related) keywords with all the data you need about the search volume, the estimated competition, and the average CPC (cost per click), which will give you a sense of how profitable that particular keyword is likely to be.

51% of searches are longer than 4 words (Wordstream)

Long-tail keywords are often grammatically or syntactically incorrect. In layman’s term, they shouldn’t be used in your content “as is.” You’ll have to find creative ways to alter them slightly to use in your content while keeping them mostly intact.

You will not be able to use all long-tail keywords that have a decent search volume and competition numbers attached to them. Some of these are going to be intensely specific to content that focuses on a topic and would form the basis of no more than a single blog post. You’ll have to be creative here as well, and frame keyword sets that can be merged and used together in order to be productively targeted in your content.

Campaign Structure Basics & Best Practices

Organization is key when developing a structure for your campaigns.  Account structure and organization will impact your quality score and influence how your account performs.

Campaigns & Ad Group Best Practices

Campaigns should be segmented by higher-level ideas and then drilled down into more tightly themed ad groups and keywords.  Listed below are some ways to consider when segmenting your campaigns:

  • Based on the products or services offered
  • Based on geographical location
  • Based on performance and bidding
  • Based on brand names vs. generic names
  • Based on the seasonality of your service or product
  • Based on keyword match types

The best guideline to follow when working through a structure is to ensure ad groups are relevant to the campaigns.  Having a campaign about lawnmowers and associating ad groups focused on fertilizer and tomato plants will make it difficult to track the performance of lawnmowers.  It can also interfere with delivering the best ad copy and landing page experience to your consumers, which will ultimately affect your Quality Score. The goal is to create a structure where campaigns, ad groups, keywords and ads all relevant to each other within your structure.

Ad Creation & Landing Page Mapping

Before you can start your campaign creation you have to write the ads and map landing pages per ad group. The best keyword portfolio and campaign structure will fail without the proper ad and landing page experience. 

Relevant ads and landing pages will increase the click-through rate, cost per lead and ROI. However, it will also increase your Quality Score.

Google Ads system issues a keyword level Quality Score to each of your keywords (calculated according to your exact matches) and click-through rate is one of the biggest players in the calculation.  A high-Quality Score ultimately helps you achieve a higher position on the page and lower overall cost per clicks, 3this will ensure that you are getting the most bang for your buck.

Before you dive head first into ad writing, take a step back and think about the targeted audience. There are a lot of aspects surrounding your company that should help you in writing your ad text.

  • Brand: Borrow the landing pages to keep the message consistent.
  • Products/ Services: The language in your ad text should reflect the product or service you can provide to the customer and any brand advantages
  • Goal: Outline the call to action you want your audience to take once on the landing page.      Example: Buy now, sign up today, learn more.

Ad Extensions

Google AdWord Extension Example

Beyond the ad itself, advertisers are able to take advantage of ad extensions, the text that appears below the ad.  The full list of available extensions can be found on the Ads Support site.  Our favorites include:

  • Site-link – Link customers directly to areas of your website
  • Call out – Text-based links to highlight benefits
  • Location – Encourages people to visit a brick and mortar business
  • Call – Allows people to call directly from your ad
  • Price – Shows the price of products or services

Landing Page Mapping

As you begin to write ads attempt to send a customer on a direct path to conversion.  If a customer has searched for lawnmowers the goal would be to send them to a page on your site that has all the lawnmowers you offer.  These days customers have limited patience and will head back to the engine to search until they reach their desired outcome in one click. Don’t direct your potential customers to a landing page that has no relevance to the product or service advertised.

At this point the prep work it’s time to dive into the interface and start setting up your first campaign.  You should have a list of keywords organized into campaigns and ad groups. Each ad group should have a few ad variations prepared and be mapped to landing pages.

Campaign Creation & Settings

Google AdWords Campaign Creation

At this point, you are back to the beginning. 

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. From the page menu on the left, click Campaigns.
  3. Click the plus button , then select New campaign.
  4. Select one or more goals for your campaign, or if none of the goals fit what you’re looking for, select Create a campaign without a goal’s guidance.
  5. If this step doesn’t reflect what you’re seeing in your account, select a campaign type first then select a goal. Learn more about goals in the new Google Ads experience.
  6. Select a campaign type.
  7. Click Continue.
  8. Select your campaign settings. Learn about each setting.
  9. Click Save and continue.

Bid Strategy – This is an important setting.  It is important to think through your daily budget allotment.  If set it too high, in the beginning, you could blow through an entire month’s budget very quickly. 

To begin set this to something realistic for each campaign and then modify based on actual spend levels as you gain statistics. Within this setting, you also have the capability to set a bid strategy.  Google Ads offers great explanations of how automated bid strategies can assist with performance on their support site.  Generally, we recommend running initially with a manual bid and setting a cost per click you are comfortable paying for each campaign.

When setting new Ads, you should be looking at your campaigns daily, and making adjustments accordingly.  Whether it is adjusting the ad copy, the landing page, and even the budget.

An example is a garden company I worked with. They started their own campaign, setting it up every single item type they sold: Roses, Daisy, Sunflowers, and so on.  After a week and seeing that those specific campaigns were negatively affecting their budget.  We reevaluated their goals and really looked at what they wanted to put into their campaign.  Broadening their Ad campaign to Flowers led to increased conversion and increased return on investment, ROI. After a month their Ad campaign is still going strong and currently has an ROI of over 2000%!

If you need assistance in setting up your Google Ad and PPC campaign reach out to the experts. Specializing in PPC Accounts, Blue Water Marketing is South Florida’s go-to digital marketing company.

Finalizing Your New Google Ads Account

At this point, you should be prompted to add in your billing information as a final step before your ads will start triggering.  If you are not prompted visit the gear at the top right-hand side of the Google Ads interface and select billing & payments.  Unless you have made prior arrangements with Google to be invoiced the default payment method is automatic payments charged to a credit card after costs start to accrue every thirty days or when a billing threshold is met.

How to Improve Your PPC Marketing Efforts

Conducting PPC marketing through Google Ads is particularly valuable because it is the most popular search engine. Approximately 70 percent of all online searches are through Google. Therefore, they get massive amounts of traffic and Google delivers the most impressions and clicks to your ads. How often your PPC ads appear will depend on which keywords and match types you have selected when setting up your PPC campaign. While the number of factors determines how successful your PPC advertising campaign will be, you can achieve a lot by focusing on the following:

  • Keyword Relevance – Creating relevant PPC keyword lists, tight and specific keyword groups, and proper ad text.
  • Landing Page Quality – Creating optimized landing pages with persuasive, relevant content, and a clear call-to-action that is tailored to specific search queries.
  • Quality Score – Quality Score is Google’s rating of the quality and relevance of your keywords, landing pages, and PPC campaigns. Advertisers with better Quality Scores get more ad clicks at lower costs.

What is an Impression in Paid Search?

The most common definition of impression is how many times a person has viewed a certain page. In relation to paid search as well as other forms of marketing, an impression is how many times someone saw a certain advertisement.

This is an important metric, because it will tell you how many people are seeing your ad and you can compare that with how many people are actually clicking on your ad. Depending on the impression rate compared to the click-through rate it could be an indication that you need to adjust your copy or bid price to make it more compelling or move it to a more “click-worthy” position.

Managing Your PPC Campaigns

Once you’ve created your new campaigns, you’ll need to manage them regularly to make sure they continue to be effective.  Regular account activity is one of the best predictors of account success. You should be continuously analyzing the performance of your account and keywords and making your PPC work for you.  You should be making the following adjustments to optimize your campaigns:

  • Add PPC Keywords: Expand the reach of your PPC campaigns by adding keywords that are relevant to your business.
  • Add Negative Keywords: Add non-converting terms as negative keywords to improve campaign relevancy and reduce wasted spend.

A great example is a company I was working with was creating a Google Ad for melons (fruit). When doing keyword research, they came across melons in conjunction with Minecraft. They created negative keywords in order not to have their Ads appear on searches for anything related to melons and Minecraft.

  • Split Ad Groups: Improve your click-through rate (CTR) and Quality Score by splitting up your ad groups into smaller, more relevant ad groups. This helps you create a more targeted ad text and landing pages.
  • Review Costly PPC Keywords: Review expensive, under-performing keywords and shut them off if necessary.
  • Refine Landing Pages: Modify the content and calls to action (CTAs) of your landing pages to align with individual search queries. This will boost conversion rates. Don’t send all your traffic to the same page, this will lower your Quality Score.

Now that you have a little more than basic knowledge of what PPC advertising is, as well as how to set up a PPC marketing campaign, you should be good to start setting up. However, setting up and monitoring a PPC campaign can be difficult, time-consuming and extremely labor intensive. Reach out to pay per click management company and see how you can have the stress taken out of your day, so you can focus on other important aspects of the business.

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Chris Marrano

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