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Pay Per Click Advertising - Search Engine Size Matters
When you are new to PPC advertising, getting visitors is a bit like fishing. You are better off staying where you know it's safe in case you get attacked by a shark.
PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising is something of a minefield for most first time website owners. Unfortunately, there are no 100% reliable mine detectors available and no safe shortcuts. New website owners have no option but to accept the risks involved and hope that they can find their way through without exploding their advertising budget. The way PPC works is simple, you open an account with a search engine, place an advertisement for your website with a list of words you wish to trigger the showing of your ad (these are your "keywords"), state how much you are willing to pay for each visitor who clicks through to your website (your "bids"), set a daily maximum budget figure and sit back while the PPC search engine delivers visitors ("traffic") to your website. When somebody types one of your keywords into the search engine, your advertisement will be shown. Its position will depend upon the amount you offered ("bid") on the keyword. The higher your bid, the nearer the top your ad will be. The higher the position of your ad, the larger the number of people who will see it and the more likely you are to receive clicks. It is called Pay Per Click because there is no fee charged for displaying your advertisement, you just pay each time someone clicks on the link to your website. The first thing to note is that although the way PPC works is simple, that is not the same thing as easy to do. Pay Per Click advertising can be very difficult to master. Some lucky people seem to take to PPC the way a duck makes itself at home on its first visit to a pond but, for the vast majority of people, PPC involves a steep learning curve and lots of trial and error, testing and tweaking. For some people PPC undoubtedly brings a major headache, lots of frustration and often financial loss. If you are just starting out with Pay Per Click advertising it pays to think big. There are literally hundreds of search engines for you to choose from when starting to use PPC Advertising. Some of the smaller companies will seem attractive because they will accept bids on keywords for as little as one cent while the minimum bids accepted by the larger search engines will be $0.05 - $0.10. It is important to note that you can't look only at price, you also have to consider volume and quality of traffic, the quality of customer support provided by the company as well as the time you will need to spend managing your advertising campaigns. The PPC industry is dominated by the "big three" Google, Yahoo and Microsoft who provide about 90% of search traffic. Google commands about 50% of all search traffic, Yahoo and Microsoft share 30%-40%, while the remaining 10% or so is spread between the numerous small search engines. If you are new to the sport of fishing for visitors, you will have more chance of success if you start off trawling the well stocked waters of the big search engines. You can try your bait with the smaller engines when you have gained more knowledge of how PPC works. Although PPC works on the same principles throughout the industry, each search engine works in slightly different ways. You need to become familiar with the way each site is laid out and the procedure for making changes to a campaign. The way you set up and manage a campaign effectively is different with each search engine and you will have to spend time learning exactly how each one works. This is important because mistakes can be costly. The search engines each have their own different sets of rules governing (amongst other things) what words may be used in ads and what keywords are acceptable. You can't just take your Google ads and keywords and dump them straight into a Yahoo or Microsoft campaign and expect the campaign to work. Only when you are running successful campaigns with the big search engines should you consider trying your luck with some of the smaller Pay Per Click companies. Ease of use and quality of customer support means that starting PPC and getting it right is much easier if you stick with the big three. Regrettably, some of the smaller companies have little or no customer assistance, and this factor alone means they are not the best place to try to learn something as important as PPC.