PPC Search

Whenever you directly invest in promoted search engine representation, you can use the term “paid search” or “search engine marketing” (SEM). Search engine marketing (SEM) was once used to refer to both general SEO practices and activities specifically within the paid search category, but today, SEM is exclusively used to describe paid search activities.

One of the most widely known and practiced paid search activities is pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. With PPC, you agree to be charged a certain fee for every click that results from your paid search campaign. In the search PPC campaign, you’ll be competing with other marketers for representation in result listings for search queries submitted by a narrowly defined audience of internet users.

Three of the major SEM platforms with PPC campaign capability are Google AdWords, Yahoo Search Ads, and Bing Ads . Different platforms appeal to different personal tastes for search engine representation, but Google is by far the biggest of them all.

Because of what the statistics have shown about the likely future of an even greater voice-first device footprint, paid search investment is a particularly good idea for businesses that people often look for during moments of urgency. VoiceLabs, CIRP, KPCB and InfoScout discovered that the number of voice-first device shipments increased from just about 6.5 million to nearly 35 million between 2016 in 2017[1].

Even if you’re not a locksmith or plumber, it goes without saying that being able to “cut the line” in the search engines definitely doesn’t hurt. In its research of internet user behavior, UX consultancy

Bunnyfoot found that 81% of users clicked on Google AdWords listings and 41% of consumers were unaware that Google AdWords were actually adverts[2]. Mary Meeker's 2017 Internet Trends Report showed that there was a 22% growth in search network advertising over the year.

If you want to make the most of your opportunities, the following are all some of the best practices to keep in mind so that your PPC search efforts bring you the best results possible.

Place Your Bid Range Carefully

To start your PPC campaign, you’ve got more than just one option. In the typical payment model, you can commit to a paying a certain cost per day throughout the duration of the campaign. Alternatively, you can specify a ceiling on the maximum bid you’d like to make for each individual click. The variable price that you may pay for individual clicks on average is referred to as the cost-per-click (CPC) metric.

In addition to CPC, you can also pay for overall impressions. In the cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM) model, you simply pay once for very 1,000 times that your ad appears in targeted users’ search result pages due to the campaign.

The specific amount that you pay for exposure through CPC or CPM isn’t set in stone. You can choose whether you'd like to specify exactly how much you'd like to pay or if you'd like Google to choose the bid amount for you.

Before any results clicks or impressions happen, your bid amount will first be stacked up against all other competitors aiming for search engine exposure for the same search queries.

Mind Your Conversion Tracking Metrics

You can strengthen your PPC power with more than just high bidding. After any campaign ends, looking into exactly how well it did is essential for doing even better next time. You can use conversion tracking to find out exactly how effective your PPC efforts for any page (and a number of other metrics) really are.

With your conversion tracking activated, you’ll not only have an objective look at the campaign’s success but also the accuracy of your target buyer persona profile. When combined with the information you got in your initial research, PPC results can confirm just how accurate your perception of the target market really is.

Know Your Match Types

There are four different match types that modify the way your keyword is treated in a PPC campaign:

  • Broad Match
  • Broad Match Modified 
  • Phrase Match
  • Exact Match

From Broad Match to Exact Match, the four Match Types form a scale of ratios from high impressions with lower specificity and low impressions with high specificity.

Broad Match

In a Broad Match PPC campaign, your ad will get triggered whenever someone in your target audience runs a search with the keywords you chose (or even similar variants of those words) in any order whatsoever.

Broad Match Modified

In the Broad Match Modified type, you can specify certain keywords among the ones you've chosen that need to be used exactly as they are for your paid search result to be shown. The Broad Match and Broad Match Modified types include synonyms of the keywords and even some that may be misspelled.

Phrase Match and Exact Match

The Phrase Match type specifies that only search queries with the specific target phrase that you've specified will trigger your ad, though search queries with words before or after that phrase might be included too. Exact Match takes the Phrase Match model a step further by including only search queries that have no more and no less than the exact words you choose, spelled exactly the same, in the exact order that you specify.

It's a good idea to vary up the different Match Types that you use over the course of the months of years. Start out with a wide net and then gradually taper down to tighter specification once you've collected enough data to know exactly what works best.

Consider Using Expanded Text Ads

With an Expanded Text Ad (ETA), you can deliver a clear description about your business by providing the main and supporting value propositions. From top to bottom, the ETA subject fields include:

The specific URL
The first headline
The second headline
The specific URL path
The description

The description at the bottom is where you can communicate whatever compels your target customer to click your link for a solution.

Deliver and Discover Deeper Details with Ad Extensions and Search Query Reports

With ad extensions, you can flesh out your business's story in the search listings with extra information. Ad extensions include additional links to unique landing pages, attention-grabbing callouts, business phone numbers, informational snippets for specific business categories, and reviews that others have left to prove trustworthiness.

  • In addition to using ad extensions to show more, you can also learn more about your campaigns by using a search query report. This report can also help you identify "spending leaks" caused by any unrelated phrases or broad terms that won't generate the ROI you're after.

Takeaway Bullets

  • Choose Your Bid Carefully
  • Mind Your Metrics and Keep the Tone Consistent 
  • Know Your Match Types
  • Consider Using Expanded Text Ads
  • Deliver and Discover Details with Ad Extension and Search Query Reports

[1] Perez, S. (2017, January 24). 24.5M voice-first devices expected to ship this year, but apps struggle to retain users. Retrieved January 26, 2018, from https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/24/24-5m-voice-first-devices-expected-to-ship-this-year-but-apps-struggle-to-retain-users

[2] Charlton, G. (2013, February 28). 40% of consumers are unaware that Google AdWords are adverts. Retrieved January 26, 2018, from https://econsultancy.com/blog/62249-40-of-consumers-are-unaware-that-google-adwords-are-adverts