Pay-per-click advertising can become tricky when it comes to improving your website ranking on Google. Pay-per-click (PPC) is a form of search engine marketing where businesses pay a fee every time one of their ads are clicked from Google’s result pages. PPC rates are dependent on an individual keyword’s cost-per-click (CPC) and quality score, more on this later.
It is worth warning that PPC campaigns can quickly escalate in price and are measurably effective in the long term. Since PPC ads are the opposite of organic traffic, when a business stops paying they tend to lose their PPC ad ranking. Organic growth is the preferred method for many small businesses when trying to increase site traffic, but PPC does have a valid place in the digital marketing world.
How Cost-Per-Click is Calculated
CPC is calculated primarily based on the bids of actual businesses competing for similar keywords. As a general rule of thumb, the more desirable the keyword the more businesses are willing to pay for it. This is where PPC campaigns can quickly become pricey. If your competitors can afford to outbid your business, then you’ll most likely lose your high PPC position. Quality score also plays a major role in CPC calculation. Most commonly seen using Google Ads (formerly AdWords), quality score is based on a scale of 1-10 and ranks your keyword and landing page compared to other advertisers on the platform. Please note there is much more that goes into CPC calculation, however for the sake of brevity bids and quality score are two very prominent factors. Also important, is that each different search engine has their own determining factors for CPC calculation, but Google is primarily referenced in this post due to its popularity.
How Should PPC Ads Be Used?
As mentioned previously, pay-per-click ads must be used tentatively to best generate a positive ROI and succeed overall as a marketing campaign. Since PPC ads fast-forward the organic ranking process, chances are you’ll see your website ranking within the first two results pages for most of the keywords that your ads are optimized for. This tends to happen over a short period of time and is much quicker than traditional SEO efforts. However, it is important to note that there is still competition for paid keywords. In the same sense that organic search optimization competes for keywords, ads will also compete against other ads for similar search queries (also a contributing factor to quality score.) That being said, PPC ads should be used for keywords that your business needs to rank for and is struggling to gain traction on or for temporary offers that need immediate results, think promo sales, etc. Working on organic search optimization while performing a PPC campaign is a great idea to help retain some of the additional traffic earned while running PPC ads.
Overall, PPC is a great resource when used appropriately and can generate outstanding results from a successful campaign. It is important to remember to view PPC ads a supplement to tried and true ranking practices, not just an easier variant of SEO.