Your Online Business Tune-Up: Get Your PPC on Track in 2010!

Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) has long been a favourite tool of website owners when they want to drive targeted traffic to their pages — traffic that converts to buyers.

Some marketers use PPC to send traffic to a site that hasn’t been ranked yet in the “natural” (unpaid)  search results, while others keep PPC in their toolbox even when they’re getting  decent organic traffic. As long as they’re making more money than they’re spending on their ads, they see it as a win-win.

If you’re looking to put PPC to work for you in 2010, here are some key things to keep in mind to make sure you’re getting the most from your campaigns…

Traffic isn’t the key goal… revenue is!

Sure, gaining a ton of traffic to your site can have a positive impact on how you rank in the organic search results — but if that traffic never converts to sales, your financial output will definitely outweigh the reward. Getting 10,000 visitors with a vague keyword that results in 10 sales isn’t as valuable to you as a keyword that only brings 1,000 targeted visitors — but yields 50 sales (and odds are, your bid was cheaper, too!)

Focus on SEO for improving your natural results –  after all, it doesn’t cost you a penny! Then spend your PPC dollars on keywords that are designed to convert... not just draw a crowd.

Give some love to long-tail keywords…

Long-tail keywords (specific, detailed keyword phrases) offer great conversion possibilities, but many beginners just won’t bid on them,  because they’re less frequently searched on than related popular terms — and that makes newbies nervous!

BUT… they’re also far less difficult to rank for organically, and cost significantly less to bid on for PPC campaigns. In addition, searchers using long-tail keywords are FAR more likely to convert than searchers who use more generic or popular terms.

Running PPC as an affiliate? Put quality first!

Affiliate marketers are all abuzz lately about a recent Google “slap” that left many affiliate websites and landing pages flailing outside of Google’s search results… along with a trail of  destroyed AdWords campaigns.

But the sites that survived were those that made quality their first priority. Which means…

  • They are “real” websites: Thin affiliate landing pages with a jumble of articles aimed at achieving a good quality score don’t inspire much Google love.  A properly structured website with relevant content is much more likely to get a positive nod.
  • They are regularly updated: Google loves fresh, relevant information, added regularly. If you put up a bunch of articles and then ignore your site for months at a time — while still directing traffic there regularly — Google won’t be impressed.
  • They were being promoted in multiple ways: Sites that only see traffic from PPC got hit hard in the slap. Affiliates who want their sites and campaigns to thrive should focus on more than just PPC traffic (article marketing, directory submission, social networking…)

Put quality first, provide great content, and keep your affiliate sites fresh and relevant… and Google will give you the respect you deserve!

And on the subject of affiliate marketing with PPC, why not move beyond Google AdWords?

Yes, Google gets 80% of traffic on the web, but Microsoft adCenter and Yahoo! Search Marketing have a distinct advantage over Google AdWords: they allow direct linking to affiliate websites from PPC ads. That’s a big plus if you’re wanting to get into affiliate marketing without building a new website.

If this savvy strategy sounds like something you’d like to try, we’ve got a whole article on using PPC for affiliate marketing — and a review of AdCenter –  in this month’s issue of StartUp — are you subscribed yet?

Click here to dig into our latest issue of StartUp!

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