Search Engine Optimization (SEO) means growing your page rank and popularity in search results organically, meaning you don’t pay anything to earn your position on a search results page. Pay-per-click (PPC), on the other hand, is where you pay to have your links displayed in search results by bidding on keywords.
Let’s cover the easier one first: PPC
Google is by far the most popular search engine for PPC, and its program is called AdWords. You pay per each time someone clicks into your link in the search results pages, after they’ve typed in a search term (keyword or phrase) you bid on. The keywords are auctioned off, and you bid for position to outrank others also wanting to show up for that keyword. Keyword prices vary greatly depending on their popularity, anywhere from a few cents to $50.
If you want that very first spot on the first page of the search results, you will be paying more per click than the advertisers below you, or those on the second and third pages of the search results.
The handy thing is you can control your budget and set parameters so you won’t spend over a certain amount per day, or week, or month.Let’s say you want to bid on a very popular, expensive keyword and show up high in the search results for one day, but your budget is $100. You can set it up in the admin tools to stop showing your ads once you’ve met that amount. You get to control your budget and the length of your ad campaigns so spending doesn’t get out of control.
We suggest that business owners with a new website or domain spend $100 to $200 on PPC to boost the new URLs. We’ve seen that getting started with PPC actually helps the website’s organic SEO rankings.
We also suggest the A/B test method – basically you run two different campaigns for PPC and compare the results. Comparing the two after a few weeks should tell you if one or the other brought you not only more traffic, but more quality leads. Are a certain set of keywords in one campaign converting to sales? Maybe the other campaign isn’t producing any leads at all. If the results for one campaign are not to your expectations, drop it and try another.
And just for fun, check out the most expensive keywords in Google AdWords: “insurance,” “loan,” “mortgage,” “attorney,” and “credit,” priced somewhere in the $40s - $50s per click!