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Best Practices for Search Engine Optimization: Part 3

Posted on: August 29th, 2012

(Part two of this series on SEO can be found here.)

Last week, we took a look at Organic SEO. Today, we’ll be focusing on PPC ads.

Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising:  What Is It?

PPC Advertising can refer to several ad networks: Google, Bing, Facebook, LinkedIn, to name a few. We’ll just be talking about Google AdWords, as Google currently commands the lion’s share of search engine advertising.

How PPC Works: The Basics

When you enter a search query in Google and click “search,” Google takes your query and checks it against keywords on which advertisers have bid. Advertisers are given an Adrank based on two key factors:

  1. The max bid, which is the maximum cost per click the advertiser is willing to pay.
  2. A Quality Score, which looks at multiple factors, including:
    • Your account history
    • The quality of your landing page
    • The relevance of the keywords to the corresponding ad copy
    • The relevance of the corresponding ad to the search query
    • The historical clickthrough rate (CTR) of the keyword and its matching ad


Combined, the max bid and Quality Score form the Ad Rank, which determines the position in which a PPC ad will display. Advertisers who have high Quality Scores (good ad copy and landing pages) can win a top spot over an advertiser who has a larger budget, but less relevant content.

Targeting Traffic

In contrast to organic SEO, PPC traffic can be tightly controlled — Google AdWords has options such as:

  • Broadcasting an ad only to users in a certain set of zipcodes
  • Limiting ads to certain times of the day
  • Segmenting ads based on mobile vs desktop devices

Want to create an ad with corresponding landing page that only runs on week nights, targeting mobile users in Tampa and Orlando? It’s possible with Google AdWords!

Making Great Landing Pages

Good website content proves to be a winning strategy, just as it is in organic search engine optimization. Because there is a clear cost per click associated with PPC ads, having a landing page that converts well is just as important as being a winning bidder on the ad itself. The PPC benefit of having tight control over your ad’s keywords and targeted demographics allows you to create a landing page that can be more effective than any other page in your website. Customize the content of your landing page and include top-converting components such as:

  • A strong hook formatted as a headline and (optional) sub-headline
  • A brief description of what is being offered, customized based on the incoming ad’s keywords and demographics
  • At least one supporting image or short video (Visitors who view product videos are 85% more likely to buy than visitors who do not!)
  • Supporting sales elements such as testimonials and client/partner logos
  • Most importantly, a lead generation form. It should be brief and easy to fill out. If for some reason you can’t include a form on the landing page or need to direct users to another area of the website (such as an online store), use a large call-to-action button to direct visitors to the next step

How does PPC marketing compare to organic SEO? That’s our topic for next week’s final article in this series, Part 4. We’ll see you next Wednesday!

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