by Dave Curtis on 12/31/2008


Many who are new to search advertising don’t realize that Pay-Per-Click (PPC) also needs to be optimized. Successful campaigns rely just as much on keywords as they do on at least a dozen other factors, a few of which I’ll go over here. One thing you need to be aware of is the Google AdSense spammers who create multiple spam sites for the sole purpose of being paid by Google, Yahoo or Bing for getting other people to click on your embedded PPC link advertisements. Google’s “Panda Update” and many others over the past few years have helped keep these kinds of spam sites showing up on page one, but nevertheless if you set up PPC and allow your ads to show up as Contextual or Content Match Ads then they can and will show up on all sorts of web sites with text generally matching your advertisement. My experience with contextual ads is that they have a tendency to be abused, and since the owners of many of the so called sites where these ads appear get paid for every time someone clicks on one of them, it’s easy to imagine who is behind the clicking and why. Most of the ones I’ve tracked clicks back to are truly horrible, mostly one page cookie cutter churn and burn sites with not much content and probably even less traffic. How they get away with it I’m not sure but I suspect they’re using a cloud proxy that switches their IP on a regular basis so they appear to be random clicks coming from anywhere in the world.

Another important PPC consideration to keep in mind is whether your business is local or not. Without proper PPC campaign management people in California, Maine, Florida and Ohio will see and click on links for what should have been local PPC ad for your neighborhood Tex-Mex restaurant. You’ll also have to consider terms you don’t want your ads to show up for. Anything with “free” in the search, or if you’re selling exercise and fitness products you’ll want to exclude any searches with the words anabolic steroids in them. Those who think PPC is cheaper and thus better than natural search engine optimization are wrong. . In the 2009 Las Vegas PubCon video below, Matt Cutts (in charge of web spam at Google) explains that traffic and conversions along with good content are what will count most. Google now has a “universal” search that finds blogs, videos, images so there is no more “one answer” spot number one in Google. Videos are now a very good way to go. As a matter of fact, Matt Cutts specifically says that more SEOs are now focusing on “how do I not just have a web page? How do I have a video? How do I have a blog post? things like that… We want to be able to present video from all kinds of places (not just YouTube).”

So many businesses place PPC ads and have them point to the index page of their sites. This is wrong. The SEO of today deals with not just gaining dominance in the natural rankings, but with content geared toward conversion and measurable return on investment. Tweaking and testing are the SEOs realm of expertise using analysis techniques that web coder’s are unaware of.

There had been a video here shown on WebProNews but somehow WordPress dropped the code in two sections of this page. I’ll put it back when I find it. #NotAHappyCamper

(The above video was produced by

Most people using PPC have no idea how much money they are actually making. Often times companies using PPC make sales and automatically assume that they are thus making money. Calculating ROI Let’s say you have one sale out of every 400 clicks. That’s 1/400th or a .025 conversion ratio. You are paying $0.30 per clickthrough. That’s $12.00 in clicks for every sale you make. Let’s assume though that your product cost is $10 and everyone out there is selling it at $20 with shipping included “free” so you make yours $20 too, shipping included. Your shipping cost is $3.00, and your transaction cost is $0.30 fixed plus 2.9% ($0.88 for the credit card transaction). Now there are the other little items like dividing up the square footage of your shop or warehouse and to determine how much rent you’re paying monthly for that stock to sit there, how much is insurance, and other factors. These fixed monthly costs can be left out of the simple equation, but at some point a spreadsheet can be built to calculate exactly how much per month PPC is actually making. So with a Pay Per Click campaign, without determining what the breakeven point is, simply making a sale isn’t any reason to celebrate when it’s costing you $12 in clicks plus $3 in shipping, plus $0.88 in transaction fees to sell a $10 item for $20. The actual fact of the matter is that it has lost the business $4.12, not including any fixed costs like floor space and insurance calculated into the equation. If the price is raised, the conversion rate will decrease further. This is not meant to be a scare tactic, but merely to make the client aware that PPC may seem like a fast and easy way to make a buck, but only on the surface. Meanwhile, calculating return on investment using PPC during optimization (and disabling contextual PPC advertising in the options) can be used as a good means to determine what keywords are receiving the highest number of clicks to help target what keywords will most likely work best toward bringing natural search traffic to the site and making the best conversions.

Most Affiliate Marketers use PPC exclusively and don’t even bother to build web sites. Those that are successful at this are often convinced that it is the optimization of PPC that is making them money when in fact the reason that the clicks on their ads are making them money is because the web pages they are sending traffic to have been well optimized with copy worded specifically to close sales quickly, and designed to funnel prospects to the right area on the page so that they can buy easily.  That’s ok though, what matters is giving the searcher what he or she wants to fulfill their needs.