Pay-per-click (PPC) is an internet marketing strategy used on Web sites where advertisers pay only when readers click on their ad.  The following tips provide a foundation for developing a successful pay-per-click (PPC) campaign.

Use a Keyword Suggestion Tool

One of the best benefits of PPC is that it provides a large amount of information. The major PPC search engines such as Google, MSN and Yahoo have access to a huge amount of data relevant to what keywords people use every day to search for a wide assortment of products and services. Google has a free keyword tool that will provide you with keyword suggestions based on a list of keywords you provide. Before beginning a PPC campaign, brainstorm a list of the most relevant keywords for your business and then type them into the Google keyword tool.

Time and Date Parting

Google allows advertises to select the day of the week and even the time that they wish their ad to display. This can be a very useful tool for small business owners who are able to gage when their likeliest prospects will be online and searching for a product or service like theirs. By arranging your ad to display only at peak times you can greatly increase the effectiveness of your PPC campaign by taking the guesswork out of when to advertise and reduce your overall marketing costs.  

Use match types

Rather than trying to figure out every possible combination of search queries that users may type into the Google search bar, a more cost effective method is to use match types. As per Melissa Mackey an online Marketing Manger with Fluency Media, Google uses five match types:

With exact match, the search query must exactly match those keywords you bid on for your ad to display. For example if your phrase is “designer winter coats” users much type this term exactly into the Google search bar for your ad to appear.
Phrase match will enable your ad to appear in all searches that include the words of your keyword phrase in the same order. For example, your phrase “designer winter coats” can show up in searches that include: men’s winter coats, winter coats sixe 3X, Burberry winter coats, etc.

Broad match will display your ad when the search query contains similar words and phrases. However, this may not be a good strategy since your business can show up in barely relevant search queries; e.g. cheap coats, winter boots, coat of arms, etc.

Modified broad match allows PPC advertises to indicate which keywords within a phrase need to mach exactly.  To activate a modified broad match, type a plus sign (+) in front of the word you wish to be included in queries. In our example above, if you want designer to be included you’d use the modifier on the word designers as +designer coats.

Negative match keywords may be the most important of all match types. Negative match ensures that your ad does not appear for any query that includes the words or term you specify. In the “winter coat” example, adding the word “cheap” as a negative keyword would be a wise move so you don’t get clicks from people looking for inexpensive clothing. To add a negative keyword simply place a minus sign (-) in front of the keyword: -cheap.

Geo targeting

According to a 2009 TMP-comScore study, 80% of online consumers expect that businesses which appear in their search results will be within 15 miles of their location. Geo targeting is simply an internet marketing method that allows advertisers to create content specifically for Web site visitors in certain areas they designate, whether that be city/state, zip code or ISP address. Just be sure not to set the target too small or could too narrowly limit your potential audience.

Use Other Search Engines

While Google does have the largest share of the online search market, it also charges the most for keyword bids. Bing and Ask.com might not have the same volume of search queries that Google does but their bid prices are lower, which ultimately results in lower conversation costs.  Test out these other sites with a small budget and monitor the results.