A question I saw on LinkedIn today reminded me of a conversation I had with a client recently about Pay Per Click, and how to get the best out of it.
The first point I made to my client was this:
PPC is a great supplementary tool but it’s not something to base your business on.
When I first started working online my business model was promoting Clickbank products through Adwords – solely Adwords.
In those days you didn’t even need a website. All you had to do was place ads and link them directly to the merchant’s sales page.
But, as we know, Google’s primary focus is on its searchers and providing them with a good searching experience.
So Google slap followed Google slap, steadily raising the bar on what you had to do to promote a business through Adwords.
Frequently I’d have entire campaigns wiped out overnight and have to spend the next several days trying to work out what I had to do to get them reinstated.
Google was no help either. They refused (and still do) to give anything more than general guidelines as to what rules you had to follow if you wanted to play with them.
For someone new to working online this was frustration in a bucket.
Eventually I’d work out what I needed to do, and get everything back online again only to be wiped out by another algorithm change a month or two later.
I developed a level of rabid hatred for Google!
But the good thing about those times was that I was forced to explore other means of driving traffic to a website and so diversify my channels.
Today, thankfully, I don’t need to worry about Google slaps (or algorithm changes) – in fact they often help me.
So does that mean I’ve scrapped PPC as a channel?
Not at all.
PPC is a very effective channel for driving targeted traffic to a site for a short term objective.
Typically, I use it for a new site. I’ll get the site up and running, built and properly optimized for the search engines, and then, because it takes months to build up a decent level of natural search traffic, I’ll set up a PPC campaign.
This brings me targeted traffic quickly and I leave it running while the natural search traffic builds up.
At the point where my natural search traffic intersects, or is close to intersecting, my PPC traffic I can the PPC campaign.
And you can do the same for any short term project on an existing site.
Got a new service you want to promote? Create a properly optimized landing page for it, upload it, add it to your sitemap and then kick off a short term PPC campaign.
PPC is a great tool, but it’s increasingly expensive and you’re still at the mercy of algorithm changes wiping your campaign out.
So you’re best off using it for short term projects. Just don’t base your business on it!