What is PPC?

What is the difference between SEO and PPC?

SEO means ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ and refers to the organic listings on search results pages. Organic means naturally gained clicks and not paid for directly.

PPC is often know as Pay Per Click advertising where you pay for the traffic to come to your website.

If SEO sends you free traffic why on earth would you want to pay for PPC traffic?

SEO can be highly competitive and can take months and months to build your positions in the rankings. It’s a long game and to get to the top you will need to know how to get there. Most people and rightly so, are far too busy working on what they do best for their own business to concentrate on their own SEO. These businesses will often hire a professional SEO with years of experience to help do it for them to enable them to continue to do what they do best. Buying this service comes at a cost and often incurs a monthly fee to constantly keep up with your competition. Although once you get there, Organic SEO traffic is free, getting there often costs time and more often money and if you stop doing SEO whilst your competitors carry on, you might find yourself sliding back down the rankings whilst your competitors take the lead.

PPC on the other hand is instant, as soon as you set your adverts live the traffic will start flowing into your website. It can be beneficial to utilise PPC on new websites that haven’t got their SEO off the ground yet. It’s also great to use both SEO and PPC to compliment each other. If you see a brand multiple times on a search result page, it can strengthen a desire to click on that result because that brand appears more, and therefore must be perceived as a good result to click on. In marketing, people often subconsciously perceive, if a brand can afford to use paid advertising that they must be doing well and therefore a good brand to click on from the results.

PPC is amazing, it can get your brand to the very top of the search results above all of the Organic SEO competitors. However, getting to that very top spot on highly competitive terms can be rather costly. Search engines have been experimenting more and more lately with the amount of paid results they show at the top of a page and has moved away from traditionally showing 2 – 4 paid ads via plain text search ads, to now showing 6 – 8 ads with a variation of search ads and shopping ads.

In 2018, a UK study highlighted nearly 60% of consumers didn’t know the difference between paid and Organic search results on Google!

What is PPC? The difference between shopping ads, search ads and organic ads.
Google PPC versus SEO results

How do Google ads work?

In the above example, I typed ‘Toddler Slippers’ What I typed into Google is known as the ‘Search Term’ and it’s this search term that triggers the ads to display.

What are Display Ads?

Have you ever been on a website and then a few days later see the item that you were looking at, in an ad on another website? These are display adverts. Display adverts don’t show up when searching on keywords, instead these show up via targeting. Targeting can work via re-marketing, by showing ads to people who have previously visited a website. Display advertising can also be run through interest based marketing, showing to people grouped into buckets, via their age, gender and even their household income.

Every time you visit a website and you get a little message about accepting cookies, unfortunately, you aren’t clicking to accept deliveries of free cookies to your home. These cookies are little bits of code that track, or remember that you have visited a particular website and what pages and actions you took on this website. The ‘cookie’ is then used to pass this information about your behaviour into things like Google ads to then use for remarketing.

What is a Cookie when browsing on the internet?
Cookies are digital text files and sadly not made of chocolate.

You could say, for anyone that visits your website, but doesn’t complete a purchase, remarket to them with a display ad. The ability to track the user is made possible via the consent of the cookie.

Being able to advertise to previous visitors to your website via display advertising, whilst they are browsing other websites, can be really useful. When I say ‘other’ websites, it is thought that 90% of all websites on the internet take part in the Google display network!

The thing that makes PPC ads so successful, is that you have a way of getting your ad and your business in front of potential clients when they are searching for the exact thing you sell.

What are Search Campaigns in PPC?

The main elements that make up a search campaign are that they use ‘keywords’ A user types in a keyword, or rather a ‘search term’ and the keyword within that search term triggers an ad to show. The ad contains text that is written to persuade the user to click on the ad.

Keywords are set by the advertiser, whereas search terms are entered by the user.

Search campaigns can also utilise ad extensions. Ad extensions can show additional information on your ad like –

  • Sitelink Extension
  • Callout Extension
  • Structured Snippet Extension
  • Call Extension
  • Lead Form Extension
  • Location Extension
  • Affiliate Location Extension
  • Price Extension
  • App Extension
  • Promotion Extension

Adding an extension to your ad makes your ad potentially more useful to your user by showing more useful and relevant information. Using ad extensions can increase click through rates on your ads and in some cases, make your ads more desirable to click on compared to a competitor.

Example of a local store utilising the location extension on Google Adwords.
Location Extension Example.

What are Shopping Campaigns?

Shopping campaigns are used for e-commerce websites selling products. Sometimes know as product listing ads, instead of showing text like the above search ads, these show images of the products you sell. They run from a feed on your website that contains information on all of the products that you sell. Shopping ads work differently to search ads whereby the information within your feed is used instead of you defining keywords.

The benefit of Shopping ads is that the user see’s what you are selling before they click on the ad. This can often result in a higher conversion rate as the user usually only clicks your ad if they like what they see. If what you sell doesn’t appeal to the searcher, they are unlikely to click on your ad and therefore not waste your budget on unwanted clicks.

PPC Shopping Ads Example
PPC Shopping Ads

The benefits to using PPC to drive traffic, sales and revenue to your business is huge and once you have a working formula you can upscale your PPC and grow your business and your campaigns together.

If you want to start running PPC ads for your business and don’t know where to start then please do get in touch to discuss your needs and we can discuss how PPC can benefit your business.

If you want to learn more about PPC I have some other great PPC articles below.

Read more about PPC from Amanda White Digital.

Should I bid on PPC Terms, that I already rank well for via Organic results?

I often get asked whether I would recommend doing PPC around keyword terms that a client already ranks for Organically?

Published by amandawhitedigital

Amanda White is an SEO specialist with over ten years of experience working with some of the largest eCommerce websites in the UK with both an agency and in house background.

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