PPC has made Google one of the most valuable companies in the world. PPC stands for “pay per click” advertising. After the Google founders developed the search engine, they created an ingenious way of funding company growth. In addition to returning search results based strictly on merit (meeting the requirements of Google’s algorithms for websites), why not have some paid advertising? And in place of a fixed fee schedule, why not let businesses bid money for key search terms? Google only collects if someone clicks on the ad appearing in search results. A business pays only if it gains a visitor. The visitor may only be there for a split second, but a business at least got “a chance” at a new customer.

Since @tlanta inbound focuses on local businesses and professionals, we don’t often recommend PPC to clients. There are a number of reasons for this.

1. The costs. Only in the most extraordinary situations can a business client manage a PPC campaign alone. Google makes lots of money off people (unsuccessfully) trying to learn the PPC game. To succeed, most businesses need to hire a professional management team and pay a management fee (@tlanta inbound’steam oversees PPC campaigns). This fee is in addition to the “ad spend” to Google. The ad spend for almost any business should be more then $500 monthly. You can usually expect to pay at least $500 monthly for quality, experienced administration of a campaign.

2. The return on investment. As with any marketing, the bottom line is whether the results justify the expense. For some business types, the justification exists. For others it does not. A business must be of  a type often searched for online, and the value of a new customer must be great. If a business sells low dollar goods or services, it would have to get a lot of traffic. On the other hand, a cosmetic dentist would have to get one high dollar patient, or a personal injury attorney would need only to land that one big case.

3. Getting the fundamentals right comes first. Only a small percentage of local businesses have done the online basics right. The Internet has become the leading gateway for new business, but companies still ignore the need to have a website, the need for appearing online to local searchers, and the need for quality reviews. @tlanta inbound stresses to its clients the need to have a strong foundation built that will served the enterprise well in both the short and long term. As great as PPC can be for businesses, often searchers simply ignore the ads. As a result, a business needs to set up correctly to attract “organic” visitors.

PPC advertising does fit well in certain situations. Here are a few.

A. Despite a business’ best effort, its website just will not rank well in the search engine results. There are numerous reasons that can cause this. The only way to get a share of online searchers may be a PPC campaign.

B. Despite doing everything right, a brand new business will take a while to rank well online. In the interim, until top rankings are achieved, PPC advertising might be a form of useful advertising useful – if the budget allows – to get found and drive early traffic.

C. Certain businesses perform well in PPC. @tlanta inbound can help make this determination – at no charge. PPC campaigns work very well for certain trades (plumbers, roofers, HVAC, etc.) and for professionals offering high cost services. Find out about your business. Ask us.

[More than Google. One final note. Although the focus of this article has been the PPC advertising offered by Google, alternative search engines search engines like Yahoo and Bing, Facebook, and other advertising platforms have similar pay per click (or pay per impressions) offerings. The thoughts above are generally applicable to those options as well.]

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