Pay-per-click advertising: Does it really work?

Whether you're growing a new practice or adding to your existing clientele, it is essential to have a Web site that works for you. After you have made sure that your site is full of useful content for newcomers, how do you plan on driving them to your site? One option might be SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. SEO is the "organic" search results that search engines such as Google and Yahoo return to the inquiry as the most relevant Web pages based on the search term. These results are usually the ones found beneath the Sponsored Results in a typical Web search. However, SEO is a programming intensive service that may be cost prohibitive for small or new firms. Another, more cost-effective strategy is PPC, or Pay-Per-Click advertising.

So what exactly is pay-per-click? PPC, as its name might suggest, is a form of Internet advertising in which advertisers pay their host only when their ad is clicked. There are many services that provide PPC advertising; some of the most popular are Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing, and Microsoft adCenter. When you register for PPC advertising through one of these services, your firm's site appears, identified as a sponsored link, above or beside related organic search results.

Apart from the fact that you only pay when someone clicks on your site, PPC is also cost effective as most hosts allow you to set your own budget. Because you create ads and choose the keywords related to your business yourself, you set the limit you want to spend. A larger budget would allow for more descriptive ads and a greater inclusion of keywords but would not result in your site ad appearing more often.

A simple word of warning about pay-per-click is this: Be diligent in setting up the proper tracking tools on your Web site so that you can tell who, where, when, and how often certain keywords are appearing and working for your Web site. Paying for PPC service, choosing a few haphazard keywords, and letting a campaign run for a few months is a sure-fire way to watch a few of your hard earned dollars fly out the door with little or no results. Do your homework in the beginning and choose a Web development professional who is well-versed in PPC to help you establish and set up your account. A properly optimized account can be a windfall for a firm, as the accounting profession is largely untapped in the PPC space.

Written by Chad Brubaker, CEO, www.emochila.com

 

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