Pay Per Click Advertising

To get on the front page of Google, you have a choice.

  • The slow and time consuming way with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
  • The quick way with Pay Per Click (PPC)… but this downside this time is that you have to pay.

Introduction to Pay per Click

  • Paid for adverts on Page 1 – top & right
  • Why Use Pay Per Click
    • Fastest way to get traffic to website
    • Pay only for attention
    • Wider coverage
    • Great way to test keywords / copy / offers
  • Google vs Yahoo vs Bing
  • Balance traffic vs cost per click vs time
  • Focus on Google Adwords
  • Beware “stupid tax” (Perry Marshall)

If you look at a search in Google, you will see short sponsored (paid for) links at the very top in a shaded area and down the right hand side of the page with the organic or natural links in the centre of the page.

If you are prepared to pay enough, you can have your business as the very first item seen by a potential customer.

But why should you pay?

  1. It is the fastest way to promote your business. You can have your website on page one of Google 60 minutes after setting up the campaign. Unless you already have a successful authority website, it can take days or even weeks for your new web page to appear in Google and longer for your external links to work their magic and pull you up the Google rankings. With PPC your telephone could be ringing from Day 1 of your new business.
  2. In the normal pay per click arrangement, it doesn’t cost anything to be listed but you do incur a cost when someone clicks through to your website – that may be a potential customer or it may be a competitor checking you out.
  3. Pay per click is incredibly flexible and it can fill in the holes in your SEO efforts. I used to think SEO or PPC but I was wrong. I recommend you think PPC plus SEO.
  4. It’s a great way to test your copy and offer. If you’re thinking of an offline marketing campaign like direct mail or space advertising, you can test it with people who are searching for what you offer. PPC is also a great way to test keywords to check they are money terms before you do the SEO work necessary to rank well.

Each of the main search engines – Google, Yahoo and Bing – have pay per click options.

Google has 65% to 80% of the market and more in some markets (see Google market shares). I also believes there is a B2B (business to business) bias that favours Google as all my websites have 90% plus of traffic from Google.

In my view, the other search engines don’t have the traffic needed to justify the time needed to learn an extra system. However if you compete in a high volume niche market, the lack of competition suggestions you will get check clicks in Yahoo and Bing.

You need to balance the possible extra traffic, the attraction of the lower costs and the increased complexity of using one or two extra Pay per Click systems.

I focus on Google. In fact to date I’ve never tried Yahoo or Bing but I know people who have and they’ve reverted back to Google.

My training is based on the Google pay per click scheme which is called Google Adwords.

I believe it could be the most important invention in marketing in the last 100 years

First it puts you immediately in front of buyers and second, because of the tracking systems available in Google Adwords and Google Analytics, you can test and measure and see very clearly what’s working and what’s not.

But you have to go in with your eyes open.

Perry Marshall who is is probably recognised as the Google Adwords guru talks about a stupid tax – the money that can be wasted because you don’t know what you’re doing.

Google Adwords

  • Multimedia training from Google at – over 6 hours of video training
  • Google wants you to succeed with focused campaigns
  • Google Search vs Search Network vs Content Network (including Gmail Advertising)

First, I’d better make clear I’m not going to train you in the technical aspects of setting up your Google Adwords training.

There are plenty of Internet marketing courses you can buy but it’s in Google’s best interest that you know what you’re doing  because this is how Google make their money.

They’ve put their own training program together on how Google Adwords works.

If you go to you’ve got over six hours of multi-media courses  and best of all, if Google changes anything, they’ll change the training.

It is pretty well designed and simple to use so provided you understand what I tell you below, you can just follow your nose and test it out for yourself.

The better you do from your Pay per Click campaign, the more you’re likely to spend in future.

I will explain that Google Adwords let’s you place your adverts in three different places:

  • In Google searches – this is when anyone searches Google (but you can restrict the geography)
  • In the Search network – other search engines borrow Google to do the clever stuff
  • In the Content network – if you’ve visited a website and seen “Ads by Google” then you’ve seen someone trying to make money using Google Adsense by giving Google the right to place adverts in certain parts of their content. The content network also includes the ads which appear in emails if you use Gmail.

Keyword Research

  • Vital – each click costs you money so you want relevant clicks that match your offer
  • Commercial intent
  • Microsoft research – words or websites
  • Business coaching 18,100 searches Non-CI 0.93
  • Business coach 12,100 searches Non-CI 0.83
  • Business coach birmingham CI 0.57
  • Plus common sense

I talked a lot about keyword research in my Guide to Search Engine Optimisation and it’s even more important in pay per click.

Advertise for the wrong words, get attention and it costs you money with every click when you have little chance of getting a return.

Plus every time someone clicks through to your website, they need to see what they’re expecting. There’s no politeness on the Internet and people will click away in an instant.

You are after buyers – not information seekers and freebie hunters.

If that sounds mercenary then I’m sorry but every click you get from an obvious non-buyer under pay per click it means you’ve got to work twice as hard to convert a potential buyer.

The key concept is Commercial Intent.

Each keyword search is an expression of a thought.

If someone searches for “free food”, then they’re not looking to buy food.

If someone searches for “cheap car insurance”, then there is commercial intent but they are price shoppers looking for the best deal.

If someone searches for “Porsche 911 for sale”, then it’s a clear indication of a buyer who may have some flexibility on budget while “Posrche 911 for sale costing less than £20,000” indicates someone on a budget.

Fortunately Microsoft have done a lot of research on Commercial Intent and you can tap into it at

When I tried it on my own are, business coaching this is what I found, combined with the keyword research numbers from Google

  • Business coaching 18,100 searches Non-CI 0.93
  • Business coach 12,100 searches Non-CI 0.83
  • Business coach birmingham CI 0.57

Both business coaching and business coach were flagged as words with low commercial intent but when I narrowed it down to a geographical area, the commercial intent shot up. Anything less than 0.5 is shown as a Non-CI.

The tool can sometimes play up so please apply common sense. Does it feel like a buying word your customers would use for your products and services?

And if you test it, watch your results carefully to weed out the bad words.

Choosing Your Keywords

  • Broad match – business coach 60,500
  • Phrase match – “business coach” 40,500
  • Specific match – [business coach] 12,100
  • Negative match – exclude phrases
    • Free
    • Training
  • Choose country/regions options carefully
  • Time of day for buyers

Google Adwords can be used with a very wide or an extremely narrow scope.

I think it’s very clever the way it works and gives you so much flexibility but it’s also where you can get into trouble.

You have three options – broad match, phrase match and exact match.

Think of these as three circles – a large one with a smaller one inside and with a bullseye inside that one. You have a choice whether you’re aiming for the entire target or just the bullseye.

Sticking with my example of a business coach, the keyword tool indicates 60,500 searches for phrases Google considers to be closely linked to business coach. I’d expect this to include phrases like business performance coach, business coach training, business coach london, franchise business coach…

In phrase match with 40,500 searches, then those two words must be next to each other. So in the examples above, business performance coach would be excluded but the others included.

In the exact match with 12,100 searches, the only two words typed in to the Google search box are business coach so this would exclude anyone searching for business coach london or best business coach.

If you’re thinking that broad match or phrase match are too broad but the exact match is too narrow, then that’s where the negative keywords come in.

If you set the Google keyword tool to exact match, you can see the popular phrases that it considers to be grouped together and you can look down the list and see phrases you want and the phrases you don’t want.

List the phrases you don’t want and look for a pattern – do you want to exclude one word or an entore keyword phrase which is inappropriate?

In my PPC campaigns I don’t want to pay for people searching for free business coach because it doesn’t sound like they want to buy so I can use free as a negative keyword to tell Google not to show my ad to anyone who types in free.

I also don’t want clicks from people who want coach training – i.e. they want to be business coaches rather than buy services from me so I use training as a negative word.

Because I coach over the telephone and service all of the UK, I do want searches for business coach london, business coach manchester, business coach liverpool etc – and especially because searches for a service plus location indicate someone who is getting serious about buying.

It may seem strange but another phrase I don’t want to pay for is the exact match of [business coach] because, thanks to my SEO efforts, I usually rank in the top 3 on page 1 of Google. Getting a free and paid click to my website won’t increase my conversion chances so I’d rather save my money.

But here’s the neat thing about using PPC to supplement SEO.

I’ve got national searches for business coach covered but as soon as someone enters a location, other than my own local area of Birmingham and the West Midlands, I’m nowhere. PPC lets me fill in these holes provided I’m willing to pay.

So I’d set up an exact match or even a broad match on business coach with negatives for free and training.

In Google Adwords this means

“business coach” – a phrase match



-[business coach] – this is excluding the exact matches

This is what will happen for particular searches

  • business coach – my website will show up in the natural searches but my PPC ad won’t
  • business coach london – I’m nowhere in the natural search but my PPC ad is shown and if my offer is strong, will attract attention
  • business coach training – I don’t appear on the natural listings or as a PPC ad because this isn’t a service I provide

When you are setting up your Adwords campaign, you are asked to specify the geographical coverage you want. You can do that by country and by distance away from your business.

If you serve a very tightly defined area, you can set a limit of 10 or 15 miles so Google users who make a relevant query and live in your area, see your ad and nobody else does.

You can also choose to select different times of the day for your ad to appear if you see that buyers are especially active at lunchtime and but evening traffic seems to browse and not buy.

Cost per Click

  • Cost & page position linked
  • Be clear on goal
  • Maximum clicks at higher cost (top)
  • Some clicks at minimal cost (bottom right)
  • Buying profit – how much do you want to buy?
  • “Field bid second price auction” – you pay the price the person below was willing to pay
  • Ad Rank = Max Bid * Quality Score
  • QS = click through rate + relevancy (of ad) + landing page quality

Let’s start talking about what’s it’s going to cost you to advertise with Google Adwords.

This can seem scary because it may feel like giving Google a blank cheque.

You don’t need to worry because you can set a daily maximum spend. This stops your ads being shown when your spending limit is reached and for popular phrases can cause Google to only who your ad for a proportion of searches made.

You are in control but multiple campaigns need to be watched if cash is tight or you’re in your early days of testing. At least with pay per click you are paying for action from a potential customer. No action no cost so you’re not stuck with a high costs and no attention.

First every keyword search has its own auction based on how much bidders are willing to pay.

Second, how much you pay determines where you are on the page.

There are normally eleven pay per click spots on page 1 of Google available (that’s three at the top and eight on the right hand side) plus ten in the organic listings.

The positions at the top are the most visible and should get the most clicks if the advertisement is up to standard.

You need to understand your goal for your Adwords campaign:

  • maximum clicks regardless of price – bid high to get a top position
  • some clicks at a minimum price – bid as low as you can to get on page 1.

If you’ve got a proven offer which converts well – and especially if you sell a digital product – then in some ways you have the closest thing possible to an automatic money machine.

Here’s an example

£50 conversion/profit when you make a sale

10% of targeted visitors buy

so profit per visitor is £5.

Spending 50p to attract another qualified visitor, should earn you £5 or a net profit after pay per click costs of £4.50.

If another word looks good but it will cost you £1 for a click, are you going to spend the money?

I think so since there’s every reason why you should still make a net £4 profit from each visitor.

Of course you’ll need to watch it.

Remember each keyword is a separate conversation in the mind.

And as you look at words which cost £3 for a click, you’d want to be extra vigilant that your conversion rates are holding up.

The way Google calculates how much it will cost you to advertise is very clever but complicated.

It’s a system called  “Field bid second price auction” – you pay the price the person below was willing to pay.

If everything else is equal and you make a maximum bid £1 and your competitor bids 80p and another competitor bids 65p, then you pay 80p and the other two pay 65p with the one prepared to pay more getting second place.

The good thing about this is that you rarely pay your maximum bid.

The Google auction isn’t just based on bid price.

This is how Google makes money – it likes making money – and it likes happy users so there is a concept called the Quality Score which is based on:

  • Click through rate
  • Relevancy (of ad)
  • Landing page quality

Consider two competing  bids:

  • $1  with a QS of 4 = overall ad rank of 4
  • 60c with a QS of 8 = overall ad rank of 4.8

The 60 cent bid wins and comes top.

If the combined rating of bid and Quality Score are the same, the one with the best Quality Score wins because of the increased likeliness of a click (earning Google money) and a better user experience.

Improving your Quality Score is key to having Pay per Click to give you low costs leads.

The best way to do it is to write a great ad which gets a lot of clicks. What’s good for you is good for Google since it is paid on the number of clicks and Google rewards you.

It used to be said that if you bid high early in your campaign to get a great position and a lot of clicks, you could reap the benefit later through a high Quality Score.

It is now said that Google normalises traffic based on their expectations of the position.

For example if you’re in the normal one spot and Google expects 4% to click, and you only get 3%, then your Quality Score will go down.

If you’re in position 9, towards the bottom of the column on the right and you get 1% of click throughs when Google expects 0.5%, your Quality Score will be boosted.

It’s also essential to have your advertisement relevant to your keyword and send traffic to a website that Google believes matches the keyword so the user and potential customer is happy. Many of the factors discussed in our section of Search Engine Optimisation to show the page is relevant are believed to apply for Pay per Click too.

Here is a video from Google Chief Economist Hal Varian summarising the way the Google auction works.

Writing Your PPC Ad

  • 4 lines
    • Headline 25 characters
    • Ad text 2 lines of 35 characters
    • Display url 35 characters
  • Sell the click to potential purchasers
  • Use keyword – will be in bold to catch eye
  • Make a promise of gain or solve problems
  • Call to action

As we have seen, writing a great ad which attracts lots of clicks from potential customers is good for the business in terms of leads  and its good for keeping your cost per click down, even though you will be paying Google a lot for the volume of traffic sent.

This is a reminder that traffic is good, conversions into sales or at least opt-ins to your email list are essential.

The Google ad has four lines.

  • Headline 25 characters
  • Ad text 1 35 characters
  • Ad text 2 35 characters
  • Display url 35 characters

That’s not many letters so you’ve got to hit hard and make sure you don’t waste any characters on irrelevant brand promotion. Sometimes the brand matters – like my second-hand Porsche example when you’d only want to click if there’s a Porsche on offer. Many times the brand is an irrelevance because your potential customers don’t know you.

Your job is to persuade a potential customer to click to your website – nothing more.

You sell the product or service from your website.

You just have to create enough interest that you may have the answer when all these other advertisers don’t.

That means you may want to exclude some people.

A ad of

“Gold chains from $500

Exclusive designs, limited editions

For men and women”

sends a very different message from

“Cheap gold chains

Huge selection, quick delivery

From $15 – but look more expensive”

Location can be a qualifying in or out.

I searched for “accountants” from my office in Birmingham (in the middle of England).

If i was looking for an accountant, I wouldn’t click on the ads that came up with Manchester and Bournemouth (on the south coast)  in the ads because they are too far away. Those firms should have better control over the location in their PPC campaigns and they are paying for the mistake by having a low click through rate.

The firm which had Birmingham in the ad would have earned a click if I was looking for an accountant, even though I hadn’t narrowed my search down from the generic “accountants” because it’s relevant and immediately connects with me.

To do well on the keyword relevancy test, you need to have the keyword in your Google ad but it doesn’t have to be in the headline. The keywords in the search are highlighted in bold so they can attract attention.

Using the keyword in the headline like your competitors can make all the ads look virtually identical and they all merge together.This is a common problem in Yellow Pages too.

Consider a “moving away from pain” or “moving towards gain” style headline to remind the potential customer why they are looking for a particular solution.

Remember the old saying that nobody buys a drill because they want a drill, they buy a drill because they want holes.

So if you are a chiropractor, instead of using a headline with Chiropractor and location in your headline, why not try a headline of “Fast relief of back pain” because that’s the benefit a potential customer wants.

Perhaps make an offer in the second line – “First consultation free  save $75”

Finally you get a display url so use it carefully.

Urls which communicate a benefit are very nice – I have

The url you use in the advert must be at the same domain as the page you are sending clicks to, but this is a display url so you can be creative.

My normal coaching website is (a shortened version of my company name Planning & Control Solutions Ltd) so I’ve used

to promote a free coaching test drive.

PPC Examples – Weight Loss

Weight Loss the Easy Way
Chef prepared meals delivered only
£38 per week. As seen on TV.

Lose 4 Stone in 3 Months?
Discover the Shocking Truth About
UK’s Hottest Diet…

I like both of these but you can see, they are targeting different types of people.

The first is looking to lose some weight, is short of time and has the money to spend to make dieting easier.

The second is for people who want to lose a lot of weight quickly and has a strong curiosity appeal. What is this shocking truth?

Markus Roman Adwords Copycat

I bought this training program to help me to write better Google ads and because it included a big swipe file of ads which were proven winners. I can’t share those with you but these ads were featured in his sales letter as examples of successful ads.

Hangover Cure
Developed by the Univ of Georgia
Removes Alcohol 300% Faster

Don’t Pay For Weight Loss
Secrets Diet Discovered By A Man Who
Lost 42lbs In 3 Months With $10

Notice both are strong benefits of moving away from pain (a hangover or being overweight).

Both offer a specific benefit with numbers.

I recommend that you build up a swipe file of Google ads.

All you have to do is type in a keyword search into Google and cut and paste the ads you see into a Word document (or equivalent).

The ads at the top either have the best Quality Score or the advertiser is paying a premium so if you do this exercise once a month for a few months, you’ll quickly see which ads are repeated and by implication working.

You’ve got to be better than your competitors so look in related markets as well which deliver a similar problem and solution.

Also take a look at some of the most competitive niches around losing weight, looking good, relationships and making money. These advertisers have to be good to survive.

One other tip recommended by Marcus Romans, the Adwords copy specialist was to check out Amazon for ideas. Many books are sold with a short title and a longer subtitle – very much like the headline and the two lines of text in an Adwords ad.

Here’s a video from Jay Abraham explaining the Amazon School of Copywriting.

Go to Amazon and the book section and type in your keyword. Then sort in Bestselling order.

These bestsellers have titles that connect with the book buyer on an emotional level.

While book titles can’t be copyrighted, it’s best not to use them as published but they make a great base model for writing Ads.

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