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Using Pay-Per-Click to Drive Traffic

About 20% of the clicks from search results come from paid listings. The quality of these clicks is usually quite good, since the people who click on the paid results obviously have a high level of interest in the subject of the listing.

One of the best ways to get traffic to your site is through PPC search engines, also called search marketing. How it works is simple — every time someone clicks on your ad you pay. Depending on the words you pick to determine when your ad is shown, the price you pay could be anywhere from 5 cents to fifty dollars per click. You control how much you pay for each click by entering the maximum amount or bid. The clicks could come in lower than your bid, but never higher.

The words you pick to determine when your ad shows are related to the words someone enters into the search box. For example, if you were in the business of selling dog food, you might pick dog food or feeding dog or best dog food or dog nutrition. Your ad would then appear next to the search results for those terms. These terms are called keywords.

Everyone is familiar with AdSense, the PPC program from Google. AdWords is the back end of the system where you can buy the keywords that determine when your ad is shown. You can learn more about Adwords here:

Another popular search marketing system is Yahoo Search Marketing. If you want to try out Yahoo Search Marketing use the link on this page to get some free ads.

Those are the two biggest PPC engines. MSN is coming out with one, and that will round out the big three. But there are plenty more that are less expensive and still drive some good traffic to your site. Here are a few:

Lycos
Looksmart
Enhance Interactive – Use the link for extra credits

Here are the steps in getting traffic:

1. Choose your keywords. There’s a lot of research involved here. Fortunately there are some great tools out there like Wordtracker (you can get a 30 day free trial) that can help. You always want to peek at your competition as well to see how they are doing and what they have chosen for keywords.

Take those competitors and see what keywords they rank for. Look at their pages and see if there are any Meta Keyword tags in them. Run a tool like SEO Elite or WebCEO (it’s free) and see where they fit in the rankings. Make a huge list of all of the words you think people who you want to visit your site will type into the search box.

2. Decide what you want and need to bid for those keywords. Many of the keywords are going at high bids these days. In order to determine what you can afford to bid, you need to decide

the value of each click. This has become Earnings Per Click or EPC, and is the total amount of money you have made in a period of time divided by the number of clicks you have received. If you get 5 clicks and make one $30 sale with a $20 profit, your EPC is .25, so that would be your breakeven bid.

If you’re looking for something a little less tangible (newsletter subscriptions, visitors not taking any other actions, etc), then you need to decide how much you’re willing to pay for each one.

Once you know this you need to look at the PPC program of your choice and see where the keywords in your price range exist. There will definitely be some in your price range or you need to go pick other words.

3. Decide on your offer and get started. Come up with the offer and buy the keywords.

4. Test, tweak, test again. Experiment with title words, offers, landing pages and whatever else you can think of. See how you can sharpen your CTR and conversion rates and you’ll be making lots of cash in no time.

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