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What is Pay-per-click (PPC) Advertising?
Pay-per-click advertising is a form of SEM (search engine marketing) where an ad is displayed and businesses pay each time the ad is clicked on.
PPC advertising is commonly used on search engines such as Google and Bing. These search engines allow advertisers to purchase advertisement space that will appear alongside organic (free) search results (see graphic). Usually PPC advertisements are labeled as ads, sponsored links, or sponsored ads.
PPC advertising is based off an auction model where advertisers bid to get their ads to appear when a target audience searches specific keywords.
PPC advertising also takes place on a wide variety of other sites but not to the same extent as search engines. Websites that use PPC advertisements have the option of when and where these advertisements will show on the particular website.
PPC advertising can be an expensive but can also be cost-effective depending on the popularity of a keyword you plan to bid on. PPC advertising can generate a lot of traffic to your website, very quickly, and very affordably.
Which form of online marketing is better for you? SEO (search engine optimization) and SEM/PPC work best together. Once you stop paying to have your PPC or SEM advertisement appear alongside organic search results, you will no longer show up unless you've done SEO work as well. The best way to maximize your exposure online is to focus on a SEO (search engine optimization) strategy that will raise your site as close as possible to the top of organic search results and stay there.
Remember, only 15% of the clicks from search results are on paid ads. Prioritize your efforts and master SEO so your business can get a portion of the 85% of the clicks that are on organic results. Use SEM tactics while you work on your SEO, or when you want an extra boost for keywords you don't normally concentrate on. For example, you may prioritize your efforts as a flower shop for wedding, anniversaries and funerals, but for Valentine's Day, it may be worth the extra effort to promote via specific SEO and SEM tactics to maximize your sales.