Secrets for the Budget Entrepreneur
(PPC) search engines offer some of the best value advertising
online. Where else can you get targeted visitors from
just $0.01 each?
because they aren't sure how it all works, or perhaps
unconvinced that it does, many have yet to take advantage
of the medium. With that in mind, I'm going to explain
how you can benefit from PPC search engines, and spend
as little as possible in the process.
the PPC model, you write your own title and description,
select a keyword searchers must enter for your listing
to appear, and bid against other site owners for its
rank in search results. Your bid equals the amount you
will pay for each click on your listing.
use several PPC search engines. Widely acknowledge to
be the best performer, GoTo brings me more traffic -
and sales - than all the rest put together. Being the
most important, I will focus on it here, although the
same techniques apply to any PPC SE.
SECRET TO BIG RETURNS ON A SHOESTRING BUDGET
prices for good rankings on very popular, common keywords
are often high. However, the vast majority of advertisers
*only* bid on these obvious terms. They ignore THOUSANDS
of other keywords. Because few people are bidding on
those overlooked keywords, the bid prices remain low.
You and I can get good listings here for just a cent
course, less popular keywords aren't searched for as
often. But that *does not* matter. Play smart. Bid on
LOTS of keywords. Hundreds, thousands even. Here's an
example of how it works:
Keywords # Times
each Keyword Number
Searched per Month
Your Ad is Seen*
all listings have the same ranking, say the #3 spot.
you can see, listing under 200 keywords, each of which
is only searched for 100 times a month, can bring you
the SAME amount of traffic as 20 listings for much more
expensive, popular keywords that are searched for 1000
times each month.
you've opened your account, start researching your keywords.
You will probably already have several relevant words
and phrases in mind. Write them all down and head over
to the GoTo Keyword Suggestion Tool with your list.
Keyword Suggestion Tool tells you how many times in
the previous month people have searched for the keyword
you input, or any phrase containing it. Results are
listed in order, with the most popular searches at the
your first keyword into the tool's search box. When
the results come up, select "Save As" on your
browser, and choose to save as "Text." This
will save your results in a small plain text file that
can be opened by any text editor (like NotePad). Use
the keyword as the file name.
likewise with all of your keywords, phrases, and other
potentially important terms within phrases. For example,
one of your main keywords may be "marketing"
and one of your phrases "marketing courses."
In this case, search for "courses" as well.
Although the majority of results will be inappropriate,
you will usually find a handful of new terms that you
wouldn't have thought of otherwise.
you've finished your list, open the first file saved.
Delete all irrelevant terms. From the remainder, identify
potentially good words that you haven't yet investigated.
Input these into the Suggestion Tool and repeat the
process. Do the same for every file and you will soon
have hundreds of terms.
even more suggestions, try JimTools Keyword Generation
Tool at http://www.jimtools.com . Bear in mind however
that these are terms found in Web pages, and therefore
not necessarily keywords used by searchers.
a simple database for your listing details - it will
make managing your account much easier. You can use
Excel or similar; I personally prefer FileMaker Pro
for PPC accounts (Vicki at http://www.sitesell.com/info.html
provides a basic template for affiliates).
headings you will need are:
Current Bid Amount
Number of Searches per Month (from GoTo tool)
Title Length (auto calculated function)
Description Length (auto calculated function)
Listing Status (New, On, Off, Pending, Rejected)
Product (helpful if advertising various products)
Top Bid Amount (time consuming to update: select terms
Minimum Bid Amount (as above)
First Page Minimum bid amount (as above)
Date Last Modified (suggest auto function)
also have FileMaker assign a serial number, so that
it can mark terms as 'original' or 'duplicate', making
the latter easy to delete.
you have your database, paste in the search terms from
your collection of text files (if you have a good text
editor, use 'search and replace' strings to batch process,
deleting unwanted information, and tab-delimiting the
remainder for direct import, either individually or
merged into a single file).
TITLES AND DESCRIPTIONS
compose your titles and descriptions. Remember you are
writing an ad. Make your title catchy. incorporating
the search term within it usually increases clickthroughs.
Beware however that more clicks doesn't always equal
more sales (or more targeted visitors).
searchers will click on the first title they notice
containing the term searched for, thinking it more relevant.
What you are offering may be an exact match to the keyword,
or it may be related. If the latter, think before you
automatically include the term in your title. In addition,
writing a different title for every search term is very
your description as comprehensive and benefit-laden
as you can within the space allowed (with GoTo, this
is 40 characters for the title and 190 for the description.
Other PPC engines vary, but most have higher limits).
your budget is tight and you simply wish to sell something,
consider making it obvious from your description. Unless
you have a secondary strategy (like collecting email
addresses) save money by filtering out those least likely
to part with any cash. Concentrate on attracting your
perfect prospect: one open to the possibility of making
MAXIMUM BID PRICE
much should you bid? Ideally, calculate your Maximum
bid limit based on the average conversion ratio of the
page you are linking to. If you don't know what that
is, I suggest you initially base your limit on a 1%
conversion ratio (1 in every 100 visitors buys).
say you make $20 on every sale. That means - on average
- for every 100 visitors, you get $20. To be in profit,
those 100 visitors must cost you less than the $20 you
make. It therefore follows that one visitor must cost
less than $20/100, or $0.20. This is your break-even
point. Always bid below this figure.
a bid of $0.04, the 100 visitors required for a $20
ill only cost you $4. You make $16 profit. If your Conversion
ratio is in reality 3%, at $0.04 per click you will
make $56 for every $4 you spend. That's a 1400% profit!
coded (tracked) URL's for your PPC listings, or if feasible
link them to specific pages that cannot be accessed
by a surfer on your site (can be duplicates with no
inbound links). You will soon have a good idea of your
real conversion ratio.
idea is to bid as little as possible for the highest
number of targeted visitors. Being first on the results
page will bring most visitors. However, as I mentioned
earlier, simply getting more click-throughs is not necessarily
a good thing.
the top position, you are more likely to attract 'lazy'
searchers that simply click on the first thing they
others who automatically assume that since your listing
is at the top, it must be the most relevant (like a
regular search engine). Although your listing may be
highly relevant, it might not be what THEY had in mind.
important or not this is, depends on the cost of the
listings and your budget. If the current top bid is,
say $0.10 and the second $0.05. It makes more sense
to bid $0.06 and get the number two position, than pay
$0.11 for the top spot.
further down the listings your ad appears, the less
likely it will be seen. This is not only due to the
behavior of searchers. Web sites that partner with GoTo
seldom display all of the listings. AOL for example
only displays the first three. Others display the first
five, ten, or possibly twenty listings.
this in mind, create various 'cut-off' points in the
listings, in relation to your budget. Can you afford
to be in the top three listings? If not, look at the
top five, then ten.
overly concern yourself with individual positions Within
these groupings. Your exposure and - all else being
equal - the number of clickthroughs you get will
be almost the same whether you are at, say, number 7
or number 10. The difference in bid price however can
be substantial. Pay as little as possible to get into
the highest group within your budget. That notwithstanding,
increasing your bid by 2 cents to jump five positions
in the top half of the page would be worthwhile.
popular terms where bids are high, simply try to get
into the first half of the results page (the top 20
on GoTo). If that is still beyond my budget, I aim for
a cheap position right at the bottom of the page.
theory is that most searchers who have bothered to scroll
more than halfway down the page will continue to the
end. In addition, most people tend to scroll in 'chunks'.
This makes them likely to miss listings in the middle,
as their eyes are naturally drawn to the white space
at the bottom of the page.
you can't afford page one at all, try and get within
the first five or ten listings on page two.
YOUR LISTINGS ONLINE
have a good account manager, and I would suggest using
it to submit your first listings. However, like most
online tools, it can become extremely tedious when you
have a lot of work to get through.
will happily accept bulk submissions in an Excel spreadsheet
they have available for download. If you don't have
Excel, you can send your listings in tab-delimited text
format (other PPC engines operate the same way, but
some don't advertise the fact, requiring you ask).
the account manager to get your first few listings online.
GoTo check all submissions for relevancy (good for your
conversion ratio) so it will be 3-5 days before they
go live. Meanwhile, work up a list of several hundred
keywords. Instead of spending hours inputting these
yourself, email them to GoTo and let them do it for
you don't have an account, here's a special offer for
readers of the Internet Business Center.
you're not yet using PPC search engines, now is the
time to start. You won't regret it. Follow these guidelines
and it's impossible not to profit!
1999-2000 Azam Corry "Do it Better, Do it Faster,
Do it Right!
About the Author -----------------------
Corry owns Now Sell! A mine of helpful information,
tools and resources for budding Netrepreneurs. Rated
3-star by Go.com. Recommended by About.com. Visit: http://www.NowSell.com/?PPCSec
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