Pay Per Click: Whats It All About?

No doubt you've heard the phrase "pay per click" before. This refers to any type of advertising where you only pay per click-through.

Traditional Web advertising, such as banner ads, charged advertisers based how many people SAW your ad. But with pay-per-click deals, you only pay for how many people actually CLICK on your ad (to get to your offer page or Web site).

This is great because essentially you only pay for RESULTS.

THE PAY-PER-CLICK SEARCH PHENOMENON

One of the most popular places pay-per-click has become a phenomenon is within search engines and Web directories. For example, let's use one of my own listings.

Go to http://www.yahoo.com/ right now and search for "ezine publishing." On the search results page, you'll see at the VERY top a section called "Sponsor Listings."

Guess who is listed up here? Yours truly! In fact, at the time I wrote this article, my book site - http://www.ezinequeen.com/tutorial/index.htm - is listed at number one.

Underneath the sponsor listings is the section called "Web Matches," which shows the regular search engine listings that are submitted and indexed the traditional way.

If you do searches for "ezine publishing" on Lycos, AltaVista, and CNET, you'll also see me in the top "Sponsor Listings."

How did I achieve this? Did I pay some search-engine-optimization guru thousands of dollars to tweak my Web site in the favor of all these search engines' algorithms?

No way! I'm on a small business budget, just like you. I achieved these listings myself, and you can too. In fact, it's ridiculously easy.

I simply opened an account with Overture and bid on the phrase "ezine publishing." Overture (http://www.overture.com) provides the "sponsor" listings at all of these sites.

Now, don't let the word "bid" scare you - it's actually a simple process. Once you have an Overture account, you can go in and see exactly who is bidding on the keywords you want, how much they are bidding, and how many clicks these keywords get each week. Then you can choose an appropriate amount to bid and estimate your budget. Some popular keywords go for several dollars, while others go for as little as 5 cents.

AIM TO LAND ONE OF THE TOP THREE SPOTS

Your goal should be to land one of the *top three* spots for your keywords at Overture, because most of the affiliate sites (such as Yahoo) ONLY show Overture's top three listings at the top of the page in that "sponsor" section, which people see FIRST. If you're number four or five in Overture, you may show up at the bottom of the search page, if at all.

Right now Overture has contracts with Yahoo, MSN, Netscape, Lycos, AltaVista, CNET, and more search sites, and they claim their listings reach more than *80 percent* of all U.S. Internet users!

EASY TO SET UP, QUICK RESULTS

I'm the first to admit that while I'm "The E-zine Queen," I'm NOT a technical person. I do none of my own Web design, programming, or computer maintenance, and I'm apt to throw money at anyone who can help me avoid technical tasks! But I found Overture easy to figure out.

It only takes them a few days to approve and post your listings. This means if you sign up today, your site can be listed for the keywords you choose by next week. And that means more TARGETED TRAFFIC to your site by next week!

THERE ARE OTHERS TOO

There are a few other popular pay-per-click services out there. Google AdWords Select (https://adwords.google.com/select) is one of them. Their service works very similarly to Overture, although your listings appear a bit differently - in little boxes alongside of the regular search listings. And your position is determined not only by your bid, but by your ad's popularity (number of clicks).

The only drawback I found with Google's service is that they absolutely will not accept any listing for a site that features a pop-up window. Even if the pop-up features content that is completely related to the site, such as for a newsletter. I hemmed and hawed to their editorial staff ... and got nowhere.

GIVE THEM A TRY!

So be sure to give pay-per-clicks a try. You only pay when someone clicks on your ad, so why not see what type of results you get?

It's important to remember that pay-per-clicks are just one tactic in your bag of online marketing tricks. Don't rely on them for all of your Web site traffic. You should still put effort into achieving regular search engine listings and gaining online exposure in other ways.

As your mother likely told you, don't put all your eggs in one basket! ; )

(c) 2000-2003 Alexandria K. Brown.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alexandria K. Brown, "The E-zine Queen," is author of the award-winning manual, "Boost Business With Your Own E-zine." To learn more about her book and sign up for more FREE tips like these, visit her site at http://EzineQueenTutorial.com/

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