Many webmasters believe that search engine optimization (SEO) is the only worthwhile method of driving traffic, but there are many others that should not be neglected.
Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing is one of these methods. It has great potential to deliver loads of visitors eager to find out more about your products, but a poorly executed PPC campaign could turn into a financial black hole. Webmasters must make sure that they realize the benefits and risks of PPC marketing before attempting it.
The main advantage of PPC is the ability to target specific demographics. Most PPC programs allow advertisers to target or exclude specific countries, states, or localities. This feature is most commonly used to exclude regions where the product being promoted is not popular or legal.
Clicks originating from such regions will have a dismal conversion rate and will only serve to inflate your advertising budget. Advertisers promoting local businesses also make use of this capability. You can even target users who are known to have an interest in your products by filtering them based on previous web searches and website visits.
PPC is also a very fast method of traffic generation. Once you've signed up with a PPC advertising network, your campaign can be up and running in just a few minutes. This is in stark contrast to SEO, which could easily take months or even years.
The precise control over the budget is another strong point of PPC. Most PPC networks allow you to set a spending limit, usually expressed in dollars per day. Your ads will appear live until the budget is exhausted, at which point they will cease to display for that day.
However, there are some risks to be aware of if you are considering a PPC campaign.
One downside is the cost. Since you are paying for every visitor who clicks through to your website regardless of whether or not they purchase anything, a high conversion rate is crucial for maintaining your profit margin. Highly competitive keywords such as "insurance", "lose weight", and "make money online" can cost several dollars per click.
If your competitors are particularly fierce and lacking in business ethics, they may launch a click fraud attack. This means that they will employ automated "bots" to click your ads repeatedly and pump up your advertising costs.
Click fraud can spell the end for a PPC campaign, and since disposable IP addresses are so easy to come by, the advertising network may be unable to put a stop to it.
Advertising networks try their best to snuff out this activity. Unfortunately, the battle between advertisers and fraudsters is a neverending cat-and-mouse game, and click fraud continues to be a fact of life in highly competitive keyword markets.
Every webmaster should consider bolstering their organic search traffic with PPC. Just remember to take the drawbacks into consideration before undertaking a PPC campaign. If your keywords are suited to PPC advertising, you could potentially tap into a rich stream of high-conversion traffic.