Beginners Guide To Pay Per Click

Beginners Guide To Pay Per Click

So You Want To Advertise Online?

Hopefully you’ve had a fantastic business year and are ready to make 2016 even more successful by looking into your marketing spend and investing some of that budget into pay per click advertising. Here’s our beginner’s guide to making the most of PPC.

PPC – One Part of the Puzzle

PPC advertising is certainly one way to help elevate and exponentially increase your marketing push in the new year. However, I would first like to point out that PPC is only one part of the marketing mix, with website search engine optimisation (SEO) and other factors important to bear in mind. With that being said, PPC is a great way to attract new customers. There is a big wide world out there for you to take advantage of! shutterstock_260943188

What is PPC?

Well let’s start by breaking down what PPC means.

PPC stands for Pay Per Click so, as the name suggests, you only pay when someone clicks on your advert. It’s that simple! So even if your ad isn’t clicked on, it will still appear in the search results page for free. It is unlikely you are the only person advertising in your own industry niche; therefore you are likely to have competition with other advertisers who are also interested in attracting  potential new customers. Advertising platforms use an auction based system, this allows you to place a maximum amount you are willing to spend for a click, where the highest rated ad is then placed top of the page, second highest in position 2, etc.

David vs Goliath

shutterstock_147259706   Google makes it easy, and even encourages small and medium size businesses, to make the most of PPC. From experience, I know that a lot of businesses worry about trying to compete with other well established players on the PPC stage, especially when thinking about the size of available budgets. However, Google allows advertisers to control their costs, set daily budgets and pause activity at any point. The most important point to remember is the quality not the quantity of your AdWords campaigns.

What Can PPC Do For You?

A PPC campaign can do a lot for you is the simple answer, but here’s the extended answer;

  • Be seen, your brand and advertising copy can be seen by any audience that you choose to target.
  • Deliver almost instant traffic to your website
  • Get qualified leads; your ads only appear in front of searchers using relevant keywords that you have chosen
  • Make immediate sales
  • Somewhat higher (and more immediate) Return on Investment (ROI) than traditional advertising methods
  • Limits your daily budget to as little or as much as you want
  • Add, change and delete the keywords you bid on and the ad copy you display
  • Test the profitability of different keywords and ad copy
  • Target different languages, regions and cities in most countries.


How To Use The Right Keywords

Keywords, and finding the right ones for your campaigns, doesn’t need to be a headache. When you’re first starting out it’s good to start in the Keyword Planner kindly provided by Google. Keyword planner allows you to find new keywords and get search volume data in three different ways; ‘Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category’; ‘Get search volume data and trends’ and ‘Multiply keyword lists to get new keywords’. Here’s what each means: Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category. This allows you to do what it says on the tin, enter a phrase and you will receive a list of keywords based around that phrase. You can enter your website URL and it will create a keyword list based around the page you provided (this can be the landing page, or a page within your website):  lastly, you can select a category from the category list. Get search volume data and trends. This allows you to enter or upload keywords to research the historical statistics, such as search volume, or group them into ad groups. Multiply keyword lists to get new keywords. Create new keyword combinations and get search volume stats or traffic forecasts. The keyword planner also allows you to plan your budget and get forecasts, by entering keywords, you can even set the match type and this will produce the forecasts for the keywords. If you already have a set of keywords, it’s always good to look at reviewing them to see which are actually converting to create  revenue for you. By creating a Search Terms report, you can view all of the keywords for which your ad has been displayed. If you see keywords which  are bringing traffic which isn’t relevant, it’s best practice to add these to your negative keywords list, this way you won’t get any traffic from them, allowing you to spend your PPC budget effectively. On the flip side, you could see some keywords that aren’t added into your account which are converting, so these should be added to your list of keywords. shutterstock_153100487

Keyword Match Types

When it comes to when your ad will be displayed, you don’t just want to pick a certain group of keywords and have the ad shown only when those keywords are entered into the search engine. There are an infinite number of ways that people can actually search for one term, Google has four  keyword match types that you can use to give them more specific instructions for when to display your ads. The match types are: exact, phrase, broad and broad match modifier. If someone searches for the term ’ultimate bacon sandwich kit’, a keyword set to ‘exact match’ will only display your ad if the users search term contains that exact keyword and with the keywords in that exact order. So, for example, if I have the keyword ’ultimate bacon sandwich’ on exact match, and someone searches for ’what is the ultimate bacon sandwich kit’ my ad will not be displayed, since there were other words included, making it not an exact match. My ad would only be displayed if the search query was exactly ’ultimate bacon sandwich kit’. Exact match keywords are surrounded in brackets, such as: [ultimate bacon sandwich kit] A keyword set to ‘phrase match’ will display your ad if the search term contains the same order of the words, but it can also contain additional words. So if I have the keyword ’ultimate bacon sandwich’ on phrase match and someone searches for “ultimate bacon sandwich kit” my ad will appear. However, if they search for ’bacon ultimate sandwich kit’ it will not appear. Phrase match keywords are surrounded in quotation marks such as: “ultimate bacon sandwich kit” A keyword set to broad match modifier will display your ad when the search term contains any combination of the words in your keyword phrase, in any order, but also greatly reduces the number of keywords that you need, because each keyword can match countless word order and spelling variations. So if I have the keyword ’ultimate bacon sandwich kit’ on broad match modifier and someone searches for ’ultmate bacon sandwich kit’ my ad will appear. Broad match modifier keywords are surrounded by plus signs such as: +ultimate +bacon +sandwich +kit The last one, a keyword set to ‘broad match’, will display your ad when the search term contains any combination of the words in your keyword, in any order. Your ad could also show for other variations of the keywords such as singular/plural forms, synonyms, etc. If I have the keyword ’ultimate bacon sandwich kit’ on broad match, my ad could appear for the search terms ’ultimate bacon sandwich” ’bacon sandwich kit’, ‘bacon ultimate sandwich kit’ etc. Broad match keywords are not surrounded by anything and would just be left as: ultimate bacon sandwich kit Additionally, Google allows you to set keywords to a negative match type to help you refine your keyword strategy. This then allows you to avoid having your ad displayed when a given search term is entered. For example, if I set the keyword ’best’ to negative match, my ad won’t show for any searches that contain that word, such as ’best ultimate bacon sandwich kit’. Negative match keywords are preceded by a minus sign, such as: -best

PPC Bidding

So what actually determines how much you actually pay per click? Google uses an auction-style bid format to set the prices. For any give keyword, there is the top bidder – let’s say they are prepared to bid up to £5.00 each time someone clicks on their ad. Then there is  the next highest bidder who values a click at £4.50, the next at £3.75, another at £3.00 and so on, all the way down to the last person who says that they value a click on their ad for that keyword at £2.25. Now, these are not the prices you actually pay for each click. Instead, the lowest of these bids is used as the price for the least valuable (least visible) spot on the results page; then each spot going up in value (more visible placements) is priced at an incremental rate r value higher (we’ll use £0.05 incremental bid for this example). So in this case, the top bidder ends up paying only £2.50 per click, even though they bid at £5.00. Ad rank and quality score are a big factor in PPC bidding. The position ads show in is based on your maximum CPC bid x quality score. The table below shows how your CPC maximum bid combined with your keyword quality score affect your ad rank.

Advertiser Max CPC Quality Score Ad rank Position
A £0.50 6 £0.45 X 6 = 2.7 1
B £0.55 5 £0.50 X 5 = 2.5 2
C £0.85 2 £0.85 X 2 = 1.7 3
D £1.15 1 £1.15 X 1 = 1.15 4
E £0.10 7 £0.10 X 7 = 0.7 5


Quality Score, Ads and Landing Pages

Quality Score

Let’s look at what Quality Score actually is. Quality score is reported in AdWords on a scale of 1-10, each keyword in the (or ‘My Account’) account is assessed according  to the quality of the  ads and landing pages triggered by that keyword. Having a high quality score means that the AdWords systems think that the  ad and landing page are relevant and useful to someone looking at that  ad.

So, how do the components of Quality Score affect Ad Rank?

Every time someone does a search that triggers an ad that competes in an auction, Google calculates the Ad Rank. This calculation incorporates your bid, auction-time measurements of expected CTR, ad relevance, landing page experience and other facts. To determine the auction-time quality components, we look at a number of different factors. By improving the following factors you can help improve the quality components of your Ad Rank:

  • Your ad’s expected CTR: This is based, in part, on your ad’s historical clicks and impressions (excluding factors such as ad position, extensions and other formats that may have affected the visibility of an ad that someone previously clicked)
  • Your display URLs past CTR: The historical clicks and impressions that your display URL has received
  • The quality of your landing page: How relevant, transparent and easy-to-navigate your page is
  • Your ad/search relevance: How relevant your ad text is to what a person searches for
  • Geographic performance: How successful your account has been in the regions you’re targeting
  • Your targeted devices: How well your ads have been performing on different types of devices, such as desktops/laptops,mobile devices, tablets, etc.

How does ad quality affect you?

The quality components of Ad Rank are used in several different ways and can affect the following things in your account:

  • Ad auction eligibility: Having better quality components typically makes it easier and cheaper for your ads to enter an auction. Our measures of ad quality also help to determine whether your ad is qualified to appear at all.
  • Your actual cost per click (CPC): Higher quality ads can often lead to lower CPCs. This means that you pay less per click when your ads are higher quality.
  • Ad position: Higher quality ads lead to higher ad positions, meaning they can show up higher on the page.
  • Your keyword’s ad position bid estimates: Higher quality ads are typically associated with lower first page bid estimates, top of page bid estimates and first position bid estimates. That means you’re more likely to get your ads on the first page of search results with a lower bid when your ads have high quality components (expected CTR, ad relevance and landing page experience).
  • Eligibility for ad extensions and other ad formats: Some ad formats require a minimum ad quality threshold before Google shows them. In addition, your Ad Rank determines whether or not your ad is eligible to be displayed with ad extensions and other ad formats, such as sitelinks. Because Ad Rank is one of the components of Quality Score, higher quality ads can increase the likelihood that your ad is displayed with extensions and other formats.

To sum up, higher quality ads typically lead to lower costs and better ad positions. Relevant ads tend to earn more clicks, appear in a higher position and bring you the most success.


It’s important to follow best practice to improve click through rate (CTR) and return on investment (ROI) for the client. Strong ad text which includes a call to action, relevant keywords and usage of sitelinks, callout extensions and call extensions make the perfect ad. Here’s an example: Cesca6 You can’t just write whatever you would like in an ad though, there is a character limit so you need to be savvy with your words. The character limits are: Cesca7

Landing Pages

What is a landing page?

A landing page is any page that a user can arrive or ’land’ on. However, in the context of digital marketing, the term ’landing page’ actually refers to a web page separate from your main website which is designed for a single objective, the objective could be newsletter sign ups, a specific product page, a contact form page, a service, a download, etc. A landing page, specifically designed for a PPC campaign, is part of a larger narrative.

What is the PPC landing page narrative?

The term ’narrative’ is the  key point here because the PPC campaign is exactly that: a linear storyline you create for your target prospects, so your narrative needs to make sense. If you don’t connect the dots of your campaign, you will risk losing your potential users, the same way a film loses the audience when the plotline becomes too difficult to follow. The PPC narrative looks like this: Cesca8

Why are landing pages so important?

Landing pages are an integral part of paid search, effective pages means you can convert your visitors to the outcomes you want  and with quality-score based search engines they then make your ad more competitive. Simply getting a user to click on your ad is only the beginning of the conversion journey. The quality of the user journey after the clock will determine the ability to convert paid search traffic into the desired outcome (conversion). The conversion could be a subscription to a  newsletter, a charitable donation, buying a product, making an enquiry or making a phone call. But remember to have your conversion tracking set up properly so you know how effective your campaign is.

How can I ensure my landing pages are successful?

Be Relevant By directing traffic to the right landing page based on their keywords will ensure that the user hits the relevant web page for their search. If you notice a high bounce rate or a low click through rate,  this is a good indication that you aren’t directing the traffic to the right webpage. Be Informative By providing your users with all the information that they could need, you can help them to make a decision there and then. Be The Start The design of the landing page should ensure that the user sees clearly where the next step is. We know that every extra click required in a response will generally reduce the response rate by 10%. Be Mobile-Friendly We know that with the growth of smartphone usage, we need to be creating mobile-friendly content with a call to action which is easy to be done on mobile. ‘Click to call’ buttons are proven to improve response rates from mobile visitors. Be Consistent Your branding should be consistent throughout the website to reassure the user that they have arrived on the right webpage. If you need any help with PPC, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the PPC team at Receptional today.

Francesca Beswick

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