Pay per click is a great way to build a new website or small business.  By only charging a small amount of money for each person that clicks on your advertisement, you are guaranteed a highly qualified lead for your business.  This lead can be turned into an online customer, or subscriber, without any extra incentive or cost besides the initial cost of driving traffic.

There is a lot of advice on the internet about how to drive traffic with pay per click (PPC) and other search engine marketing techniques.  Here are ten things you should NOT do if you want to be successful with this advertising medium.


1)   Do not shoot for #1 position

Many users that are new to Google adwords naively attempt to keep their ad in the top spot relative to their competition.  The simplest way to stay in the top spot is to increase your bid for each click, which means that staying in that number one position can be expensive.  For most businesses, it is much better for the bottom line to pay less per click, and get fewer clicks.


2)   Do not use general keywords

Keywords can be almost never be too specific.  The worst case scenario for too-specific keywords is that you will not get very many clicks – which is cheap compared to spending lots of money for clicks that do not convert.  Use different combinations of keywords to find ones that work the best.  Keep in mind that longer tail keywords usually come in twos or threes: “solid wood drafting desk” will bring fewer clicks than “drafting desk” – but the term may be cheaper, and/or yield a higher conversion rate.

3)   Do not neglect your landing pages

Recent updates by google have placed extra importance on your quality score, and the relevancy of your landing pages.  You MUST optimize your landing pages to the keywords, and ad group title of your campaign, or you will pay more than you should for your clicks, and probably receive fewer clicks as a result.


4)   Do not forget return on investment

Here is a formula that will help you to decide how much you can afford to spend with PPC:

Max bid per click = .7(average gross profit per sale / conversion rate)

This formula will give you a variable gross profit margin of 30%, and is a good benchmark for most small businesses.   You should be extremely careful about bidding for keywords that do not fit this formula; unless they have an unusually high conversion rate, you will actually lose money, even if you are selling product.


5)   Do not use only 1 keyword tool

There is no infallible keyword tool.  Many websites will provide you with their best guesstimates of what keywords will cost, and how many clicks they will yield.  But these keyword tools are, at best, correct only 60-70% of the time.  Compare different results and experiment with your keywords and campaigns to find the best combination.

John Rampton is a PPC Entrepreneur, Author, Founder at Due a finance company helping small business owners. Follow me on Twitter @johnrampton

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