What's the alternative to SEO? How can your company -- or your clients -- rank high in SERPs?
Winning a top spot in search engines depends on a combination of aggressive bidding, relevant keywords, landing page content, and ad copy. In many cases, you'll get the top spot if you pay top dollar. If you're savvy, though, you can still get noticed and save some coin at the same time.
No Substitute For Experience
The principles I've discussed in previous columns still hold true in PPC: there's no substitute for experience. Once you get a grasp of the major search engines and their PPC tools, start practicing on your own. Identify your core set of keywords, dig into your pockets, and start a PPC campaign to drive traffic to your Web site.
You can't learn to ride a bike without getting a few scrapes, or learn to ski without getting a mouthful or two of snow. As you practice PPC, you'll undoubtedly trip.
You'll also clarify in your own mind the guiding principles of PPC campaign management. Of course, you'll also uncover many questions. Where can you go to find answers?
One of the best places to get answers and learn the ins and outs of PPC advertising is Google. It's a good starting point to learn the basics.
Google's program for managing all of these bids for advertisers is called Google AdWords. The AdWords program features a Learning Center. It's specifically designed to teach you how to use AdWords. At the same time you'll learn the principles of PPC advertising.
The blogs you may want to visit first are the official blogs of Google AdWords, Microsoft adCenter, and Yahoo Search Marketing. These will provide useful information from the source and specific links for certification in their form of PPC.
Fellow SEW Expert David Szetela, CEO of Clix Marketing, says new employees study Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft AdCenter PPC certification courses. We'll delve into certification courses in detail in future columns.
Top 25 PPC Blogs
The Clix blog focuses specifically on PPC, keeping new staff, veteran staff, and the paid search community apprised of the ever-changing world of PPC. Szetela recently posted a list of favorite PPC blogs.
A sampling of Szetela's Top 25 PPC blogs includes Traffick: Search Engine Enlightenment, with topics ranging from local search to the Google paid links double standard. With almost 10 years in, SES Toronto Chairman Andrew Goodman and company keep the updates frequent and the content timely.
Goodman published "Winning Results with Google AdWords" (McGraw-Hill, 2005, 2008). Goodman's search marketing firm, Page Zero, has been an industry leader in paid search education.
David Rodnitzky runs Blogation -- Search Engine Marketing Thoughts, and does a thorough job on what are primarily original posts. Topics include Google's scary targeting and gaining an unfair advantage on AdWords. While he's a fan of the Iowa Hawkeyes, the "keep-em-comin'" quality posts more than make up for that.
SEO Hero bills itself as the "one-stop blog" for all things PPC. With a light-hearted comic book theme, John, Joe, and Amber keep the posts timely and -- for our limited attention spans -- relatively brief. The site features a free "Panama Handbook" covering all bases of everything Yahoo.
Jeff Hudson's The PPC Book, is a "no spin Internet marketing blog." This certified Google AdWords Professional has a book in the works. Recently he touched on the Ask class action suit, keyword research in Excel, and -- our favorite -- "WWJBD (What would Jack Bauer do) To Optimize Your Clients."
As always, don't stop here -- or there -- to get your information. This is the Internet. New information emerges on a daily basis.
It's up to us to keep a handle on the situation. Just remember what makes a good blog: timely, accurate, and frequent posting.
Click here to tell me what PPC blogs you read. Then get out there and get yourself updated.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!