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Articles and commentary on the 
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by Eric Ward (aka The Link Mensch)  | Linking Strategy Session | Linking Services | Contact

 
Taking The Plunge in the Pay-Per-Click Link Pool
by Eric Ward, Link Mensch
Weekly Article 56/7 - July, 2001

If you haven't yet dipped your toes in the pool of pay per click (PPC) search engines, you might be missing out on some really excellent targeted traffic for your site. In fact, I find that pay per click search engines like GoTo.com or FindWhat.com are easier (and faster) to deal  with than free search engines like Google or AltaVista.

If a high search ranking is what you're after, you don't have to endlessly optimize your HTML and resubmit, you can simply pay for a high ranking and be done with it.

With pay-per-click search engines you pay to have your links appear in the results for terms you choose. You basically buy your way up the ladder.  If you've ever been to an auction you already know how it works. The highest bidder is placed higher in the search results for any given term.

You only pay your bid if someone actually clicks your link and visits your site.  Compare that to the other smoke and mirrors Net advertising options and it looks pretty good.

What is especially rewarding is the short turnaround time. You can literally open an account and have a page one ranking for the term of your choice in the time it takes you to read this issue of B to B.  You set the amount you will pay, you set the total account value, you change or adjust key words and bids whenever you want. Choose your keywords wisely and you can get your listings in front of people who already have some interest in what you're offering. 

If you'd like to test the waters, try a pay-per-click search engine that isn't as big yet as the largest player, GoTo.com, which now requires a minimum bid of 5 cents per click. Take a look at FindWhat.com, which has no minimum. Do some test searches on terms that are important to you, and you can see what's being paid by each in the search results.  Bid on a few terms to get started, then add more as you feel comfortable.  You'll probably get more traffic from GoTo.com than the others, but bids in the newer PPC engines are also less competitive.

If you do take the PPC plunge, here's some LinkMensch tips to consider:

- Bid only on truly relevant words and phrases for your site Don't bid for the term "shoes" if your site sells hand tooled calfskin tasseled loafers.  You'll just end up paying for clicks that aren't right for you.

- Beware of the bid-gap.  If you out-bid a competing site by a cent in order to rank ahead of them, but they then drop their bid by 10 cents and you don't know it, that's a big bid gap you don't need to pay for.  Use a tool like PayPerMaster.com to keep your bid gaps small. 

- You can edit the site title and description that's shown in the search results to say whatever you want, so be sure and describe your site well.  Essentially, the site title and description you use are your pitch. The goal is to entice interested people, but since you pay for every click, you don't want to be too aggressive with your pitch and attract 
people who aren't right for your site.

Here's a quick summary of the PPC sites and tools to help you.

    GoTo.com - http://www.GoTo.com
    FindWhat - http://www.FindWhat.com
 SearchHound - http://www.SearchHound.com
PayPerMaster - http://www.PayPerMaster.com
 EZ Position - http://did-it.com/services/ez.shtml

Until next time, I remain

Eric Ward,

Link Mensch
 

About the Author
Eric Ward founded the Web's first service for announcing and linking Web sites back in 1994, and he still offers those services today.  His client list is a who's who of online brands. Ward is best known as the person behind the original linking campaigns for Amazon.com Books, The Link Exchange, Microsoft, Rodney Dangerfield, WarnerBros, The Discovery Channel, the AMA, and The Weather Channel. His services won the 1995 Tenagra Award For Internet Marketing Excellence, and he was selected as one of the Web's 100 most influential people by Websight magazine.
 
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