Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising Part I


Pay-Per-Click (PPC), is the “quick & easy” way to show up on the top of the search results page. PPC ads are the listings on the top and bottom of the SERP that feature a small “AD” distinction. Unlike SEO, which is focused on organically ranking, PPC is focused on paying to rank at the top of the search results page for specific keywords and phrases.

The Basics

Google PPC ads are created and managed through their proprietary advertising platform – Google Adwords. Adwords is a highly complex program that allows for full customization of almost every single aspect of your campaign from Ad delivery schedules, to demographics, specific keywords and even exact costs per each click. Adwords is a very successful advertising platform that has continued to grow year over year and brought in over $67 Billion in revenue in 2015. (2016 data not available yet, however it is expected to be in the $70 billion range) There are two basic types of PPC ads that Google offers to advertisers – Search and Display.


Search ads are what you most likely think of when you hear “Google Ads”. They are the traditional ads that display in the search results when a query is entered. These ads are comprised of two headlines, a URL, and a description line. These text ads are targeted using keyword lists that when entered into the search bar prompts Google to display one of your ads.

Google AdWords PPC Ads for Lawyers in Vancouver BC

Google Search Advertising

In addition to these basic features ads can be extended to include everything from reviews to addresses, phone numbers, etc. These extensions are displayed on the bottom of the ad. For example in the image above the first ad contains what are called Callouts. These callouts allow you to add more information that the user may be looking for such as “Free Consultation”, “100% Satisfaction Guaranteed” and things of that nature. The second ad contains what are known as Sitelinks. These sitelinks add direct links to different pages of your website to the ad. This means people can navigate directly to where they want to go depending on their search intent. The third ad contains a combination of three extensions. 1 – Callouts, 2- Sitelinks, 3- Location extension – which displays their address. These extensions can be set up within an account however it is up to Google as to when they are going to extend your ads with these elements.


Display ads are also created and managed through Google Adwords. These ads do not just appear on Google website but are eligible for the entire display network. Google’s display network is roughly 2 million websites and can reach 90% of all internet users globally. This is a huge opportunity for you as a business to gain exposure to a large population that was previously inaccessible. Display ads can be targeted using keywords, topics, or specific placements.

Let’s use buying golf balls as an example. Topic-based targeting will identify websites and articles that pertain to golf balls, golf clubs, the PGA, etc and places your ads in front of users who are on those pages or who have visited those pages recently. Keyword targeting works much in the same way that search keyword targeting works. Certain keywords are identified and when these keywords are used on a webpage your ad will display to these users. Specific placements is when you say specifically I would like my ads to show up on website XYZ.

Just like search ads, display ads can be delivered in a number of ways – from Ad delivery schedules, to demographics, specific keywords and even exact costs per each click. In addition display ads can be set up to automatically adjust your bid up or down based on how likely Google thinks they are to complete your goal (sale, time on page, number of pages viewed, fill out a contact form, or whatever your goal is).

Notice how the display advertisements are placed on the Vancouver Sun website in the screenshot below.

Vancouver Sun Display Advertising

Google Display Advertising

Basic Metrics

The following are a few key metrics that can help you to measure your success in the PPC world. To learn how to benchmark your campaign read our post on Google Analytics Benchmarks

  • Click Through Rate – the % of users that click on your ad compared to the number that have seen it.
  • Bounce Rate – the % of users that click your ad, go to your webpage, and leave without doing anything.
  • Conversion Rate – the percentage of users who have clicked on an ad and then completed an action on your website ex: filling out a contact form
  • Average Position – the average position in the ad auction that your ad is being displayed in
  • Search Impression Share – the % of actual impressions compared to the number of eligible impressions

Why Choose PPC?

PPC is a great way to quickly start driving traffic to your website while being in complete control of your costs. You control exactly how much you are going to spend each day and how much each click is worth to you. Google works within that budget to get you your desired results. These results can vary depending on your goals. You can maximize clicks to drive the most traffic to your site. You can maximize conversions (sales, contact form fills, video views). Your campaign can be set to maximize views and exposure for branding purposes, as well as many more options.

Google and other PPC companies have worked very hard to make sure that you have total control of your account. You can tell them directly who you want to reach and when. In addition you can tell them what you want them to do once they are on your website and they will target people most likely to complete these actions. It is cost effective, highly targeted, and can be turned on and off at a moments notice – giving you the ultimate flexibility.

Building Successful Web Strategies

Building Successful Web Strategies