Pay-per-click (PPC) is one of those terms that you hear associated with keywords so often you might think they were the conjoined twins of SEO. They’re not, really. Keywords and PPC do go hand in hand, but it is possible to have keywords without PPC. It’s not always advisable, however.
Hundreds of PPC services are available, but they are not all created equal. Some pay-per-click services work with actual search rankings, whereas others are more about text advertisements. Then there are the category-specific PPC programs, such as those for keywords, products, and services.

The main goal of a pay-per-click program is to drive traffic to your site, but ideally you want more out of PPC results than just visits. What’s most important is traffic that reaches some conversion goal that you’ve set for your web site. To achieve these goal conversions, you may have to experiment
with different techniques, keywords, and even PPC services. Pay-per-click programs have numerous advantages over traditional search engine optimization:

■ No changes to a current site design are required. You don’t have to change any code or add any other elements to your site. All you have to do is bid on and pay for the keywords you’d like to target.

PPC implementation is quick and easy. After signing up for a PPC program, it might take only a few minutes to start getting targeted traffic to your web site. With SEO campaigns that are strictly
organic and don’t include pay-per-click, it could take months for you to build the traffic levels that PPC can build in hours (assuming your PPC campaign is well targeted).

■ PPC implementation doesn’t require any specialized knowledge. Your pay-per-click campaigns will be much better targeted, however, if you understand keywords and how they work.

As with any SEO strategy, PPC has its limitations. Bidding for keywords can be fierce, with each
competitor bidding higher and higher to reach and maintain the top search results position. Many organizations even have a dedicated person or team that’s responsible for monitoring the company’s position in search results and amending bids accordingly.

Monitoring your position is crucial to maintaining good placement, however, because you do have to fight for your ranking, and PPC programs can become prohibitively expensive. The competitiveness of the keywords or phrases and the aggressiveness of the competition determine how much you’ll ultimately end up spending to rank well.

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