Pay-per-click advertising is a popular solution to quickly increase Web site traffic. Basically you're paying the search engines (Google, bing!/Yahoo being the two most popular) to display ads when someone searches on a keyword phrase relevant to your Website that you have purchased. If the searcher clicks your ad you are charged a fee. The actual cost of the click varies greatly, from lows of 10 cents to over $10 for some keyword phrases. Precisely targeted, longer keyword phrases (sometimes called long tail) generally cost less and are more likely to convert into actual sales when they're clicked. For example, lengthening the keyword phrase "Search Engine Marketing" to "Search Engine Marketing Company in South Bend Indiana" delivers far greater response. Why do they cost less? Because there's less competition for the phrase and, quite simply, most people are too lazy to research and enter long tail search terms. Higher conversion rates result from closer matches between what searchers are looking for and your matching keyword phrases.
Of course your Web site needs to actually have what someone is looking for once the ad is clicked. If your ad says "Search Engine Marketing Company in South Bend Indiana", make sure you deliver what you've "promised" in the ad. Ads should link directly to the most appropriate page on your site or to a specific landing page built especially for this purpose. Rarely would you link directly to the homepage of your site. This is frequently overlooked and creates yet one more step visitors must take to get what they wanted and may actually result in them giving up, hitting their back button and trying the next site. Best bet? Build landing pages specifically for the ads. You know why a site visitor is coming to the page so build it to "sell" the visitor.
To maximize your return on investment...
Don't be afraid to experiment. Search engine marketing is as much art as science, but you can steer it towards science if you test and research what's working. Use multiple ads with different copy to see what combination of words gets clicked the most. Then be sure to test which keyword phrase SELLS the most... they aren't always the same. Test different landing pages, which approach converts more? Is it the page with the long copy of 600 words? Or is it the video brochure? Make sure every landing page has a clear call to action leading the prospect to a "Buy Now" or "Contact Us" page.
Don't want to pay for your traffic? Then you need Search Engine Optimization instead.
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