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Using Online Ads to Increase Site Traffic

By Virginia Lawrence

Because people are increasingly turning to the Internet for their book and services searches, our advertising on the search engines can really pay off. I’m not talking about banner advertising, but pay-per-click advertising.

In pay-per-click advertising, we attach each ad to a keyword in a particular search engine. Every time a person searches on that keyword in the search engine, our ad appears. When someone clicks on the ad, we’re charged the amount we’ve agreed to pay per click. The person who clicked on our ad goes directly to our site, and he’s counted as a site visitor.

After the visitor arrives, it’s up to the site to convert the visitor. That is, the site must encourage the visitor to buy the books.

How Much Does Pay-Per-Click Advertising Cost?

One of the main search engines charges $5.00 to open an account, while the other does not charge. Placing the ad costs only the time involved in creating a good ad. Then we pay the agreed-upon amount when someone clicks on the ad to come to our site.

The cost of running an ad varies tremendously, depending on keyword popularity and the number of companies competing for those keywords. A click on a single ad can cost from $0.05 to $20.00 or more. While most companies can afford the lower cost keywords, only a minority of advertisers can make money on advertising that costs $5.00 or more per visitor.

Thus, it’s vital to determine the maximum amount we are willing to pay per click. Usually a company has no idea of their Web site’s conversion rate, so we start with low per click amounts and evaluate how well those ads lead to profitable sales. Many companies are paying only from $0.05 to $1.00 per click, yet increasing sales tremendously.

How do we start Pay-Per-Click Ads?

  • We open accounts at Yahoo and Google. Both search engines display the ads on their own sites. They also distribute the ads to other search engines. This means that when you place ads through Google and Yahoo, your ads will be displayed to most people searching on your chosen keywords.
  • Decide on the keywords and the maximum amount to be paid per click.
  • Write an enticing ad for each keyword.
  • Decide on the best landing page for each ad. That’s the page of greatest interest to the person who clicks on the ad.
  • Set up a tracking system so that we can tell exactly which keywords are leading to the most sales.

After a few weeks, we review the ad statistics and the results of our tracking. We’ll drop expensive nonproductive keywords, and we’ll tweak the better ads to increase the number of people who click on them. We continually analyze the results so that we can increase our click rate as much as possible while keeping our costs as low as possible. When carried out well, pay-per-click advertising can improve a company’s bottom line dramatically.

–©2004 Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D. is a professional Web Developer and Online Marketing Consultant. She routinely places client sites on the first page of a Google search. Contact her at or visit her Web site at



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