how_to_use_ppc_advertisingPPC Advertising, also known as Pay-Per-Click advertising, is one form of paid search advertising. If you learn the basics of how to use PPC advertising effectively, you can easily use it to promote your blog.

Paid search can be an excellent way to increase traffic and conversions for your affiliate site. Especially if your site is in the early stages, providing a gentle traffic boost from a PPC campaign can really help get you a few more comments, social shares, and affiliate sales.

This article covers the basics of how to get started with a PPC Campaign:

How to Use PPC Advertising

Step 1: Setup a Google Adwords account

While a successful campaign is ultimately going to include various ad networks, including Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Facebook, it’s important to focus on one platform when you’re first starting out. Google provides the best keyword search, pricing, and campaign planning tools, so it’s my go-to resource whenever starting out a new campaign.

Step 2: Create a list of long-tail keywords

Similar to a process of brainstorming good blog topics and article keywords, for a successful PPC campaign you’ll want to focus on the long-tail approach. It is almost always cheaper to target specific long-tail keywords than general keywords, and you’re more likely to convert a user to a sale using a targeted approach.

The reason is simple: many people and corporations don’t truly understand how long-tail search works, so they end up overbidding for less-effective, generic keywords than targeted ones. Think about two scenarios:

  1. A user types “Mexico cruises”
  2. A user types “Los Cabos Mexico cruise reviews”

Which keyword is a travel, tour, or cruise agency likely to bid on (which translates to a higher bid-price and cost per click)?

Which of these users is more likely to buy from your site?

In this scenario, the 2nd keyword is most likely your better choice. It’s less obvious and more targeted. While it will definitely have much less traffic, you can build a successful campaign by finding dozens more like it. Using Google’s built in Adwords tools, you should easily be able to come up with a minimum of 100 keyword variations that meet your criteria.

Step 3: Group Your Keywords By User Behaviour

If you’re using Adwords, Google will group the keywords into categories. You should evaluate these categories yourself and determine where on your site the prospective user should go. Think about the flow of traffic (from a user’s perspective) that gets him from learning about a topic to finding a company that fits his needs.

Re-group the categories if necessary. I find I often end up combining them so that 3-5 of Google’s categories correlate to 1 of my groups. This is important, because it sets up the primary channels for your campaign.

Step 4: Create a Landing Page and Ads for Each Keyword Group

Not all users are created equal. Your next step is to use the groupings you came up with in step 3 to create distinct ads that have different display text and landing page urls.

If you don’t already have strong landing pages on your site that are appropriate for each group, you should create them. Be sure to have a clear objective and call to action for the user to take, whether that’s clicking through to an affiliate, going to a second page on your site, or subscribing to your email list.

Step 5: Run a Test Campaign

Once you have your ads and landing pages ready, it’s time to run some tests. I think of all Adwords campaigns as a continuous, iterative process of testing and selecting the best performers. Running one ad is not enough to determine if a campaign is successful.

Ideally, you can budget for 2-3 versions of each ad and/or landing page, with a few hundred clicks each. At a minimum, you need 100-200 clicks before you begin to get an idea of user behaviour, and even that size is not statistically significant.

I hope these 5 steps get you started provide you with a basic overview of how to use PPC advertising on your affiliate site. If you want to learn more, I can recommend the comprehensive introduction and training for affiliate PPC at Wealthy Affiliate.

Remember that not all campaigns and niches are the same, so a profitable campaign in one industry might not work in a second, more-competitive niche. If you’re running this campaign as an affiliate, you should also be sure you understand some of the issues, cautions and pitfalls that are unique to affiliate PPC campaigns.

As always, let me know if you have any questions.