Before you even begin to use a PPC program, you should consider some basics. A very important
point to keep in mind is that just because you’re paying for placement or advertising space
associated with your keywords, you’re not necessarily going to get the best results with all the
keywords or phrases that you choose. With PPC services, you must test, test, and test some
more. Begin small, with a minimum number of keywords, to see how the search engine you’ve
selected performs in terms of the amount of traffic it delivers and how well that traffic converts
into paying customers.
An essential part of your testing is having a method in place that enables you to track your
return on investment. For example, if your goal is to bring new subscribers to your newsletter,
you’ll want to track conversions, perhaps by directing the visitors funneled to your site by
your PPC link to a subscription page set up just for them. You can then monitor how many
clicks actually result in a goal conversion (in this case, a new subscription). This helps you to
quickly track your return on investment and to determine how much you’re paying for each
new subscriber.
Before investing in a PPC service, you may want to review a few different services to determine
which is the best one for you. When doing your preliminary research, take the time to ask the
following questions:
■ How many searches are conducted each month through the search engine for which
you’re considering a PPC program?
■ Does the search engine have major partners or affiliates that could contribute to the volume
of traffic you’re likely to receive through the PPC program?
■ How many searches are generated each month by those partners and affiliates?

■ What exactly are the terms of service for search partners or affiliates?
■ How does the search engine or PPC program prevent fraudulent activity?
■ How difficult is it to file a report about fraudulent activity and how quickly is the issue
addressed (and by whom)?
■ What recourse do you have if fraudulent activity is discovered?
■ Do you have control over where your listing does appear? For example, can you choose
not to have your listing appear in search results for other countries where your site is not
relevant? Can you choose to have your listing withheld from affiliate searches?
When you’re looking at different PPC programs, look for those that have strict guidelines about
how sites appear in listings, how partners and affiliates calculate visits, and how fraud is handled.
These are important issues, because in each case you could be stuck paying for clicks that
didn’t actually happen. Be sure to monitor any service that you decide to use to ensure that your
PPC advertisements are working properly and seem to be targeted well.
It often takes a lot of testing, monitoring, and redirection to find a PPC program that works well
for you. Don’t be discouraged or surprised if you find that you must try several different programs
or many different keywords before you find the right combination. Through a system of
trial and error and diligent effort, you’ll find that PPC programs can help build your site traffic
and goal conversions faster than you could with organic SEO alone.