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The Basics of Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC) for Small Business

Howuku Writer
January 27, 2022
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The Basics of Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC) for Small Business

Want to learn the basics of PPC for small business? Read this guide to know further.

Every business on the Internet might have heard of the two prominent terms to get the most visibility on the search engine; PPC and SEO.

When it comes to choosing out of these two methods, most small businesses choose SEO (Search Engine Optimization) over PPC because of obvious reasons. Organic methods of ranking your blogs and pages seem to be more affordable than advertising them on the SERPs.

Furthermore, small businesses have a low budget making PPC advertising a bit costly. However, it is merely a myth that PPC advertising is fit for large businesses.

In this article, we will be sharing the basics of PPC that every small business needs to be aware of before starting a paid campaign.

What is PPC?

PPC basics advertising
Ppc Business, Advertising Technology

PPC or Pay-Per-Click is an online advertising method where advertisers pay search engines each time the user clicks on their advertisements.

In other words, PPC is a way of earning the searchers or your target audience to your page by paying it to the search engine rather than through the organic effort.

And, it’s a totally legit way of getting the audiences to your page.

Businesses bid on their target keywords to display the ads that are related to your industry or your audience interests. 

Now, here is an example to help you understand the PPC better.

If someone searches for the keyword “best PPC software” on Google and let’s say, the PPC software brands are running their ads on this keyword.

the basics of Pay per click ads

Now, every time a searcher clicks on this link, the advertiser will be charged a small fee. This fee is charged according to CPC (Cost-per-click). This cost becomes trivial when even one searcher purchases the software or buys a subscription.

Let’s assume that the CPC is just $1 whereas the software costs around $300. In such a case, PPC becomes a lucrative one for the businesses and gives hefty profits.

Even the research suggests that PPC advertising returns $2 for every $1 spent; i.e. an ROI of 200%.

How does PPC work for small businesses?

To make the ads appear along with the other organic results, you cannot simply pay more for the cost per click.

Instead, there is a term called Ad auction that Google uses to determine the relevancy of the page and then places accordingly.  Thus, the advertisers have to bid on these keywords to get the most relevant searchers.

Google makes use of its complex algorithms to choose the winner out of the pool of ads that advertisers do for certain keywords or phrases. Thus, there are various factors that Google uses to display their ads.

It is really important to know the keyword intent and which keyword is close to your business or industry. It also depends on the search intent of your keywords.

As a small business, the first step is always to conduct thorough market research around the keywords and market types that you are in. Furthermore, it is also important to understand what type of ads you want to run.

Is it a display ad? Is it a search ad or any other type of ad?

Here are the that may affect PPC for search engines:

  • Keyword Relevancy: It defines the relevancy of your keywords or certain phrases that brings your page closer to the searcher’s intent.
  • Quality Score: Google rates the page according to the relevancy and quality of your pages. This is called Quality Score.
  • Creatives and Graphics: One of the important things is to create an enticing copy for your ad. Thus, the use of graphics and fonts is a deciding factor to place the ads on the search results pages.

What are the benefits of PPC for small businesses?

Be it a large business or a small business, the benefits of PPC are innumerable. It does not just help in increasing brand visibility and clicks but also generates sales and revenues if done strategically.

Furthermore, if you want to achieve better results in less time as a small business, you can use the enticing designs along with the PPC model.

Running PPC campaigns around your keywords can grab the eyeballs of your industry enterprises and a larger section of the audience.

Here are the benefits of the PPC for small businesses:

You will pay only when your Ad is clicked

As evident from the abbreviation of PPC, you will only pay when a user clicks on the ad. That’s what makes PPC a budget-friendly option for advertisers.

Your brand will be displayed on the search engine results page free of cost. This means that hundreds of thousands of searchers can view your page on the topic, but you will be only charged when someone clicks and lands on your landing page.

Easily Beat the competition

SEO takes a lot of effort and time to beat your competition. PPC gives this competitive advantage to your business by displaying the ads on the top or at the bottom of the first page of Google.

For overly competitive businesses such as a single keyword or a group of words, PPC can even beat and displace the competition on the top of the search results.

For example, the keyword ‘Savings Account’ is hard to rank organically and this word has a monthly search volume of 33k.

Thus, the search ads that are displayed on the top of search engine pages are likely to get more clicks and higher conversions.

Easy to Create and Manage

Whether you are looking to create Google ads or Bing ads, both of these provide easy to manage interface to set up advertising campaigns.

All you need is to simply create an account and set it up with a few steps. Even someone with little or no knowledge of running Google ad campaigns will find it easier to run Google ads.

Thus, the small businesses need not hire any PPC expert to set up their Google Ad account and play along.

Targeting options

When Google started their ads, the targeting options were not so narrow. In fact, the advertisers had no filtering or sorting options to target their audience.

With the advancement in advertising and internet marketing space, Google Ads became narrow and they had more targeting options.

You can use the target options on Google Ads such as target specific locations, demographics, and keywords. With detailed targeting options, you can only target the audiences that are really meant to convert.

You only pay for qualified leads

One of the major perks of using PPC ad campaigns is that you will be only paying when someone clicks on your Ad. If your landing page is enticing enough with everything that your customers want, they will surely proceed to qualify as your potential lead.

However, some digital Ad units might also charge you according to cost per impression or cost per 1000 impressions.

Obviously, the benefits of PPC for small businesses are numerous, but you can only leverage these benefits if you have hands-on and a planned strategy for running the PPC ad campaigns.

How to do PPC for Small Business?

If you are a small business, you might be low on budget or you might be short of time to effectively run your Ad campaigns.

We have shared these easy steps to run PPC for small businesses:

Develop a Keyword Strategy

Keyword research is one of the most crucial steps in both SEO as well as PPC. Your PPC campaign is entirely built around the keywords that help the search engines understand the motive of the advertisers better.

Furthermore, you will have to perform detailed research about the keywords in your industry. By regularly analysing the keywords, you will be able to discover various long-tail phrases and keywords.

A PPC keyword should have the following criteria:

  • Relevant keywords: The more relevant your keywords are, the better the chances of PPC campaigns being successful.  These keywords lead to higher PPC click-through rates, better profits and a lower cost-per-click. It is always lucrative to bid on keywords that are closer to your offerings.
  • Extensive: As I pointed out, the keyword lists should not be just limited to a few keywords. You should perform extensive keyword research to explore long-tail keywords. These keywords are less competitive and are searched more frequently. For small businesses, long-tail keywords can cut down the budget and bring in more refined traffic.

Using keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner and SEMRush can help you discover and bid on the keywords that are close to your product offerings.

Google Keyword planner for PPC Ads for small business

Add Negative Keywords

Businesses might be draining their expenditure on various keywords that are not relevant to their industry or niche.

For instance, your intent is to sell espresso machines. However, your ads are appearing with keywords like ‘how to use an espresso machine at home.’

Now, the chances are that the customer already owns the espresso machine and they might be interested in a user guide rather than looking for a new product.

Thus, this keyword can be added to the ‘negative keywords’ list so that Google does not display your ads to the users with these queries.

Create Enticing Ad Copy

After refining the best keywords for your PPC ad campaigns, the next step is to create an ad copy that entices your audience to click on them.

You need not be a Shakespeare or a Grammar Nazi in order to create a compelling ad copy. All you need is to understand what is going to trigger your audience to click on the ad link.

Also, make sure that the ad copy that you are creating for the audience is close to the keywords that you are targeting.

You get only a few lines and a convincing headline to create a persuasive ad copy. It is advisable to hire a freelance copywriter or content marketing services to create a copy that talks about your brand, create a headline with higher CTR and give better returns.

Optimise your Ad copies

After you have published your ad copy on Google Ads, you should constantly update and optimise it to improve the quality score and the relevancy.

Even 20 minutes a week are enough to help you analyse and make adjustments to your ad copies and ensure it has a high CTR.

  • Update the keywords regularly:

Your final keywords do not guarantee that you are going to get the top position on the SERPs above other advertisers. Thus, it is important to track the keywords that are under-performing or the ones that are over-performing.

By analysing your Ads regularly, you will discover the negative keywords that are draining your budget unnecessarily.

  • Ensure your website has faster loading pages

Google’s algorithm considers Page Speed as a major ranking factor for both SEO as well as paid campaigns.

No matter how enticing your ad copy or headline is, the broken elements of your landing page, fonts and slow loading pages will turn away the visitors from your page.

  • Perform A/B test
AB testing in PPC ad campaigns

Split tests are a good way to check two versions of copies at the same time. By performing the split test or A/B test, you can test which element of the page is getting more conversions.

Around 60% of the marketers use A/B testing for their PPC ad campaigns to test out the better version and understand their audience’s interest.

This way, you can use the best version of your Ad and test out the things that work for your audience. You can test the fonts, designs and graphics, short and long-form ad copies and Run CTAs to check its effectiveness.

Generate Ad insights & report

Running a PPC ad campaign for small businesses is not enough. You need to keep track of your goals and make sure they are achieved.

Ad insight report using Google Analytics
Source: Google Support

For this purpose, you can use PPC reporting and analytics tools like Google Analytics or SEMRush.

By merely inserting the tracking code, you can connect your Google Analytics account to the website and track the metrics and goals for organic search as well as for the paid campaigns.

Be it any PPC software, there are some KPIs in PPC that helios you map the success of your ad campaign:

  • Revenue tracking
  • Return on Ad Spend (ROAS)
  • Profit & Return on Investment
  • Audience Engagement rate.


Launching your small business website is the first step. PPC comes as an essential step in collecting qualified leads and converting these leads into potential customers.

SEO is surely a great way to gather leads organically but that would take a lot of your time and snatch your potential customers. That said, by ignoring PPC marketing, you are leaving a lot of money on the table for your competitors.

By following the above steps, you will have a basic understanding of the PPC for small businesses and how it works!

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