Pay Per Click:  Guaranteed Search Engine Placement

What if you could pay for your yellow pages ad only when someone called you from it? That same idea is what makes pay per click such a good investment for appraisers. PPC advertising is where you tell a search engine how much you are willing to pay for a website visitor based off of which search term they typed into the search field (for example, "El Paso appraiser"). PPC advertising can help you target specific audiences based on precise search terms. It's a guaranteed way of getting your site on the first page of the search engines, and it's really not as expensive as you might think (sometimes just a few cents per click, depending on the popularity of the keywords). Plus, you only pay if someone actually clicks on your site (hence the term "pay per click"). Here are three things to know about PPC marketing:

PPC placement is different than "organic" placement. When you type a term in search engines, there are two types of results that appear. Usually at the top and to the right side on the page are "Sponsored Ads" or "Sponsored Links." These sites have paid to appear there. Under these sponsored sites are the naturally (or "organically") placed sites. To differentiate PPC ads from natural results, search engines make PPC ads easier to notice on the page and sometimes put them in a different background color and/or larger font.

PPC is not a substitute for SEO. Although you might think it would be easy to just bypass the work involved in customizing your site and instead opt to pay for search engine placement, you should always continually seek to increase your ranking in natural search results. Because even if you're the very first result through PPC, if you don't have a worthy website, people will just click on it (and you'll consequently pay for that click), and then simply leave your site since it doesn't offer anything helpful for them. PPC coupled with excellent SEO is the best way of capturing qualified leads.

Choosing a PPC program. There are dozens of PPC programs available, but the heavyweights are (in this order): GoogleTM Adwords (http://adwords.google.com), Yahoo!® Search Marketing (http://searchmarketing.yahoo.com), and MSN® adCenter (http://adcenter.microsoft.com). If you're new to PPC, definitely start with the basics. Also, make sure you bid wisely. You're going to pay significantly more for the term "appraisal" than you will "El Paso appraiser." Plus, do you really need a title company from Salem, MA finding you if you're an appraiser in El Paso, TX? Make sure your terms are targeted for people who want to find you. You'll pay less and get much more.