Search Engine Placement

Can you guarantee your site will be listed on the first page of search results?

The answer is yes. But maybe not the way you think. "Pay per click" (PPC) is a type of Internet marketing where you tell a search engine what you're willing to pay for a website visitor. For example, you might be willing to pay 15 cents for a website visitor searching for "Austin, Texas appraiser".

The attraction of pay per click is that you don't pay for ad exposure, but rather effectiveness. That is, you only pay when a searcher actually clicks the link to your site. It's as if you only had to pay the yellow pages for the number of people that actually called!

Why do pay per click?

PPC is a smart marketing investment for appraisers because it qualifies potential customers better than almost any other type of marketing. Someone searching for "mortgage appraisal Reno Nevada" isn't just some random visitor. They're interested enough in appraisals in Reno to be searching on the Web. That's as qualified as a Web lead gets.

What are the drawbacks?

If you're not careful, you can start paying for clickthroughs you don't want. It should go without saying that if you have an appraisal business in Cleveland, Tennessee, you want to be careful about bidding too high for the search phrase "Cleveland appraiser." The vast majority of people searching that term are going to be located roughly 600 miles north of your office.

And while it's not a drawback, PPC doesn't solve the problem of competition. Even if you're willing to "bid" enough for the search term "Orange County appraiser" to rank on the first page, there are a lot of other appraisers and businesses that will be competing with your ad for the same searchers. Don't look at pay per click as a way to automatically get more traffic than any of your competitors or colleagues.

Which pay per click programs are right for you?

There are literally dozens of pay per click programs. But the largest ones, and the ones you're probably the most interested in are:

http://adwords.google.com
http://searchmarketing.yahoo.com
http://adcenter.microsoft.com

If you're just starting a pay per click advertising program, it's best to start with one of the big ones.

How can you make it work for you?

If you're new to PPC, start with the basics: Do some searches on Google or Yahoo that you think might lead people to your site, and see what other appraisers or companies you're up against. Do you want to be on the first page of results for a given search? The best way to find out is by performing the search yourself and seeing the results.
When you start "bidding," be sure to choose the search terms you're bidding on wisely. The search terms you bid on should be the same that your target market is likely to search with. If you're willing to pay for help, a tool like Wordtracker can be invaluable.
More brokers, originators, REALTORS®, and consumers than ever are using the Internet to search for a qualified appraiser, and PPC is the only way to guarantee a top ranking in any search engine.