Pay Per Click

What Is PPC?

Pay-per-click (PPC) is an advertising model that lets marketers place ads on an ad platform and pay the host of that platform every time their ad is clicked. The goal of a PPC ad is to lead the person viewing it to click through to the advertiser’s website or app, where that visitor can complete a valuable action, such as purchasing a product. Search engines are incredibly popular advertising platforms. They allow you to display ads that are relevant to what users are searching for. Advertising services like Google Ads and Bing Ads operate with real-time bidding (RTB), where advertising inventory is sold in a private automated auction using real-time data.

How Paid Search Works

Every time there is an ad spot on a search engine results page (SERP), an instantaneous auction takes place for the keyword. A combination of multiple factors, including bid amount and the quality of the ad, decide the winner who will appear in the top spot of the SERP. These auctions are what keeps the gears of PPC moving. Auctions begin when someone searches for something on a search engine; if there are advertisers interested in showing ads related to a user’s search query, an auction is triggered based on keywords that are bid on by advertisers. The ads that win the auction then appear on the search engine results page. To get involved in these auctions, advertisers use accounts on platforms like Google Ads to set up their ads and determine where and when they would like those ads to appear. Accounts are split into campaigns for ease of management and reporting of different locations, product types, or other useful categorization. Campaigns are further divided into ad groups which contain keywords and relevant ads.


  • Queries are the actual words that users type into the search box of a search engine in order to find results.
  • Keywords, on the other hand, are what marketers use to target these
    users by matching their search queries.

Keywords work as generalized abstractions of a wide range of search queries, which are prone to irregularities like misspellings.

Depending on the keyword match types they use, advertisers can match search queries with more or less precision.

For example, advertisers can choose to match keywords with search queries exactly or to allow for variations such as different orderings of the words, different spellings, or the inclusion of other words.

It is also possible to have negative keywords, which will prevent ads being triggered by search queries containing those keywords, in order to avoid irrelevant traffic.


Along with keywords, you need to prepare ads in your campaigns.

These are nestled together within ad groups that target shared sets of keywords, and so are organized by common themes.

Ads are what the users will see if the auction is won, so they’re very important to get right.

They typically contain a:

  • Headline.
  • URL.
  • Description.

On a SERP they can show up on top of the results or at the bottom of the page. It’s good practice to test different versions of ad copy to see what performs best.

Services like Google Ads and Bing Ads provide features called ad extensions that enhance the appearance of ads. Examples include:

  • Sitelink extensions, which populate an ad with more links to different pages on a site.
  • Call extensions, which add a phone number to the ad during business hours.

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