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High Rankings Advisor: Pay-per-click Basics - Issue No. 063

July 16, 2003


*Introductory Comments:
---->   No Spam Talk

*Search Engine Marketing:
---->   What Else Should I Read?

*This Week's Sponsors:
---->   ConversionRuler
---->   Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines

*Guest Article:
---->   Pay-per-click Basics

*Stuff You Might Like:
---->   Copywriting Resources

*Other SEO News:
---->   Yahoo To Purchase Overture

*This Week's Sound Advice:
---->   The Myth of the Meta Keyword Tag

*Advisor Wrap-up:
---->   Free SES Conference Pass

~~~Introductory Comments~~~

Hey everyone!  Hope your summer is going well (or winter if you're
from Down Under).  Things are heating up around here and it's turning
into a pretty nice summer.  Cloudy today, but when you hole up in the
house anyway, it really doesn't matter what the weather is like, now
does it?  Anyway, I've got some good stuff for you, and for a change
of pace, there's not going to be any talk about how you shouldn't
"spam the search engines" ...oops...I guess now there is! <grin>

On to the good stuff! - Jill

~~~Search Engine Marketing Issues~~~

++What Else Should I Read?++

From: Ryan Ragsdale

I just finished reading the book "Search Engine Visibility"
</searchenginevisibility> by Shari Thurow,
and I'm ready to move on.  What is the next book/resource (besides
your newsletter) that you would recommend for me?


~~~Jill's Response~~~

Hi Ryan,

You made a good choice to read Shari's book in order to understand how
to design a search-engine-friendly site.  So why do you want to read

Your next step is not to find more resources and books.  Your next
step is to go out there and create a search-engine-friendly site!  Go
back to the beginning of Shari's book and start putting her words into
action.  The only way to learn the skills necessary to have a
successful site and profitable business is to *just do it*.  There
seems to be a whole crowd of folks out there who purchase and read
every book, report, ebook, newsletter and forum on any given subject,
but that's all they do.  You can't be successful until you take

In fact, if you read too much without implementing what you've
learned, your head will probably explode!  Maybe not literally, but
you'll be so inundated with information (some of it conflicting) that
there's a good chance you'll immobilize yourself.

The wonderful thing about Shari's book is that it has everything you
need to create a great site that also gets found in the search
engines.  You don't need anything else at this point except for a
domain name, a Web host, some design software (or a designer), a good
product or service, and the time to put it all together as discussed
in the book.  Once you get started you'll learn where your weak points
are, and that's when you'll know what other books or help you might

For instance, you may find that you just don't have a clue as to how
to write the copy for your site.  But you won't know that until you
sit down and *try* to write it.  If at that time you feel totally
stuck, then you might want to hire a professional copywriter.  Or if
you want to do everything yourself, you might want to purchase Karon
Thackston's Step-by-Step Copywriting Course
</copywritingcourse>.  Still, you may be
surprised that you actually *can* write the copy because you are
writing about something you are extremely knowledgeable about.  Don't
just assume you can't do it.  Again, you'll never know until you try!

Once you get your copy written, you may find that you're still stuck
when it comes to how the heck you get your main keyword phrases into
it.  That's when it's time to purchase my Nitty-gritty report.  But
again, you may not have any trouble at all with that.  It's EASY!
You've just got to try and see what happens.

Same thing for every other step along the way.  Try it out, see how it
goes, decide if you need help and then find the appropriate resource
for that particular problem.  Many times you can find plenty of free
information just by searching through my archives, or at the Ihelpyou
forums <>.  But don't go looking
for general information.  You'll get your best advice when you have
actually sat down and tried to create a site, but are simply stuck on
a certain aspect of it.




Which Links Are Working To Sell Your Stuff?

You won't know unless you track them via ConversionRuler.

Track clickthroughs from your newsletter ads, PPC campaigns,
forum postings, Web site links, email sigs and more...

Learn what's working and what's not working so you can generate
more downloads, signups and most of all -- sales!

Read Jill's review: </issue061.htm#stuff>

~~~Guest Article~~~

++Pay-per-click Basics++

Today's guest article was written by Curt Clason and edited by his
colleague Alexandra Pallas.  Curt and Alexandra work at a San
Diego-based organization called RosArt Multimedia, Inc.  As RosArt's
search engine optimization specialist, Curt's been responsible for
their PPC campaigns (among other things), and has been nice enough to
share his PPC tips with us today.

Take it away, Curt!

Pay-per-click Basics
By Curt Clason
Edited by Alexandra Pallas

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising uses search engines to place paid
listings that are relevant to a specific search. The client only pays
when the sponsored link is clicked. A persistent online bidding
process determines the price and position of the listing.

In this article, I'll discuss some of the major PPC providers, their
differences, and the basics of starting an effective PPC campaign.
While there are smaller, lesser-known providers (such as Ah-Ha,, and FindWhat), I'll focus on Overture, Google, and

Choosing a PPC provider for a campaign can depend on budget, goals and
target demographics, although a combination of providers is the best
option for most purposes. This provides the advantage of allowing
funds to be allocated to the most cost-effective provider during the


Overture is the control freak's favorite and the most well known PPC
provider. A basic bid model is used to place ads on partner search
engines and directories, including Yahoo, MSN, Lycos and HotBot.

Overture's bid process uses a feature called "auto-bidding." Position
is determined by the bid amount; however, the amount actually charged
is one penny more than the next bid down.

The advantage of auto-bidding is that you never have to worry about
paying more than necessary to hold your position. However, the next
bidder down can "punish" a higher bidder by bidding one penny below
the higher bid price to ensure the top bidder pays the full amount.
For this reason and the highly competitive nature of Overture's
clients, it is necessary to keep a close eye on bid/positions.

Overture uses human editors to review submissions for relevance and
appropriateness.  New listings may take a day or two to be approved,
although bid changes are immediate.

Google AdWords

Google uses a very different model than Overture. With AdWords, you
create word groups and set a maximum cost-per-click (CPC) for each
group. Google determines the position for each term and the actual
cost based on your maximum CPC and the clickthrough rate (CTR).

Although you have less control over individual terms than with
Overture, you can manage your AdWords accounts more effectively by
creating multiple groups for each campaign based on search term themes
and relevance. A maximum CPC can be set for each ad group.

Managing a Google AdWords account may require less maintenance than
other providers and the exposure is excellent. The downsides are that
the competition and prestige of Google may drive prices higher than
other providers, and there is less individual control over placement.


Sprinks may not seem to be in the same league as the big boys, but in
some ways it is ahead of the curve. Sprinks provides keyword bid
placement in search results in a way similar to Overture (minus the
auto-bid feature), but Sprinks' real muscle is in its content-centered

"Contentsprinks" terms appear in themed information pages, most
notably the network. This can provide targeted advertising,
sometimes at a lower average CPC than the other providers.

Managing a campaign on Sprinks requires close monitoring, as the
fixed-bid prices may have you paying more than necessary as your
competitors' bids change.

SEO Rules Applied to PPC

Keyword research is as important with PPC as it is with SEO, although
the priorities are a little different. With PPC, a large list is best,
starting with your most obvious targeted terms and expanded to include
terms that are more obscure. The more obscure terms can often be bid
at a low CPC, but sometimes provide a surprising amount of cheap but
targeted traffic.

Title and description selection are critical for PPC as well. Most
providers recommend that you include the search term in both, which
will increase clickthroughs, but another consideration is using these
to filter inappropriate clicks. For example, if your bid term is
general you should phrase the description to specifically describe
your product or service. For a specific product, including the price
in the description may help filter out looky-loos from your paid

To prepare your site for PPC traffic, a landing page should be created
for tracking referrals from each provider. To avoid having duplicate
pages indexed and accessed by non-PPC traffic, be sure to disallow
them in your robot.txt document.

A lesser-known benefit of your content-based advertisements is that
all those un-clicked ads on major search engines are a free source of
branding for your site.

Curt Clason
Search Engine Optimization Specialist


Want to learn how to write for high rankings in the search engines?

If you don't have the time or money to see Jill's Writing for the
Search Engines presentation at conferences or seminars, for
only $49 you can learn it all in her informative, quick-read report.

Download the Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines today!

~~~Stuff You Might Like~~~

++Copywriting Resources++

"See I'm all about them words
Over numbers, unencumbered numbered words
Hundreds of pages, pages, pages forwards
More words than I had ever heard and I feel so alive..."

From "You & I Both" - Jason Mraz, Singer/Songwriter

Contrary to popular belief, I'm not a copywriter.  I do write my own
newsletters, forum posts and sales copy, but I leave client
copywriting up to the professionals.  Over the years I've developed a
keen interest in learning more about copywriting.  Since the Internet
is pretty much made up of words, words and more words (with a few
pretty pictures sprinkled in), copy is its cornerstone.

I've found a few copywriting resources that are really good, so I
figured I'd share them with you.

* I-Copywriting
<>: This is a
weekly email discussion list moderated by Nick Usborne.  Send in your
copywriting questions or answer other people's questions.  There's
always a lively discussion going on.  Nick also has his own
newsletter, Excess Voice
<>, which is also very

* NetWords </networds>: This is Nick's
book.  I haven't actually read it yet, but I've heard him speak at
conferences, and have subscribed to his lists long enough to know that
it's gotta be good!

* Copywriter's Roundtable <>: This is a
weekly newsletter put out by professional copywriter John Forde.  I've
only been on this list for a month or two, but have found lots of
great copywriting tidbits in each issue.  John seems to know a lot of
the best copywriters in the biz, so he always has some interesting
tales from the trenches.

* Writing for the Search Engines Guide
<>: This
is a free online guide put together by my former newsletter partner,
Heather Lloyd-Martin.  It's the precursor to her book that should be
hitting the streets soon, which I'm sure will also be a good resource.

* Step-by-Step Copywriting Course
</copywritingcourse>: You've probably
already heard me rave about this one in previous newsletters.  If you
want to learn copywriting from scratch, Karon Thackston's course is
for you.  'Nuff said.  (Karon's also got a great email newsletter,
"Business Essentials" which is always a good read:

* Words That Work </issue033.htm#stuff>:
This link is to my interview with Karon on the Words That Work reports
she uses to get into the head of her target audience when she writes
her copy.

* WritersWeekly <>: This is a weekly
newsletter put out by writer Angela Hoy.  If you're a freelance
copywriter, you will find a ton of good stuff here, including
freelance job offers!  This one is geared towards writing for all
different kinds of media, including books, ebooks, magazine articles
and more.  I generally only read the "News from the Home Office" part,
which is where Angela gives us the latest on her children's antics.
However, freelancers will definitely want to check out the other

* Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines
</nittyhra63stuff>: Okay, couldn't resist
one more plug for my report! So sue me...

By the way, if you haven't heard that Jason Mraz song yet that I
mentioned at the beginning of this section, you should definitely make
an effort to find it.  It's a great song, and it's all about words!
(He sounds a lot like Don McLean in this song, remember him? Does
"American Pie" ring any bells?)

~~~Other SEO News~~~

++Yahoo To Purchase Overture++

I'm sure you've already heard the news about this huge buyout.  The
interesting things to note are as follows:

* Yahoo previously purchased Inktomi (but is still using Google).
* Overture recently purchased AltaVista and a good chunk of FAST
Search.  These will also obviously go to Yahoo.
* Overture currently shows ads at many major search engines/portals,
including MSN.

At this stage of the game it's really impossible to say how all of
this will play out.  When I spoke to reps at Yahoo they told me that
they consider Google a good tech partner and have no immediate plans
to drop them.  Their goal is still to have the most relevant results,
and they're working diligently on integrating aspects of Inktomi,
AltaVista and FAST into their search products.  They were especially
keen on FAST's international competency, AltaVista's multimedia assets
and the talented group of search engineers they'll now have on board.

The bottom line is that Overture ads make a ton of money, so I'm sure
that's their main motivation for the purchase.  It will be interesting
to see if MSN continues to display Overture ads when all is said and
done.  It seems to me that all the engines share their partners
anyway, so it wouldn't surprise me if they stick with them.  But in
the end...who knows?

~~~Sound Advice~~~

++The Myth of the Meta Keyword Tag++


~~~Advisor Wrap-up~~~

That's all for today! Oh wait...I keep forgetting to mention that I've
got a free 3-day pass to the Search Engine Strategies conference in
San Jose in August.  If you're sure you can go (visit here for the
details: <>), and if you can pay
your own transportation and lodging, then drop an email to me at: telling me why I should choose you.

Catch you next time! - Jill
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