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What is a Pay Per Click search engine?
A Pay Per Click (also known as Pay Per Ranking, Pay Per Placement or Pay Per Position) search engine enables you to list your site at the top of the search engine results.
You pay only when a searcher or clicker (I use these terms interchangeably) clicks on your listing and connects to your site. You don’t pay to list, you only pay for clicks or click throughs.
You list your web site by selecting keywords that refer to your product or service. For each keyword you determine how much you are willing to spend. The higher you bid the higher you will appear in the search results.
PPC search engines usually combine paid listings with unpaid listings to ensure any given search produces sufficient results. Typically, unpaid listings (also known in the industry as ‘fodder’) are provided by another search engine such as Inktomi, Google or the DMOZ project.
Most of the PPC search engines list the bid price in the results pages, but I believe it is more effective to keep bids off the results page. Listing bid amounts detracts from the perceived quality of the results and can unnecessarily bias a searcher’s behavior.
It’s a smart idea
An account with a PPC search engine is a great way to drive targeted traffic to your site because you only pay for actual clicks to your site. It is risk free and a cheaper alternative to listing with the bigger search engines. Search engines like AltaVista, Yahoo and Google get lots of traffic but they are expensive. For example, with Google it will cost you $1500 for keywords per month with a three month minimum, so that’s $4500 with no clicks guaranteed.
But be careful….
Advertisers need to be wary of PPC search engines that offer clickers money or incentives to click through their results. My advice is to steer clear of these search engines as the clicks you pay for are probably not genuine.
What to look for
When choosing a PPC search engine consider its functionality as a search engine. Several of the PPC search engines reviewed fail to produce a useful search engine for a combination of reasons. They are either too slow, have distracting interfaces, poor navigational guides or just don’t have a set of results at all.
It is in your interests as an advertiser to sign up with a functional PPC search engine. Searchers won’t come back to a PPC if they can’t find what they are looking for. That’s why in my overview, I have commented on speed, search results, and userability of the site.
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