Pay Per Click (PPC) can be incredibly lucrative, both for making money outright and in line with a sales or remarketing campaign. But it can also be a pretty high-risk strategy, especially if you don’t fully understand how fast competition can change and what influences your success over time. That’s exactly what drives many entrepreneurs and business owners to seek the advice of a PPC expert in the first place.
The PPC “Expert” Problem
Here’s the problem: a quick Google search will convince you there’s an endless number of PPC experts out there. Pretty much everyone on sites like Fiverr.com or PeoplePerHour claim they have years of experience with PPC. For some, that’s probably true. But how many of them are actually experts, and which ones are using tired, old-school strategies that worsen risk instead of taking a measured approach?
It can be hard to trust the people you find, especially if they aren’t backed by an agency or you use someone from an online marketplace or site. Even if they show examples and have references, they may or may not be up to date on the latest strategies and techniques. And even true experts can falter and produce sour results if they aren’t dedicated and committed to serving their clients.
So, what can you do? Figure out exactly what qualifies someone as an “expert,” which skills fall in line with your goals, and which red flags may point to someone who’s masquerading by claiming they have skills that really don’t exist.
Similarly to hiring an in-house employee, there’s no “magic bullet” that will instantly reveal a scammer to you before you contract an expert. But the next few sections will give you examples of the most critical skills they need.
Google Auction Know-How
Ask if your PPC expert knows how Google Auction works. If they can’t provide a thorough answer, or they seem confused about terms and ideas, that’s a major red flag. Not sure what to listen for? Here’s a quick layman’s explanation.
Google Auction lets advertisers browse for and “bid on” keywords in the Google AdWords program. But it isn’t always just about bidding; the system also scores your web content and decides the strength of your bid using a “Maximum Bid x Quality Score” formula. Your score impacts both your success rate and your Cost Per Click (CPC).
How to Calculate CTR
Click-Through Rate (CTR) refers to the number of times someone actively “clicks through” your advertisement when they see it on the web. A low CTR is an indication of a problem with advertising or placement. High CTR means you’re getting positive results, but be careful; a high CTR alone won’t win conversions.
Gold Standard Tools of the Trade
There are as many tools out there for AdWords and SEO as there are unqualified PPC experts. Many provide at least some value; others are just an outright scam. You should always do your research before using tools, especially if they cost money or require a monetary subscription.
That said, there are a few standards most experts use:
- Google AdWords platform – Self-explanatory
- Google’s Keyword Planner tool – Self-explanatory
- SEMRush – Contains research tools for PPC campaigns
- Google Trends – Trend tracking and analysis by keyword
- Bing Ads Editor – Same as Google AdWords, but for Bing
- Google Analytics – a must-have for content and website tweaks
And this next one isn’t industry standard, but it’s well worth a mention because it’s quickly growing in popularity. Answer the Public is a relatively new website that suggests spin-off keywords from a single keyphrase.
Bing’s Relevance in PPC
There’s a common misconception that Bing is the search no one uses, but that’s no longer true. Bing, a Microsoft product embedded into every Windows installation, corners about a quarter of the market, so it’s worth at least taking a glance at. Some experts believe it’s growing faster than Google thanks to Cortana’s voice search.
Your PPC expert should at least be aware of Bing and how it affects the overall market, including trends. If you’re interested in targeting keywords through Bing, they should have a thorough understanding of how Bing’s platform works.
Amazon Ads Basics
Wait…Amazon Ads? Yes! Amazon offers a suite of self-serve or Amazon-managed PPC advertising options that can be quite lucrative if handled correctly. They’re really only applicable to sellers on Amazon, but if you do sell product, be sure to hire an expert who understands this niche.
Additionally, make this an even more important factor if you’ve mainly been using Google-based PPC to drive viewers to your Amazon sales pages. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with either approach, it doesn’t hurt to diversify.
How Facebook PPC Ads Work
Yes, your PPC expert should understand how Facebook PPC ads work, too, even if you’ve already made the choice to move away from the platform like thousands of other sellers. Understanding the most standard advertising and PPC platforms is an earmark of an accomplished expert; someone who only knows Google or only knows Facebook may be relying on Lynda.com or Udemy for their “schooling” instead of having experience.
Facebook’s PPC works slightly different than other platforms; instead of a bidding system, you set a budget and rate and a time length. Your CPC is calculated by the number of people you reach, not by your quality or payment total.
How Content Factors in To PPC
This one’s a big one, and it’s also a factor many people overlook. Content plays a serious role in PPC success. You can bid on keywords all day long; if you win, it will be all for nothing if you don’t have the content in place for people to access before you get started.
Ultimately, content needs to be “high-quality.” This will mean something a little bit different for every niche and industry. Your PPC expert should have at least a baseline idea of what it means for you because, at the end of the day, the goal is for you to get more conversions and views. Your content should be informative, easy-to-read, skimmable content with flawless grammar, spelling, and flow, all while managing to work in common keywords in a natural way (without stuffing).
Over time, content trends can change. A good, long-term PPC manager should also stay on top of these trends and tell you when you need to adjust. A PPC expert who never touches your website may be simply crunching numbers with little disregard for the end result.
There is one last piece of advice we can recommend: give us a call! We’re more than happy to help out with PPC campaigns and give you a hand with content and SEO at the same time. Everything is completed in-house, so you can always be sure of who you’re working with.