Small and medium businesses find it necessary to pay for search engine ranking and advertising in order to boost their sales. The primary goal of the advertiser is not to generate thousands of clicks, but to attract a potential customer or actual buyer with each click-through. The largest search engine on the Web, Google, has a reward system of sorts with higher or more frequent placement for ads that generate the most click-throughs.
Among all the pay-per-click search engines, Google Adwords is the largest network operator as of 2006. Depending on the search engine's market reach, minimum price-per-click varies from $0.01 to $0.50. Common search terms can cost much more. Very popular keywords that draw lots of prospective customers are probably well-known to other businesses in your industry. With everyone vying for the same keywords, the price can be jacked up to several dollars per click!
One thing that Google uses to determine the cost-per-click (CPC) pricing for keywords is the quality score of the landing page. Google AdWords has recently revamped (see http://adwords.blogspot.com/2006/07/landing-page-quality-update.html), its quality scoring system for landing pages. The change affected a small number of sites. However, those sites saw significant changes to their min CPCs (minimum amount one must pay to have an ad displayed.)
Some site accounts went from minimum CPCs of $0.03 - 0.15 to $10.00. In order to adjust to the new Google Adwords changes, webmasters should first examine the document Google AdWords Site Guidelines (see https://adwords.google.com/select/siteguidelines.html)
These were the relevant points from that document that pertained to this situation:
1. Try to provide information without requiring users to register. Or, provide a preview of what users will get by registering.
2. Openly share information about your business. Clearly define what your business is or does.
3. Most internet users are concerned with understanding and controlling how websites use their personal information. In order to build an honest relationship with them, providing clear answers to these questions on your site is a must
4. Develop an easily navigable site.
This usually translated into:
1. Show a sample newsletter (i.e. any other content)
2. Create an "About Us" page (and call it exactly that in both the link and URL)
4. Create some sort of navigation for the website
Then webmasters should refresh with the Google Webmaster Guidelines (see http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=35769)
Google AdWords still has more quality traffic than any other PPC engine. It is essential to use Google AdWords effectively to bring the most quality traffic available to your website. The trick is ensuring Google thinks your page will assist their visitors in finding information (remember, the act of searching is a hunt for the answer).
To improve your quality score, go through every line of Google Site Guidelines (see https://adwords.google.com/select/siteguidelines.html) and ask yourself:
1. Am I following this guideline?
2. Could I make this guideline better from users standpoint?
3. Can the Google score program tell I am following this guideline?
Once you can confidently say you are following these guidelines, your quality score should improve dramatically.
Google is idealistic about how well they treat their users. User satisfaction is more important to their long term goals and success than advertiser satisfaction. This does not mean Google does not want satisfied advertisers, it just means that if there is a tie between interests.
When evaluating your website, pretend you are a random web visitor and think to yourself: Does this website answer all of my questions before I have to give up my personal information?
When the answer is "Yes", it is time to check your quality score and see if Google AdWords agrees with you. Google only updates the scores a few times a year, the following website gives a Google prediction of your website:
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