Tag Archives: PPC

Pay Per Click: Hyperlinks and success

Directing PPC hyperlinks

Hyperlinks are key to any pay per click (PPC) campaign. Where will the potential customer be redirected to once they click a sponsored link? There are four main destinations to chose:

This is convenient because PPC campaigns would not require numerous webpages for individual keywords.
Search transfer
Clicks will be redirected to a specific, usually a product, search that is directly related to a PPC campaign.
Category browse
A user is directed to a category that matches the PPC ad.
Standalone webpages, for example, forms or generic pages promoting general messages, such as, “check this out” or “great deal”.

Adapted from Becker et al (2009) who also found that category browse and search transfer had a higher conversion rate compared to homepage or other pay per click redirects.

Location of PPC ads on Google's results page / SERP.

Photo showing the location of PPC ads on Google. Source.

4 things influencing PPC success

WordStream suggest the following elements must be included to make a PPC campaign successful:

  • Keyword research;
  • Organisation;
  • Keyword grouping;
  • And ad groups (both creation and management).

Successful PPC campaigns need to be well researched and documented.

Trust and PPC

PPC, compared to organic, search has some limitations. Trust, for example, may be lower in PPC whereas highly ranked organic websites are more likely to have more trust attached to them. PPC click-through rates vary. Big brands, for instance, receive higher click-through rates (3% upwards) compared to non brands (1% to 7%). This suggests that PPC and trust are linked.

PPC tips

Carry out keyword research. What product / service do you want to increase? Choose keywords directly related to your products or services. Set a realistic budget and monitor it. Get a responsive website to ensure mobile users can benefit from any PPC campaign. Have brilliant content and webpages. Think about writing call to actions on page content too. Hire a digital marketing agency if you want the most optimum results; they will manage your account regularly.

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  1. Becker, H. Broder, A. Gabrilovich, E. Josifovski, V. and Pang, B. (2009) What happens after an ad click? Quantifying the impact of landing pages in web advertising. CIKM. [no volume or issue number]. pp. 57 — 66.
  2. Kim, L. (no date) Pay-Per-Click Campaign Success Through Keyword Management. [Online] [Accessed on 02nd September 2013]
  3. Raehsler, L. (2012) What Is a Good Click-Through Rate for PPC? [Online] [Accessed on 02nd September 2013]

Search engine results page (SERP) interaction

Once a query has been typed and matched to a search engines’ index results are presented on a SERP. What way do we interact with a SERP?

Organic vs paid search

Organic results are naturally ranked websites whereas paid search (PPC) bids instantly for specific keywords for sponsored link ranking. It is impossible to generalise what results we look at because several studies have found that our attention is evenly distributed for organic results whereas other studies suggest most of us look at the first three results. Click through rates, however, show that 85.7% of clicks occur on page one so being in the top ten of any SERP is important regardless of what position a website ranks.

One study, in 2005, found that the concept of sponsored links is not well known because only 38% know the difference between sponsored (paid search) and organic links. Our ability to see and distinguish SERP components differs enormously. This also means that user interaction with a SERP also varies.

One study found that the number of people who click on sponsored links was between 10% to 23% of all clicks. It is clear PPC is still an effective system.

Snippets on the SERP

Most web search engines actually use similar components to construct a result’s page. They usually include a: title tag, description (or page content), and an URL.

SERP for Gerald Murphy.

SERP for Gerald Murphy.

In recent years web search engines have blended SERPs mixing news and images, for example, with textual websites for informational, navigational and transactional queries. This is beneficial to every searcher because a range of suitable materials are returned, thus likely to be used, to fully investigate a query.

SERP interaction

  • There is a lot of debate about where we look. Some studies suggest the top four results whereas others say #1 to #10 are evenly distributed.
  • Approximately a third of one study did not know the difference between sponsored (PPC) and organic links. This suggests that depending upon the user PPC links could appear to be trustworthy and completely match long tailed search queries when in fact they only match bided keywords.
  • Over 80% of all clicks occur from position one to ten.

Are people satisfied when searching?

Search engines are highly popular and searchers give positive feedback on their use of them, for instance, feeling in control of their search and most find information on what they are looking for. This shows that web search engines are becoming better at ranking relevant results but also the design and user interface of a SERP allows for happy and content searchers.

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  1. Cutrell, E. & Guam, Z. (2007) What are you looking for? An eye-tracking study of information usage in web search. Proceedings CHI. pp. 407 — 416
  2. Downet, D. Dumais, S. Liebling, D. and Horvitz, E. (2008) Understanding the relationship between searchers’ queries and information goals. Proceeding CIKM. pp. 449 — 458
  3. Granka, L.A. Joachims, T. and Gay, G. (2004) Eye-tracking analysis of user behaviour in WWW search. Proceedings SIGIR. pp. 478 — 479.
  4. Fallows, D. (2005) Search engine users. Pew Research Center. [Online] [Accessed on 25th August 2013] http://is.gd/K3KB3o

Google results: Which position is better?

Is page one better than page two?

Goodwin analysed Optify’s study to find out what search engine position was clicked on the most in 2011. Lee did a similar study in 2013. Although both studies suggest that being first on Google has a significant advantage over other positions the average searcher looks at the top three results. The table below shows the click-through rate of results from position one to ten from 2011 and 2013. Other than what the click-through rates are for the top ten results there were two additional interesting findings:

  • Goodwin found that being first on page two of Google has a slight advantage over a result that was position ten on page one.
  • Lee found that page one on Google obtains 92 per cent of all traffic whereas page two views drop to 4.8 per cent.
Table showing the affect of ranking and clicks

Table showing the affect of ranking and clicks

Pay Per Click (PPC)

PPC works by buying sponsored adverts on a search engine. The keywords you buy are matched to specific user queries for a specified period of time. PPC’s contextual adverts improve user satisfaction, which is why most web search engines match adverts to specific keywords through their unique PPC package, and are the main funding source for most search engines today. PPC adverts are also likely to be seen by the searcher but not clicked on.

Heatmap showing tops results matter.

Heatmap showing tops results matter. Source.

Future of PPC

Popularity of PPC might decrease because more users will make use of ad blocking software which means they bypass the entire PPC system. Currently three million user’s have installed AdBlock Plus on their devices within the past 30 days. It seems that the entire PPC system might need to be reviewed to keep up with other technological advances.

If you have found this post interesting read the full studies by using the links below. If you would like to get involved feel free to tweet Gerald.

Posted by Gerald Murphy


  1. Firefox. (2013) Statistics for Adblock Plus. [Online] [Accessed on 24th July 2013]
  2. Goodwin, D. (2011) Top Google Result Gets 36.4% of Clicks [Study]. [Online] [Accessed on 21st July 2013]
  3. Lee, J. (2013) No. 1 Position in Google Gets 33% of Search Traffic [Study]. [Online] [Accessed on 21st July 2013]
  4. Richardson, M. Dominowska, E. Ragno, R. (2007) Predicting clicks: estimating the click-through rate for new ads. WWW 2007 / Track: Search. pp. 521 — 530