How to get started in PPC

When I moved out of government and into the private sector, a few areas in communication were relatively new to me.

One of them was Pay-Per-Click advertising or PPC.

After a little research, I found some information and resources that helped get me started, and I hope these help you as well.

What is PPC?

First, what is PPC?

Pay-per-click is the process of paying every time a person clicks on your advertisement.

Unlike Search Engine Optimization (SEO) which attempts to get your content ranked higher in the results of search engines, PPC allows you to buy your way to the top of a page to target a specific customer with your advertisements.

Every time a viewer clicks on your advertisement, a fee is sent to the search engine.

If there isn’t a click on your ad, then you don’t pay for it.

PPC should be one component of your holistic marketing strategy and is good for lead generation, a product launch, and increasing brand awareness.

What are the types of PPC?

There are several categories of PPC including search ads, local search ads, display ads, and remarketing.

These can appear in search engines and social media accounts, with the top advertising platforms being Google AdWords, Bing Ads, Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, and LinkedIn Ads.

Search Ads

Search Ads are what appear at the top of the search engine page when you enter a term, and local search ads are specifically directed to those in your geographic area.

Below were the results from searching ‘tax preparation’ and it gave me the TurboTax ad at the top, along with some advertisements for local, Virginia-based tax preparers.


search engine results

Display Ads

Display Ads include text, images, and/or videos to attract viewers to click on your ad. These can be listed in search engine results or banners on a website.

display ad results


Remarketing is not so much a separate type of PPC advertisement as it is a process. It is a way to connect with people who have previously interacted with your content and position those ads in front of them as they continue to surf the web. It can help increase brand awareness, remind them of your product, and potentially convert them into paying customers.

What are the Steps of Creating a PPC campaign?

You can go deep into the strategies and tactics of your PPC campaign, but the basic steps of starting a PPC campaign are:

 • Researching your competitors to understand what they are paying for and, and why they are being successful

 • Know your budget

 • Conduct your PPC keyword research

 • Create quality content to achieve a high click-through rate (CTR)

 • Create and link your landing page

What are some of the best resources to get started?

For researching your competitors, conducting PPC keyword research, and other tools and tips on how to optimize your PPC campaign, here are some of the best sites you can use:

SpyFu provides various information, including any site’s paid keywords and ad spend history, helps identify critical sets of keyword weakness and wins, examines ad copy and keyword groups, and highlights areas that may need additional research. In addition to information for PPC, it also has sections on SEO research, backlinks, and more.

SEMRush offers solutions for SEO, PPC, content, social media, and research on competitors. The four tools they highlight for PPC research include the Keyword Magic Tool, Advertising Research, Display Advertising, and the Product Listing Ad (PLA) tool.

Unlike the other sites, WordStream is entirely PPC-focused. Their platform WordStream Advisor makes it easy to deliver measurable business growth with Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Microsoft Ads. They also have PPC University which is a good resource for learning more about PPC.

Ahrefs is known for its backlinks and SEO analysis but provides Site Explorer to provide an in-depth look at the organic search traffic and backlink profile of any website or URL. They also have Ahrefs Academy, but at the moment it only has two videos so far.

Get Started

Now that you’re equipped with the basics, it’s time to get started. I’ll continue to add more content that provides additional, in-depth information on PPC.


This post may contain affiliate links. Click here for my disclaimer.

Mike Nicholson

I've spent my career working in a variety of Strategic Communications, Public Relations, Public Affairs, Information Operations, and Executive Outreach positions. With a history of planning, preparing, executing, and assessing communication strategies in the U.S. and abroad, I use this site to write, think and share lessons learned on organizational communications.

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap