PPCSafe for Professionals

New clients or patients are constantly looking for a provider of reliable, skilled professional services. Hardly anyone uses the Yellow Pages anymore. Some people use arbiters of reputation such as Emily's List. But many use search engines, and the most popular of these are Google and Microsoft's Bing. Both of these offer paid ads, including AdWords and Bing Ads, and these ads can appear both on their search engines and on affiliated sites related to the search terms you select for your paid ads.

There are two ways to have your services appear at the top of the page when potential clients or patients search for your services. The first is Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which is the fine art of making your web site's pages so compelling, so overwhelmingly germane, to the search engine that it will list your web site in the top half of the first page. Unfortunately, this requires talent, luck, and a lot of money paid to specialists in this area. There are also no guarantees that your SEO strategy will best that of your competitors.

The second way is simply to buy placement. The Pay-Per-Click (PPC) arrangement, as currently presented by Google's AdWords and Microsoft's Bing Ads, is that all of the entities that would like to have their websites listed in response to a given set of search terms "bid" a price, and the search engine picks the highest bidders before showing the results of a given search. It's as simple as that. There is a fair bit of transparency because the search engine companies will show each entity the current range of winning bids for any given search term, and will show by how much a given search term for a given entity missed a winning bid. The market price for search terms varies from less than a dollar for less popular terms, and can reach $50 or more dollars for very competitive terms such as in the consumer insurance industry. The price is paid only when someone clicks on the ad: exposure of the ad is free.

The good part of the PPC arrangement is that you can get instant placement by bidding high. You cap your daily expenditures to keep your ad campaign within its budget. The bad part is that your competitors can use up your daily budget very quickly. According to news reports, merchants get up in the morning in some parts of the world and click on each other's ads while eating breakfast, then go about their day in the sure knowledge that their competitors' ads will not show for the rest of the day. Naturally, this is expensive and offers very low ROI.

There are several ways to overcome this problem. An inexpensive way is to have several campaigns, each of which has its own budget and shows at a different time of day from the others. Your competitors would have to be watching all day to have an effect. But it doesn't require a lot of effort to do exactly that.

Another way is to use a third-party service such as ours to monitor your paid clicks and to instruct Google and Bing not to show your ads to computers that have clicked on them a specified number of times before. There are a number of companies that provide this service in addition to ours. You would be well advised to survey them and select one to help protect your advertising investment.