We regularly get email something similar to this:

I'm just one guy running my business. I want a great PPC program and I heard you can cater to someone like me. Can you help me?

I typically respond to questions like this very carefully because there isn't a simple yes/no answer. I don't want to provide false hope because yes, I do create great PPC programs, but much of the success is going to depend heavily on the website. Let's look at a few things relevant to the campaigns first.

What constitutes a "great" PPC program?

When evaluating the effectiveness of a PPC campaign / ad group, I tend to look at these three elements:

  • CTR How many clicks per impressions. The higher the click through rate, the more relevant your ad is to the searched phrase
  • Cost per Conversion Cost divided by number of conversions. The lower the cost per conversion, the higher the ROI
  • Conversion Rate How many conversions per click. The higher the conversion rate, the better your ROI is going to be.
The first element, CTR, is something that as the PPC manager I have direct control over. It is determined by relevant keywords and corresponding ad text. Through thorough keyword research I can create extensive keyword lists. Lists that are relevant to the landing page and are the terms people use when searching for the product/service advertised.

I can create relevant ads matched to the keywords. I know how to use calls to action in my ads. Taking a relevant keyword list, adding it to a relevant add text, we get a strong CTR.

What I can't control, when hired strictly for PPC management, is what happens after the searcher clicks the ad. A strong CTR doesn't mean anything if you've paid for the click and get nothing in return. It is the conversion rate, and ultimately the cost per conversion that matter most. Those elements are dependent on the landing page experience.

The landing page experience.

What happens when the searcher lands on your site? Unless the goal of your campaign is strictly to drive traffic to your site, once the searcher is on the landing page, it's up to the page to capture the conversion. No matter how many people land on the site, a good percentage of them need to follow through and purchase, or complete a contact form. What are the important on page elements you need to consider in efforts to have a successful PPC experience?

  • content/copy: does your content use the same terminology as the majority of the core keywords in your ads and ad groups? Having quality content that incorporates the keywords in your ad group and ad text, goes back to the quality of the ad group as a whole, and reduces the cost per click.
  • relevance: is it obvious to the visitor, as soon as they arrive on your site/page, that you offer what they're looking for? This ties in with the content/copy from above. If they searched for sports massage therapy, and your ad said you provide that service, does the landing page support that?
  • call to action: is it equally obvious to the visitor what it is that you want them to do next? Sure, they're going to want to be able to read/skim some of your page, but is there a clear call to action, such as contact us for more information, or add to cart. Don't make them hunt.

In getting back to the original question "Can I create a successful PPC program," the bottom line answer comes down to how you answer my question: Do your landing pages support success? If your landing page can't answer YES to each of the above questions, don't waste any money on PPC until it does.

January 6, 2009

Diana Adams is a Pay-Per-Click Manager, SEO Specialist and all around "get-er-done" authority. Diana helps clients achieve high ROI with their PPC campaigns by providing detail oriented attention to their Pay-Per-Click ad management.

Outside the office, Diana enjoys rock climbing, skiing, hiking and camping, and has tried river kayaking. She and her husband were high school sweethearts, tying the knot 20 years later. They have five (nearly) grown children.


Thanks for some PPC advice. It’s easy to understand and much appreciated. Starting a new campaign can be daunting and anything that improves success is helpful.

We should pay more attention to the quality of our landing page or content.

Better Quality = Better Conversion Rate.

This is what I’ve learned from this post. ;)



Good job at outlining both pre-click and post-click strategies and how they mesh together.

There's so much demand on PPC to deliver ROI but too many people forget that their landing pages have to do the job of closing the deal!

PPC pros will definitely take a liking to this post! (And secretly or not so secretly hope their clients or bosses take notice).

Nicely done!

Thanks for the feedback @Xurxo and @Netics, glad you appreciated the info.

You broke it down perfectly. I will have re-do my entire ad campaign. Great Job

Wholesale Shopping at it's best.

I would say that a great PPC campaign is one that produces higher incomes than costs.Period.
Sam Nichols

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