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Use Paid Ads to Find Effective Keywords for Your Web Site

If you want to find keywords that will attract a lot of visitors to your Web site, a great way to do this is by using pay-per-click (PPC) ads. Buying PPC ads on a search engine can provide clues that help you optimize your Web site for organic search results. This includes

  • What keywords produce traffic (lots of visitors) to your site

  • What keywords don’t produce traffic to your site

  • What keywords bring the right kind of visitors to your site (that is, ones that convert to customers)

  • Some real traffic volume numbers from that search engine for a particular keyword

What’s nice about using PPC for this kind of research is that you can test ads scientifically. (Note: It’s difficult to set up scientific tests of keywords in the natural search rankings because the search engine’s methods are largely a secret, and their algorithms are constantly in flux.) With PPC, you can control which ads display for which keywords, and set up comparison tests. For example, you could test

  • Two different versions of an ad to see which wording draws more people

  • An ad placed on two different keywords to find out which keyword is more effective

The various statistics and analytical tools offered by Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing, and Microsoft adCenter are a nice benefit to purchasing paid ads through these search engines. The data you collect through them helps you refine your Web site’s theme(s) and keywords. In turn, this knowledge helps you to improve your site’s ranking in organic search results as well as paid results by targeting better keywords for your pages.

Keep in mind that pay per click campaigns require constant monitoring and revision. Bid prices can fluctuate, and you have to make adjustments based on the performance of your ads. Over time, you must change your listings, removing the under-performers and adding new ones. You want to identify keywords that are costing far more than the profits they generate and discontinue them, while keeping track of these lessons learned to apply them to your natural search engine optimization as well.

Be aware that PPC data does not necessarily represent how the same keywords would behave in natural search results; it only provides clues. However, it’s a start in the right direction. Organic search engine optimization can take months of trial and error to produce results. By comparison, a PPC campaign benefits you immediately with listings placed on the first page of search results, an increase in traffic, and some useful data. These benefits can help start your SEO efforts off quickly and give you some good indications of what might be the best keywords for your site.

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