Pay-per-click programs are not all created equal. When you think of PPC programs, you probably think of keyword marketing — bidding on a keyword to determine where your site will be placed in search results. And that’s an accurate description of PPC marketing programs as they apply to keywords. However, there are two other types of PPC programs, as well. And you may find that targeting a different category of PPC marketing is more effective than simply targeting keyword PPC programs.

Keyword pay-per-click programs

Keyword PPC programs are the most common type of PPC programs. They are also the type this book focuses on most often. By now, you know that keyword PPC programs are about bidding on keywords associated with your site. The amount that you’re willing to bid determines the placement of your site in search engine results.

In keyword PPC, the keywords used can be any word or phrase that might apply to your site. However, remember that some of the most common keywords have the highest competition for top spot, so it’s not always advisable to assume that the broadest term is the best one. If you’re in a specialized type of business, a broader term might be more effective, but as a rule of thumb, the

more narrowly focused your keywords are, the better results you are likely to have with them. (And PPC will cost much less if you’re not using a word that requires a $50 per click bid.)

The major search engines are usually the ones you think of when you think keyword PPC programs, and that’s fairly accurate. Search PPC marketing programs such as those offered by vendors like Google, Yahoo! Search Marketing, and MSN are some of the most well-known PPC programs.

Product pay-per-click programs

You can think of product pay-per-click programs as online comparison shopping engines or price comparison engines. A product PPC program focuses specifically on products, so you bid on place- ment for your product advertisements.

The requirements for using a product PPC program are a little different from keyword PPC programs, however. With a product PPC, you must provide a feed — think of it as a regularly updated pricelist for your products — to the search engine. Then, when users search for a product your links are given prominence, depending on the amount you have bid for placement. However, users can freely display those product listings returned by the search engine in the order or price from lowest to highest if that is their preference. This means that your product may get good placement initially, but if it’s not the lowest-priced product in that category, it’s not guaranteed that your placement results will stay in front of potential visitors.

Some of these product PPC programs include, NexTag, Pricegrabber, and Shopzilla.

Implementing a product feed for your products isn’t terribly difficult, although, depending on the number of products you have, it can be time-consuming. Most of the different product PPC pro- grams have different requirements for the product attributes that must be included in the product feed. For example, the basic information included for all products are an item title, the direct link for the item, and a brief description of the item.

Some of the additional attributes that you may need to include in your product PPC listings include:

  • title
  • description
  • link
  • image_link
  • product_type
  • upc
  • price
  • mpn(Manufacturer’s Part Number)
  • isbn
  • id

Some product PPC programs will require XML-formatted feeds; however, most will allow text delimited Excel files (simple CSV files). This means you can create your product lists in an Excel spreadsheet, and then save that spreadsheet as text delimited by selecting File ➪ Save As and ensuring the file type selected is text delimited.

Service pay-per-click programs

When users search for a service of any type, such as travel reservations, they are likely to use search engines related specifically to that type of service. For example, a user searching for the best price for hotel reservations in Orlando, Florida, might go to Advertisers, in this case hotel chains, can choose to pay for their rank in the search results using a service PPC program.

Service PPC programs are similar to product PPC programs with the only difference being the type of product or service that is offered. Product PPC programs are more focused on e-commerce prod- ucts, whereas service PPC programs are focused on businesses that have a specific service to offer.

Service PPC programs also require an RSS feed, and even some of the same attribute listings as prod- uct PPC programs. Some of the service PPC programs you might be familiar with are and In addition, however, many product PPC programs have expanded to include services. One such vendor is NexTag.