What Is PPC? A Guided Tutorial For Beginners [Part 1/5]

Looking for the perfect PPC tutorial for beginners? Maybe you’re starting a new online business. Maybe you own a local coffee shop or restaurant. Or maybe you’re an accountant looking to expand your client list this year.

In all these scenarios, PPC should play a role in your marketing efforts. In this beginner’s guide, I will walk you through the basics of PPC, from “What Is PPC?” to getting your first click and optimizing your account in the long term. This is PPC Ad Geek’s introduction to Pay Per Click advertising.

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What Is PPC?

Ever heard of Google? Ever wonder how they generate tens of billions of dollars in profit each year? Most of that comes from selling ads on Google.com.

Here’s an example of it in action:

And another…

A search for “cheap bookstore online” results in 2 paid ads at the top. Below the ads are “organic” results, which are unpaid listings that Google has found around the Internet.

Look familiar? It should.

Did You Know: Google gets an estimated 63,000 searches per second around the world.

If I were to click on either of these ads, the advertiser would be charged by Google. This is how Google makes most of their money – advertisers paying per click.

The other major PPC platform is Bing (Microsoft Ads), but Google is the king of search, with around 90% market share worldwide. Thus, this guide will focus on Google’s ad platform and features.

PPC, or Paid Search, is when advertisers pay search engines for individual clicks to their websites. We’re currently viewing it from the consumer’s perspective.

However, behind the ads are website owners using paid search advertising to drive their business.

How Does PPC Work?

PPC stands for Pay Per Click. Digital advertisers pay a certain dollar amount each time an ad is clicked. Ads can be very targeted, only showing when a user is actively searching for what the advertiser has to offer.

This marketing model makes PPC one of the most trackable and manageable marketing channels available. Whether you have a small budget of $100 per month, or you’re Amazon with $37 million a month, PPC can work for you.

Let’s break the PPC marketing process into 4 steps:

Step 1: Set up a website

It almost seems unnecessary to mention this, but it’s an important step. Without a website, your business will have a hard time engaging with people on the internet.

It is still possible to use PPC effectively if you own a local business, but if you don’t have one already, learn how to start a website yourself.

Try Wix.com here. They specialize in easy website development.

Step 2: Determine what types of searches or “keywords” you would like to appear for.

People use Google for pretty much everything. Only a small percentage of global searches are going to be relevant to your business and what you have to offer.

Let’s take used books for an example. If you’re selling books online, you probably don’t want to attract people who are searching for “car tires” or “13-gallon garbage bags,” right?

You want to attract people searching “buy used books online” of course! PPC is all about homing in on your potential buyers, and only showing your ads when people search for things relevant to your business.

There is always room to expand your business and try to gather less focused customers, but starting with highly targeted ads is the way to go.

Step 3: Set a budget and pay for each click to your website.

This is the bread and butter of PPC. Other ad types have a flat fee. For example:

Billboards on your local highway run anywhere from $500 – $10,000+ per month.

TV ads can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $1,000,000+ for a 30-second ad.

But PPC ads are different, and far more versatile. You determine your audience, and only pay when a customer actually visits your website.

How much you pay per click will depend on many things, and it can vary widely by industry. But the important thing to understand is that you control your cost and where your ads appear.

Step 4: Analyze and improve efficiency.

This is the long haul. Over time you must hone your strategy to your specific needs. It can be as sophisticated or as simple as you want.

It is important to have a grasp on the concept of PPC before starting so that you don’t burn yourself early on and become gun shy.

No matter how much you know about advertising, there is always room to improve your strategy. Consumer markets are constantly evolving. New technology and more mobile users mean a new ad space emerges every day.

PPC platforms give you ample tools to help analyze your traffic and improve your advertising efficiency.

Learn more about the best PPC tools by clicking here.

Who Should Use PPC?

If you’re a professional or a business owner, you may wonder if PPC is right for you. Who is using PPC most? Who benefits from paying for clicks on Google and Bing?

There are thousands of industries, some large and small, that all stand to benefit from advertising on Google. Some examples include:

  • Small business owners, ie. coffee shops, local retail shops
  • Online business owners, ie. bloggers, affiliate marketers
  • Restaurant owners
  • Accountants
  • Doctor / dentist practices
  • Medium to large businesses, ie. 500+ employees

Whether you fall directly into one of these niches, or your business is totally unique, you should probably have PPC campaigns for your business. PPC brings new customers directly to your website without waiting months or years for meaningful results. You may have your first new customer within days or hours of starting your first PPC campaign.


To round up, PPC is a powerful marketing channel for generating quality website traffic.

It is the primary source of income for one of the world’s largest companies, Google.

It is a key initiative for another enormous company, Microsoft.

If you’re thinking about beginning your PPC marketing campaign, continue learning how to get started here.


PPC can be a bit overwhelming. To help ease into learning more, continue through my easy-to-follow PPC tutorial for beginners. Next up, you’ll learn how to get your first campaigns launched with Google Ads.

Next: Starting Your PPC Account >>


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