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Pay-Per-Click Isn’t a Dirty Phrase, It’s a Tool

pay-per-click google ad campaigns

A Confession

Hello – My name is Kelley, and I use pay-per-click to help drive my business.  And I’m okay with that.

I was also banned by Google, although I no longer wear the scarlet G.

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ve plans to talk a bit about my pay-per-click strategy on Google, using a system called AdWords, but I wanted to make a brief introduction and business case for using this kind of advertising before we dive into some of that content.

I don’t hear a lot of people in this industry talking about pay-per-click (PPC) as a marketing tool.  Everyone wants you to work on your organic search engine rankings, optimize for natural results and whatnot – and this is a fabulous goal.  But it can take some time.  And if you’re new online, or were taken out of the Google index like I was, you’ve got mouths to feed in the meantime, yes?

Keeping Business Afloat

Having a clue what we were doing with AdWords is what kept my business afloat while we overhauled Housechick, resubmitted to the search engines, begged forgiveness, and waited to be reindexed.  Because I do – and only want to do – a non-traditional business, spending money on paid search engine advertising is part of my business plan, it’s in my budget.  The return on my investment is sufficient for me.

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Here’s the part that most people don’t get: you can used AdWords in shorter term campaigns as part of testing your site to know what really works and doesn’t work, for your market and your desired audience.

Seriously, You Can See What Works

Can I repeat that?  You can find out for sure what works and what doesn’t.

Not sure if adding a phone number to your registration form decreases registrations or not?  You can drive focused traffic to registration pages with and without the phone number via AdWords and find out for sure.

Is your target audience more likely to click through your site or application if you lead with the fear of loss headline, or the warm and fuzzy one?  Drive some traffic there, test the headlines with ad variations and two different landing pages, know for sure.

Or how about this – before you spend a bunch of time trying to optimize your site for keywords that you aren’t sure will drive visitors, how about running an AdWords campaign using variations of those words and phrases to see which keywords actually are used often and make visitors want to click?  And then go optimize your site naturally for those words?

Next time – some vocabulary, account setup, and understanding how to pay less for the same clicks.

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Written By

Kelley Koehler, aka the Housechick, is usually found focused on her Tucson, Arizona, real estate business. You may also find her on Twitter, where she doubles as a super hero, at Social Media Training Camp, where she trains and coaches people on how to integrate social media into successful business practices, or at, a collection of all things housechick-ish. Despite her engineering background, Kelley enjoys translating complex technical concepts into understandable and clear ideas that are practical and useful to the striving real estate agent.



  1. Ben Martin, Va Assn of REALTORS

    October 2, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    According to CREST’s most recent survey, so few RE bloggers are using PPC (less than 10%), it stands to reason that there’s vast untapped potential out there.

  2. Kim Wood

    October 2, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    Way to use another resource while waiting for Google to get you back and coming, Kelley! I have not ventured into even really thinking about Adwords, but as always – know that AgentGenius is a good resource to look with people like you writing here !!!

  3. Lisa Sanderson

    October 2, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    I know nothing about AdWords and look forward to you learnin’ me. Thanks for sharing your secrets! And, uh, hurry up with the next article. Pls.

  4. Jay Thompson

    October 2, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    Kelley, I’m not sure where PPC got to be a four-letter word. As you mention, it is *fantastic* for “split testing” and identifying key words/phrases.

    And there is nothing wrong, at all, with using it as a main traffic source. It becomes problematic if it is the only way you drive traffic to your site. Problematic in that the moment you shut it off, your traffic stops. The nice thing about organic search is it sticks around despite your budget.

    PPC can also be very expensive for certain key words. But used right, with good landing pages and the right terms, it can drive very focused traffic.

    Really looking forward to learning more about it as I am definitely weak in this area. Curious as to what led to the banishment too if you’re willing to share, or if you know.

  5. Paula Henry

    October 2, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    Kelley – I use PPC, strictly in relation to driving traffic to my Property Search. I find the use of different landing pages interesting, since I have often wondered if asking for the phone number makes a difference in whether people are willing to sign up.

    Looking forward to more info on this topic.

  6. Jason Sandquist

    October 2, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    I had a landing web page through a certain website provider, not going to name names or anything but was screwed royally. They wanted so much $$$ and promised to deliver so many leads. They had it set up on a per month fee. Well the a-holes blew my budget within the first week and it brought nothing. I sound mad about it but it is water under the bridge.

    Definitely will try it again, no way a bad thing and a great tool. Looking for the great advice for the DIY people, I can have more control over it.

  7. Matt Stigliano

    October 2, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    Kelley – Can’t wait for this thread of posts! I’ve looked into Google a few times, just poking about and seeing what was there, but never really got too into it. Interested to see where you lead us and what advice you’ve got from being the guinea pig to forge ahead.

    Jason – I got a call for the same idea (maybe same company) – they wanted a lot of cash on a monthly basis. My question to them…how do I know the “leads” aren’t generated by your staff and its not just you clicking through? He stuttered when answering that one. I hung up.

  8. Vicki Moore

    October 2, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    I’m glad I’m not the only one doesn’t know how to use PPC. Bring it on, woman!

  9. Mariana Wagner

    October 2, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    HouseChick … Will you reference “wiffle bats” in your series?

  10. Jack Leblond

    October 2, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    PPC is a great tool for generating traffic while working on your organic rankings, and for doing testing. Oddly enough, many people think then when you reach the first page in the listings you should drop your PPC. Actually, some studies have shown that PPC combined with strong organic rankings increases the click-though of the organic listing by about 60%.

  11. Mark Eckenrode

    October 2, 2008 at 10:17 pm

    woot! ppc is a marketer’s dream for so many different reasons. can not wait for what you got to share.

  12. Ruthmarie Hicks

    October 3, 2008 at 12:41 am

    I think it can be useful – HOWEVER, you can’t let yourself get addicted. I know someone who is paying over $600 a month on PPC. That’s nuts – Sure he’s at the top of the search engines, but his organic search results have been stagnant for a couple of years.

  13. Tim Baur

    October 3, 2008 at 5:45 am

    PPC is great but you have to have many systems in place to be profitable. It’s all about ROI. For every dollar we spend the return is $10 and there is definitely room for improvement……looking forward to hearing more of your ideas Kelley.

  14. Julie Anne

    October 3, 2008 at 8:46 am

    I am up in the air about it. I used ppc and had great traffic, but poor quality leads. I think I need to redifine the key words as you say. My website is producing more and more leads as we work on it, but a little boost would be great about now.

  15. Missy Caulk

    October 3, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    Kelly, I use it too so will probably do some piggy backing off this post. I was at a meeting this week at the Chamber. One of my past clients spoke from Google. He said, and I have done of flip on it on youtube and AR.

    70% more people click organic

    30% Pay per click

    Conversion rate is much higher even with 30% clicking.

    It works and I am doing good in a terrible MI economy, and market. I think most people are just afraid of what they don’t understand. IMHO

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