One safe point of entry for any small business person trying to work with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to hopefully drive more leads from the search engines to your site is to use Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns. These are the “sponsored” links that you see on the top and right side of your search results. The alternative is to go after achieving “organic” results, showing up in the main section of the search results without paying for it (though takes a lot to achieve).

Before heading down the road of PPC campaigns on Google or other search engines, make sure you do some research on keywords that you want to be found through. As soon as you start your PPC campaign you are spending money, so do your research first and save yourself the cost of that learning curve.

Here are a few online, free keyword research tools to help you analyze which keywords you should use for your website:

  1. Google Adwords tool –
    Here you can put in some descriptions about your company or even type in a web address (your own or your competition) and see which keywords you could use. This tool shows you a list of ideas but also tells you the volume you can expect within those keywords. This tool is great to help you figure out how actual people are searching for your type of product/service.
  2. Wordtracker –
    This tool is simple and easy to use. Basically put in one keyword and it will produce a bunch of other similar ones that INCLUDE your keyword. So it won’t venture out without the keyword you chose, but if you need some help including areas within your keyword that you forgot, this is a great tool.

There are some more great ideas (some already mentioned) here.

organic seo resultsThe primary issue to think about is the type of customer/person you are hoping to find you and what will they put in to search for you? Some terms might be proprietary to your company, capitalize on that so in case that term is used you dominate. A real PPC campaign should be monitored daily and adjusted based on the total amount you want to spend.

The value to a small business in using PPC is that you can manage the campaigns yourself (should you choose) and then when you get it to a level where you’ve figured out more accurately which keywords bring the greatest return, you can get your team on it to take it to the next level. So not only the paid searches but the organic search results start to show you ranking for those terms. Studies have shown that roughly 80% of people trust organic searches over the paid so the real goal is to get into the organic space of the search results, but using PPC can help you fine tune your efforts quickly.

Images by Solutio Design


With over a decade of experience, I have managed online marketing for a wide range of industries including biotech, high-tech, financial, higher education, non-profit, manufacturing, hardware providers, and startups. My specialty is helping business make the right turn with their online efforts focusing on lead generation and analytics.

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