Which Engines Should You Use?
Following Goto.com’s (now known as Overture) phenomenal success
with pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, more than 160 PPC startups
have sprung up.
Out of these 160 PPC engines, only a few may actually have the
search volume to generate a respectable number of clicks for your
Most PPC startups require between $10 to $25 of setup fee which
can be applied to clickthroughs. They offer low minimum bids of
$0.01. But with limited search volumes, they may bring you only a
few clicks each day!
My recommendation is to go for established PPC engines with high
search volumes that can generate higher clickthroughs. The big
boys are Overture (previously known as Goto) at
http://www.overture.com, Sprinks at http://www.sprinks.com,
FindWhat at http://www.findwhat.com.
Overture is the best because they serve over 2 billion search
queries monthly through their partnership with major search
engines such as America Online, Lycos, Altavista, Netscape,
Hotbot and InfoSpace.
You can test the startup PPC engines but commit only the minimum
setup fees. If they generate decent traffic, you can always top
up your account. That way you minimize your risk to only $10 to
$25 per PPC engine. For a list of over 160 PPC engines, see
How To Find Relevant Keywords?
Since you are paying for each clickthrough on your bid, it makes
good sense to ensure that your keywords are relevant to your
One of my favorite tools is Overture’s Search Term Suggestion at
Enter a keyword and it shows the number of times the word was
searched – which indicates its popularity. The more popular the
keyword is, the higher are your clickthroughs. Overture also
generates a list of similar keywords and their search counts in
the previous month.
Overture’s tool is one of the best ways for finding good keywords
to bid on. Another alternative is to download Good Keywords at
Enter a keyword into this free software and it will display a
list of relevant search terms and their search counts across
multiple PPC engines.
You can also try JimTools’ Keyword Toolkit at
JimTools can generate a list of related keyword possibilities,
some with search counts, from Goto, Google, Magellan and
How Much Do I Bid?
The bigger PPC engines such as Goto and Sprinks require a minimum
bid of $0.05. Startup engines have lesser minimums of $0.01.
How much to bid depends on your return-on-investment (ROI)
For example: If you bid $1.00 per visitor, and 1 in every 10
visitors buys your product, your cost-per-sale is $10.00.
So if each sale of your product produces a gross profit of $15,
then your net profit will be $5.00 ($15 gross profit minus $10
Your return-on-investment (ROI), before non-marketing expenses,
is 50.0% ($5.00 net profit / $10 cost-per-sale). Always price
your bids to achieve a positive ROI!
A great tool that you can use to compare bids for a specific
keyword across multiple PPC engines is at
To read about how you can maximize your returns from PPC engines,
go to http://internetmarketingfocus.com/article.php?sid=53
You’ll learn how to reduce your bids while still maintaining the
same ranking or get a top 3 position for maybe just 1 cent more!
How Do I Track Clicks?
Most of the time, you’ll notice that the number of clicks tracked
by yourself is between 15% to 30% more than the clicks the PPC
This is because reputable PPC engines such as Overture have
installed anti-cheating mechanisms that prevent your competitors
from repeatedly clicking on your listings and wasting your bid
They will count multiple clicks within a specified timeframe from
the same computer as only one clickthrough while your own log
will usually register the multiple clicks.
There was once when I noticed that my log was registering less
clicks than Overture’s reports. They were experiencing some bug
which prevented clicks from being properly delivered to the
Because I was tracking my clicks, I notified them of the problem
and they credited my account for the bad clicks. Tracking your
clicks give you a more reliable picture of how well your PPC
campaign is performing.
If you have access to your CGI directory, I recommend LnkinLite,
a small yet powerful tracking software that can track clicks to
your site in the background. Get it at
Otherwise you can consider free online trackers at
http://www.hypertracker.com or http://www.linkcounter.com
About the Author
Michael Low is a widely-published marketing consultant. He
provides top-notch press release (PR) services at affordable
rates. Check out his full-range of PR services at