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Marketing Tools

Pay-Per-Click Search Engines

Pay-per-click search engines (often referred to as PPC) are one of the most effective ways to advertise on the Internet. No other method allows you to almost instantly put up highly targeted text ads that start getting results immediately. To get started, all you need to do is open an account with one of the many pay-per-click search engines, deposit some money, and bid for certain keywords. Whenever a visitor to that search engine enters the keyword(s) you bid on, your text ad will show up either on the top or side of the page. Each time they click your ad, you are charged for the amount Google Adwords or Yahoo Sponsored Search require bids starting from 5 to 10 cents.

Google Adwords is unquestionably the 800 pound in the PPC market, but don't overlook Yahoo since I have had a lot of success with them as well and they can often be less costly. Generally, the smaller engines charge less, but this does not necessarily mean the traffic is lower quality. Do some experimenting so see what gets you the best results.

Below is a list of pay-per-click engines I have used, and my rating of each one.

Google Adwords

There is a learning curve to mastering Google Adwords, and it can sometimes be frustrating to deal with Google's quirky rules and sometimes inexplicable "slaps." But that's the price you have to pay to participate in the largest PPC market. If you only use one pay-per-click engine, then Google is the one to choose.

Yahoo Sponsored Search

This is the second largest network, and bids start at $0.10. I happen to like them more than Google as they seem more straighforward and sensible to me. Since you can get $25 in your account upon signup, there is no excuse to not give them a try.


A growing network that includes over 116,000 sites and 270 million page views a day. The interface is easy to use for anyone familiar with Adwords, and the traffic quality is good.

Microsoft Adcenter

My guess is that Adcenter is the third largest pay per click search engine after Yahoo and Google. It's a decent engine that's worth trying. Don't expect a flood of traffic, though.

Anything smaller
Don't bother. The meager traffic you get won't be worth your time.