What is PPC? A Guide for Beginners

PPC stands for pay-per-click advertising. Its key aims are to improve the visibility of your website on search engine rankings, attract high quality traffic, and to ultimately increase sales or customer actions.

This type of advertising is carried out using Google AdWords, Bing, or both. Google AdWords dominates the PPC market with a 81.12% share of searches, yet Bing also has a host of benefits such as a lower CPC (cost per click).

PPC is predominately used for E-commerce and Lead Generation.


E-commerce is all about sales and tracks revenue, and with an ever-growing number of people shopping online, this is big business. Online sales exceeded £133 billion in the UK last year, and this is expected to grow by 14% this year!

A conversion is the completion of a desired user interaction, and for e-commerce accounts, this is solely based on sales made.

Lead Generation

Lead generation is used if you want to receive conversions that could potentially lead to a sale, but not directly sales-oriented. This can be anything from phone calls, downloads, taking a survey, or filling out a form.

This type of PPC is most suitable for companies who want repeat actions, such as collecting email addresses from potential customers to launch an email marketing campaign.

If you don’t need to track a specific conversion, it’s also possible to track how visitors use the website e.g. time spent on each page.

How Are They Tracked?

Conversions and sales made through PPC are tracked via code that is embedded within the webpages on your website, e.g. a newsletter subscription can be tracked by a user landing on a thank you page.

Landing Pages

A landing page is a page that the user is taken to once they click on your ad. It’s important that landing pages are representative of what’s being offered in the advert – the search engines take a dim view of misleading users!

If your landing pages aren’t up to scratch, then this can be detrimental to your whole PPC campaign. This is because adverts are broken down into campaigns and then put in groups, which match web pages by service, location or interest. For example, the loading time of your website can harm the perceived user experience.

Keywords and Bidding

Keywords are at the heart of PPC, as each term is bid on to display the website high in search engine rankings once the keyword is searched for. Google gives a score based on your reputation for relevant ads, landing pages and expected CTR (click through rates).

Think of it like an online auction, the higher the amount of money offered, and the better your Google score, the more likely you are to get the highest search ranking position.

Keywords can be set to be matched exactly to a search term, in the same order as a phrase, or broad which will include things such synonyms of the search term.


For optimal account performance, filtering less relevant search terms with negatives is crucial!

Negatives are blacklisted keywords that you don’t want to trigger with your ads. This keeps accounts healthy by attracting the right traffic and ensuring that you are spending less.

Nobody wants their website to come up as a result for an offensive search term, so negatives filter out the rubbish.

Click Through Rates

CTR is calculated by the number of people who click on an ad divided by the number of people who saw the ad (also known as impressions).

This is a good indicator of the performance of PPC campaigns as it shows that your audience has the initial interest, which can become a conversion or sale.

Why is it Needed

PPC is necessary to keep your business competitive. If your website isn't listed on the first page of search results, it greatly reduces visibility - leading to low online traffic and sales.

We all assume that the top ranking results are the best, so why would anyone go elsewhere?

Our PPC Services

Aquamarine has its own (well oiled) PPC machine. If you want to find out more about the services that we offer in PPC, check out our case studies or contact us, or if you have existing PPC campaigns, we offer free audits!