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What Is a Pay-Per-Click Ad?

You’ve seen them. They’re the shaded ads at the top of a Google search-results page, or in the right-hand margin. You also see them on various websites — they’re the ads with the bold blue titles.

A pay-per-click (PPC) ad is designed to get the user to click on the title and go to the advertiser’s site.

Let’s look at a search marketing ad:

Orthopedic Shoes
We are your orthopedic specialists.
Free shipping through April!


Here’s how the elements of the ad breakdown:

TITLE, OR HEADLINE: Orthopedic Shoes (25-character limit)

DESCRIPTION LINE 1: We are your orthopedic specialists. (35-character limit)

DESCRIPTION LINE 2: Free shipping through April! (35-character limit)

DISPLAY URL: orthopedic_shoes.com (35-character limit)

The title should always feature text that’s reasonably close to the keyword that the user has typed into the search engine — for this example, the user has probably typed in something like “orthopedic shoes” or “orthopedic shoes online.”

The best descriptions emphasize the advertiser’s unique benefits: a specific bargain or offer, a specialty, an advantage that competitors don’t offer.

The display URL exists because many URLs are too long for a search results page. For example:


The display URL would abbreviate that to something like:


or maybe:


In future posts, we’ll explore in more depth how to write good PPC ads.

« What Is PPC?
How to Write a PPC Ad »

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