Okay, I'm gonna lay a few things out here before I get into my guide. I know there are a tonne of BS merchants on the forum and some of you might just look at this thread and think. What a tard, douche, tosser, knob - depends which side of the pond you live on really, pick your favourite retort. To be honest, I had a mornings downtime from copywriting so thought I'd write about something I know a little about. I'm not rich, you won't see me quaffing 50 champagne down my local wine bar. What PPC did however, was pay for my house. A pretty run of the mill semi-detached house in the middle of England. Like I said, not rich but doing okay. I'm not a guru, I spent hours f&^king up in the early years and by sheer luck managed to find a niche that worked and way of laying everything out that seems to convert okay. PPC is a transient thing, campaigns come and go which means you need to keep an eye over trends and know when to pack up a campaign and move on. Getting rich in PPC is mostly about being in the right place at the right time. One day I'll crack something huge but until then I just have to keep waiting, that's the name of the game really. Why Adwords Anyway? Well, it really depends on which side of the fence you play on. Many don't like Adwords because of the cash outlay upfront whilst others love the immediacy of the whole thing. You can be up and drawing traffic in 30 minutes. And it's this fact, that can really screw your account and bank balance over! So, I thought I'd drop a few lines here, partly to showcase my mad writing skills (No seriously, they're epic, right?) and partly because PPC is something I do know about that seems to be a bit of a blind spot on BHW. So here goes. Setting Up Your Adwords Account and Turning a Profit I'm gonna assume you have an Adwords and Bing Adcenter account setup. It takes about 10 minutes to open one so I'll just leave that to you. The Early Days, Traffic and Few Conversions The first thing to do, is get a seed list of keywords you want to bid on. The reason I call it a "seed list", is because the keywords you have at the start, will look completely different to those you'll have after a few months. The reason? You have absolutely no idea what keywords work, which ones are a complete waste of space and you haven't discovered those diamond keywords, the ones that cost little to run yet endlessly result in conversions. However, the only way to discover these keywords is to run your account at a loss for a few weeks. How I Setup the Early Account Depending on the niche, I'll likely start with a handful of keyword; anywhere between 50 and 100 is probably about right. You'll want to set all keywords to "Broad Match" and do one of two things. Create a negative keyword list with obvious things you don't want to rank for. Watch your early account like a hawk and instantly neg match anything bad out. The reason you want to do this is because Adwords is all about two things. The specific keyword CTR. The account CTR. Yes, sure, landing pages mean something early on, (And I'll cover that) but once your account is a few weeks old, CTR is everything. With this in mind, the first weeks of your new Adwords campaign should go like this. Create a decent landing page (I'll cover this later) Create the seed keyword list. Run the account slowly at first. Watch the account hourly, adding bad keywords to your negative list and looking for keyword sets that are beginning to covert well. Always add conversion tracking to your Adwords account and watch to see your CPC (Cost Per Click) lower gradually as the CTR improves. The Green Shoots After a few weeks, you'll have probably burned through a couple of hundred Dollars. I know, it's a scary thing and many people run at the sight of so much cash leaving their account. However, you now have one thing that's worth more than all the hundreds of Dollars in the world. In a nutshell, you have Data You've proven that certain sets of keywords work well and you've also proven that other keywords are lame ducks just waiting for you to shoot them down! It's at this point, you'll want to pause your campaign for the day and start making some changes. All keywords that turned a profit = Check the ranking and attempt to give them a Top 5 position without breaking the bank. All keywords that got clicks but never converted = Delete them and also add them to the negative list. Keywords that got small amounts of traffic but converted to a very high level = Bang those keywords right up to position 1 and enjoy the sales! After you've done this your account should do a number of things. CTR should be scandalously high, hopefully over 2% if things are going good. CPC should come right down as the CTR settles in nicely. Profitability should jump up, preferably 200% ROI. At this point, you're likely to be still discovering keywords that work. In this case simply keep deleting the chaff and either boosting the wheat to position 5+ and position 1 where the traffic is slow but conversions are high. Landing Pages Personally, I tend to keep my landing pages simple. I don't use WordPress or anything else, just simple PHP / CSS. There are some important tips to follow however: Create a new page for every keyword, either by hand or by using the [GET] code in PHP to dynamically render keywords. Have your sales link / booking form / lead gen form on every page. Create a Privacy and Terms page, Adwords loves that. Add analytics and conversion tracking to everything, data is vital to PPC success! Keeping Your Keywords Safe Sadly, in some niches, people will try and discover the keywords you're working with to try and gain an upper hand. The worst thing in the world is to discover a killer keyword, only to have some other guy search your site and discover your newly found gem! To keep things safe, it's best to think like the owner of a freshly minted PBN, the basic concept is exactly the same. Add robots.txt to block everything from your site. It's okay, Adwords will still crawl your site but it stops your specific keyword landers from being found. Why do I say for you to block everything? Well, the number of times people have been smart enough to block Google, whilst forgetting Duck Duck Go - think outside the box because people like me will discover your sensitive shit. Avoid using specific merchant data / words on your site. This is a tough ask, especially if you work in the finance or legal arena. However, one way I've used to discover other affiliates is to search for specific things located in the terms & conditions page, something no affiliate can leave out unless they want to upset their merchant! Once again, block the hell out of everything with robots.txt! Avoid the head term. When I say head term, I mean the absolute head term that all people in your niche will be familiar with. We're talking "car insurance", "payment protection claim", "homeowner loans", "payday loans" - that type of thing. Although this won't protect you from the serious marketers, it will give you a little rest bite from every noob who goes around clicking adverts on page one to see what's up. Just add the head terms to your negative list and move on, head terms are notoriously poor converters anyway! Keep an eye on websites like Spyfu - To be honest these PPC research sites are mostly rubbish and don't work. However, it doesn't stop people using them! Keep a regular eye on what data shows up when you search for your own website and don't be scared to switch sites when the data directly correlates with what's actually working for your site! Once your old site is dead nobody will find the URL which means nobody will search Spyfu for it, your keywords will be safe!