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Unfortunately there is no way to see what competition is paying, so in most cases it's a bit of a duck hunt in beginning. I suggest starting out with a MAX CPC slightly higher than you would normally, this will give you a slightly higher ranking and increase your chances of accumulating clicks. If your ad performs really well your rank will increase. As you begin to establish a good click through rate (CTR) you can adjust your max CPC to reflect position you wish to obtain. (See part one of this article to find out how Google ranks ads.)
Creating your ads for Overture With Overture, writing perfect ad is slightly different than with AdWords. Overture only allows you to create one ad per keyword, so this takes away option of trying out various ads and going with obvious winner, however, basis for creating your initial ad remains virtually same. After you have selected your target market and main keywords, write a specific ad targeting each individual keyword and be sure to include keyword in title or beginning of main body text along with a call to action phrase or something that is sure to draw attention. Remember to check status of your ads on a weekly basis, and tweak as needed. Keep and eye on your click through rate and regularly tweak poorly performing ads
Determining your Max Cost Per Click with Overture Deciding how much to spend on Overture is simple. Take a look at what competition is spending, and out bid them. With Overture you should always try to be in top 3 if you wish to have your ad dispersed among partner sites. (Yahoo, Lycos, MSN, etc). If number 1 spot is currently paying 25 cents per click you need only bid 26 cents to grab number 1 spot. If you want number one spot, but are also willing to pay more, you can bid 40 cents, and will only be charged 26 cents. One penny above competition. Keep in mind though, if someone else increases their bid, your actual cost will also increase up to max CPC you have entered.
Managing an AdWords or Overture PPC campaign can be confusing at first, but it doesn't take long to get a handle on what works. Creating a highly successful ad first time around with either AdWords or Overture is a rare occurrence, but with a bit of regular maintenance and a well targeted campaign it won't take long to start seeing results.
Scott Van Achte is a Search Engine Optimization Professional and PPC Manager at StepForth Search Engine Placement Inc. Based in Victoria, BC, Canada. You can read more of Scott's articles and those of the StepForth team at http://news.stepforth.com or contact us at http://www.stepforth.com/ Tel - 250-385-1190 Toll Free - 877-385-5526 Fax - 250-385-1198