Organic search can be a little steep for startups to break into reality. Once established, great websites can make it somewhat difficult for you and your business to find your niche. However, this should not limit you. A possible alternative could be turning to Pay-Per-Click or PPC to try and compete with established firms. So what exactly is PPC and how does it work?


Pay-Per-Click is a form of advertisement where customers pay for every click. This results from their ‘preferential’ treatment compared to organic search. Websites that pay for clicks appear above or under the organic searches on the first page. PPC can present a unique opportunity for startups. Startups should try leveraging on it to grow. While the name suggests that you pay, money is not everything in PPC.

The most important thing is the ad rank. Measure the ad rank by multiplying your Maximum CPC by your quality score (maximum CPC × quality score). For example, we have two companies seeking for their ads to show when a relevant search query posted on search engines. As the space available for PPC ads is limited, the search engine can only show one. The two companies are a fortune 500 company, let’s say G Traders and your startup, A Limited. Sounds scary? It does not have to be.

G Traders chooses to have a maximum CPC of $5 while A Limited decides to have a maximum CPC of $3. Since the bid for G Traders is higher, you’d assume their business should show up at your expense. While this can happen, further consideration of the quality score of both sites needs to happen.

Let us say G Traders gets a quality score of 4 while A Limited gets a quality score of 8. As mentioned earlier, the add rank is obtained by finding the product of the maximum CPC by the quality score. For G traders, its ad rank is given by maximum CPC($5) × the website’s quality score (4). This will provide you with an ad rank of 20. For A Limited, its ad rank is provided by maximum CPC ($3) × quality score (8), and this will give you an ad rank of 24. The ad rank of the fortune 500 company will be 20 while that of the startup 24. Therefore, the site of your business is chosen at the expense of the fortune 500 company.

One of the most reliable and efficient ways is using AdWords. The Google-owned platform enables bidding on keywords, and those that get clicks are supposed to pay for each click they receive. Your ads get to show up on Google platforms provided you are paying from your reserved funds.

Once a search query is taking place, Google quickly combs through the AdWords advertisers and chooses the winners who will then show valuable space on the results page. The winners are selected based on the computation seen earlier. The quality score is obtained by determining the quality of your landing pages, the relevance of your paid ads for the search and your CTR or the click-through rate.

Before starting a CPC campaign, it is vital you get your planning right. These essential tips should help you leverage on PPC effectively.


1. Have goals for your campaign

Having goals is key to the success of any advertising campaign. Therefore, establish your target audience, the results you are seeking and how you will determine that you are achieving your goals.

Designing a campaign around these should set you up for success on PPC. After all, you are paying hence it is vital that you get value for money.

2. Make your work easy.

How? You would ask. It is quite simple, make your campaign structure relevant and straightforward. Keep your ad text pertinent to keywords you are paying for and make your campaign manageable since you will be operating it almost every day.

3. Google AdWords

You ought to know how to use the platform. As the platform shows results in a wide range of Google platforms and those of their partners, opting out of some can be great for your business. For example, the Display Network may show you on thousands of different sites.

While this can lead to better leads, it may deplete your reserves fast. Once your startup picks up, you may reconsider this and learn how to leverage on it effectively.

Localization like by specifying your business area, using local languages and local directories can also generate better leads for your startup. Ensure you set all your campaigns for your geographical location. You ought to also leverage on mobile by making your ads mobile-friendly.


While organic search can prove challenging for startups to break into, they stand a chance with PPC. Therefore, knowing how it works and how to get the best out of it for your startup is essential. Great paid ads can generate new customers faster which will help your startup to grow.

Senior Marketing Analyst
With over 6 years of marketing experience, Allen is able to help guide clients through the sometimes complicated nether of digital marketing options. He prides himself in being able to match all of his clients with the perfect service offering for them. Allen spends his weekends with his wife and 3 dogs, and is known for throwing great barbeques!