Best Practice

Paid Search Marketing (PPC) - Best Practice Guide: Paid Search Basics

By Econsultancy,

This section of Econsultancy's newly-updated Paid Search Marketing (PPC) Best Practice Guide covers the basics of paid search.

Built on the foundations of our previous report, this document has been created and updated using insight, tips, strategies and tactics from those working every day in the paid search field and generating profits for their clients.

This guide contains actionable, real-world insight with detailed explanations to help you start and improve your performance within paid search.

Topics covered in this section

Areas covered in this section include:

  • What is paid search marketing?
  • The market context for paid search
  • Recent developments in paid search
  • Key terminology
  • Identifying search volumes
  • Opportunities and challenges
  • Paid search success factors
  • Keyword level efficiency controls, including cost-per-click and Quality Score
  • Campaign level effectiveness controls

As well as this section, the guide is available in its entirety as a 300+ page report, or in six other individual sections. See the main report page for details.

Contributing authors

This guide has been put together and updated by James Gurd, an experienced digital marketing consultant and owner of Digital Juggler, with the assistance of leading agencies and practitioners working at the coal face of paid search. They have kindly contributed their time and effort in producing this guide.

This section is the work of James Gurd.

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
    1. Features of this guide
    2. About Econsultancy
    3. About the contributors
  2. Paid Search Basics
    1. What is paid search marketing?
    2. Market context for paid search
    3. Recent developments in paid search
      1. Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance
      2. Enhancements to Universal Search
      3. Google encrypted search
      4. Google Knowledge Graph
      5. Google Shopping moves to a paid search model
      6. Changes to Google AdWords
      7. Google launches Enhanced Campaigns
    4. Key terminology
      1. SEM (Search Engine Marketing)
      2. SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages)
      3. PPC (Pay Per Click)
      4. Google Quality Score
      5. CPC (Cost Per Click)
      6. CTR (Click-through Rate)
      7. ROAS (Return On Ad Spend)
      8. ROI (Return On Investment)
      9. Landing page
      10. Sitelinks
    5. The 95 characters that changed advertising history
    6. Why detail matters in paid search
    7. Identifying search volumes
    8. Opportunities and challenges
      1. So what’s the big challenge?
      2. Increasing competition
      3. Balancing SEO and paid search
      4. The relationship between brand and generic keywords
      5. Making the most of content networks
      6. Learning what works
    9. Paid search success factors
      1. Which factors control the success of your paid search campaigns?
    10. Keyword level efficiency controls including cost-per-click and Quality Score
      1. Cost-per-click (CPC)
      2. Quality-based positioning
      3. Keyword matching criteria
      4. Creative
      5. Landing page
      6. Use of content network
      7. Time of day
      8. Position in sponsored listings
    11. Campaign level effectiveness controls
      1. Return on investment goals
      2. Search engine networks used
      3. Keyphrase analysis and targeting
      4. Campaign structure
      5. Budget allocation
      6. Listing position and bidding strategies
      7. Campaign integration strategy
    12. Where do I start?
      1. The natural or organic listings
      2. The paid or sponsored listings
      3. Content network listings
    13. Types of paid search marketing
      1. Content network paid search advertising
      2. Paid for directory inclusion
      3. Pay-per-call
      4. Shopping comparison engines
  3. Acknowledgements
    1. Lead author
    2. Expert contributors

free sample of the report is available to those who want to know more.


  • Pdf SAMPLE: Paid Search Marketing (PPC) - Best Practice Guide (1.01 MB PDF)
  • Pdf Disabled Paid Search Marketing (PPC) - Best Practice Guide: Paid Search Basics (1.69 MB PDF)

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