Definition

Search engine where results are ranked according to the bid amount, and advertisers are charged when a searcher clicks on the search listing.

Information

Advertisers supply the following details:
listing – includes title, description, and URL.
keywords – the keywords that apply to the listing.
bids – amount paid per click (varies by keyword).

When a search is performed, the first search engine listing is the one with the highest bid for that keyword. The ranking of listings continues from highest to lowest bids. A higher ranking generally brings more traffic.

Critics claim that PPC search results are not useful in finding information. The claim is often made that paid results are tainted and contrary to the very essence of the Web.

Proponents of PPC search maintain that the free market is effective in bringing the best results to the top, at least for commercial searches. In theory, the highest bids will be held by the best companies for each keyword, because a company’s ability to bid is determined largely by its conversion rate.

From a marketing perspective, it is important to determine which PPC search engines generate sufficient quality and quantity of visitors for a particular product category.

Synonyms

PPC search engine

Related Terms

click-through, cost-per-click (CPC), pay per click (PPC)

view all terms in the Search Engine Marketing glossary or all terms in the Digital Marketing glossary

Sites

Marketing Terms : Tools : PPC Search & Social Advertising

Webmaster World : Pay Per Click Engines
discussion of topics related to PPC search engines

Articles

A Guide to the New Pay-Per-Search Scene
ClickZ (May 30, 2002)

Studying Pay-for-Position Campaign Results
ClickZ (December 13, 2000)

Paid Search Links Push for a Piece of the Pie
ClickZ (December 6, 2000)

Dare to Be Noticed: Pay-for-Performance Search
ClickZ (October 3, 2000)

With Search Engines, Money Talks
ClickZ (June 15, 2000)

Paid Search Results Are Here to Stay
Traffick (March 27, 2000)