Search Engine Marketing Guide

Search Engine Marketing for Associations and Nonprofits

What you need to know before integrating SEM into your marketing mix

Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)

PPC Advertising is a service offered through search engines. These search engines provide the opportunity for you to pay to have your website listed at the top of the results page, above or beside the main content area. Unlike organic search results, for PPC advertising, search engines place your results higher based upon your payment. The model for payment using this method is usually auction-based, where advertisers bid to be the highest result. This method can be quite costly at times, if you want to maintain your stance at the top of the search results.

The main player in this space is Google, with its Google AdWords program. Google has pioneered a “Quality Score” component to assist its ranking algorithm.

As Google says on its site, various factors are considered when measuring relevant keywords to your ad text as well as a user’s search. The Quality Score of the keyword is now updated with every search in relation to its performance in these searches. Higher Quality Scores result in a higher position in the paid search results and a lower cost-per-click (CPC).

Every time your keyword is clicked, the Quality Score of that word changes. There are many ways to use the Quality Score rating (according to Google), including:

  • influencing your keywords' actual cost-per-clicks (CPCs)
  • estimating the first page bids that you see in your account
  • determining if a keyword is eligible to enter the ad auction that occurs when a user enters a search query
  • affecting how high your ad will be ranked

When using PPC ads, there are three components to consider:

  • Landing pages: If you’re advertising something specific, don’t send people to your homepage and have them search your site to find the information they want. Having multiple pages on your site for specific searches lets users land on the page with the information they’re looking for.
  • Keywords: To get users clicking on your link in the first place, it has to have the keywords they want. Those keywords get your PPC link on the search because relevance is necessary for that to happen.
  • Ad text: Not only do keywords matter, but the content as a whole must be persuasive enough for users to click on the link.

Search Engine Marketing Guide by Keith Holloway at Envoke

About the Author

Keith Holloway is a founding partner of Envoke, an engagement campaign software company that operates a consulting division completely focused on search marketing. Wild Apricot is a (happy!) client of Envoke. He can be followed on Twitter @TorontoSEO.

Creative Commons Licence

Search Engine Marketing Guide by Wild Apricot and Envoke is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at

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