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How to Outsmart Your Competition in Premium PPC Markets

It wasn’t that long ago that you could achieve competitive rankings on search engines without having to spend a penny.  All it took was the right link-building strategies and some time commitment.  Sadly, those days are long gone.  If PPC and other online advertising efforts aren’t part of your digital marketing strategy, you’re unlikely to see the results you want these days.

Of course, with everyone and their mother entering the PPC marketplace, it can be understandably frustrating trying to bid for coveted keywords, which can quickly exceed your set budget.  This is especially true in premium PPC markets, where keywords and search terms regularly go for over $25.  Is there any way to nab the keywords you crave for less?  The answer is maybe.  With a few tips and tricks, you could just get premium keywords with less competition and lower rates.

Know Your Niche

The first thing you need to understand is that there are different markets for different types of keywords.  If you’re bidding for generic but highly searched terminology (like dentist, electronics, or coffee, for example) you’re likely out of your depth already.  You need to narrow and specify, and this means adding your name, location data, or other modifiers that refine searches and target a smaller audience.

This will reduce your competition, but create a more focused niche, likely resulting in smaller-scale, but more determined competitors for precise keywords.  The good news is, your small, local competitors are likely working with a budget similar to yours.  This means you have some opportunities to finesse your strategy to work around theirs.

Pay Attention to Ad Scheduling

With a little legwork, it’s easy to spot the holes in competitor strategies and capitalize on them.  This starts with tracking ad scheduling.  When do competitor ads show up for keywords on any given day?  Do they appear randomly, say every third or fourth time a keyword is searched?  Do they peter out early in the day?  Chances are, this has to do with their budget and how they’re scheduling ads to make the most of dedicated advertising dollars.

Suppose, for example, that your top competitor bids $25 for a contentious keyword, but only has a budget of $75 allocated for a day of advertising.  This means that after three ads, they’re done for the day.  While they can choose to spread their ads throughout the day or allow them to appear in rapid succession, when their budget is used up, Google will show ads for the next highest bidder (which could be you).

Remain Vigilant

Once you understand how your competitors are bidding and using their ad budgets, you can adjust your strategy accordingly.  If, for example, competitors are willing to bid high and blow their budget early in the day, and other competitors don’t catch on, you can get the same keywords at significantly less cost later in the day due to dwindling competition.  You’ll have to take the time to set up adjustments to your bidding schedule, or alternately, set up separate campaigns to split the day, but luckily, there are tools available to help you manage.

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