A pay per click search engine sells paid listings based on a price charged for each person that clicks on an ad. For example, an advertiser may pay $.05 for each click to his listing. This type of paid listing allows advertisers to have listings at the top of search engine results pages or at least positioned more prominently on the page than may have been possible with just a regular listing in the search engine. This can translate into more visitors to the advertiser's website, and in the best of cases, more sales.
The whole concept behind pay per click search engines is that advertisers pay each time a person clicks on the company's listing. Since pay per click search engines are in the business to make money, they generally offer higher or more prominent placement to advertisers who pay more per click. Pay per click search engine listings can become expensive when a lot of people click on an advertiser's ad. However, the idea is that at least some of the clickers will buy the advertiser's products or services, allowing him to recoup his advertising costs and earn a profit.
Google operates one of the most popular pay per click search engine programs. Called Google AdWords, this program allows advertisers to purchase paid listings that allow them to gain exposure, no matter where they would normally have ranked in Google's search engine results. Advertisers choose keywords and keyphrases to target and agree to pay up to a certain amount for each click. When an Internet user searches for those keyphrases or keywords, the ad shows up on the search results page and the advertiser has the chance to catch the attention of the searcher.
Google AdWords doesn't limit the pay per click method to the search engine results pages. It also places advertisements on websites that have content related to the advertiser's products or services. When a web surfer visits such a site and clicks on the advertiser's ad, he goes to the advertiser's website. In return, the advertiser pays for the click.
Besides Google, there are other pay per click search engine programs advertisers may use. Overture, Espotting.com, FindWhat.com, and Kanoodle are among them. Each pay per click search engine may have something to offer in terms of potential exposure and pricing, so advertisers should carefully research their options before getting started on a pay per click campaign. They should also consider their budgets carefully, as paying for clicks is no guarantee of making a profit. Some advertisers get a lot of clicks and spend a good deal of money on them but get few sales.