Pay-per-click campaigns, or search engine marketing, have evolved significantly since PPC’s popularization 15 years ago. As search engine technology has improved, PPC advertising platforms have also improved, with many new features and changes. These courses cover the basics of PPC as well as changes to the ad platforms—namely Google Adwords.
AdWords is the most popular PPC advertising platform on the market. Last year an internal Google document revealed that AT&T Mobile spent nearly $82 million buying ads on Google search engine results pages (SERPs). You might not have that budget, but clearly Google is important when it comes to digital advertising. Luckily, it offers its very own free tutorials so you can get the most out of your investment.
The Google AdWords free materials include three levels of online marketing courses (equivalent to three hours of “class” time), a five-step checklist for your campaign, and some expert tips. The tutorials are self-paced so you can set up your own campaign as you go through each step ensuring that you never miss a click. It also offers a certification process, but that requires an exam fee.
PPC University is designed to meet online advertisers right where they are in their experience. Its three levels of courses go from beginner (named AdWords for Dummies) through optimization/best practices and into advanced strategies. If you have ever wondered what terms like CRO or A/B testing or re-marketing mean, you’ll be able to get a thorough understanding within these three courses as well as a lot of additional relevant information.
PPC Uni also offers search-marketing webinars, PPC analysis, and an entire library of e-books, guides, and white papers that could help you perfect your search marketing presence and advance your capabilities, all for free.
Lynda isn’t a free course, per se, but there is a free trial you can take advantage of to get your feet wet in its extensive Pay-Per-Click Fundamentals course. The free trial is a great way to see if the course is a good fit for your needs and review the topics it will cover before laying down the dough. A basic month-to-month membership is only $25 per month, or $250 paid annually if you decide to move forward.
The benefit of this course is that it is video based. Over 5,000 people have taken the PPC course through Lynda, which walks students through the development, launch, measurements, and optimization of PPC ad campaigns with visuals and provided notes.
PPC Blog’s Essential AdWords Techniques offer you step-by-step tutorials focused on specific questions and concerns like “The Big Reason You’re Not Getting Content Network Traffic” and “The 5 Secret Keys to Understanding PPC.” It also provides free access to time-saving tools, including keyword list generators, ad generators, calculators for testing, and more, which are all available through its training page.
Get all you need to know to get started with PPC in Context from SEO Book. This is a great overview for beginners who are wondering what PPC is, how to make it work for them, and want some good starter-tips for jumping into the paid search deep end. This resource will get you started and take you through the first steps necessary to tailor your ads and start to see results. If you are also doing the SEO side of your marketing efforts, SEO Book offers a complete training course on keywords and will send you an industry newsletter with up-to-date information and industry changes that will affect your work.
MarketMotive has an extended, 10-course system that comes with an industry-recognized certification. This is the course for those who want a self-paced option for learning everything from PPC to mobile, content, SEO, analytics, conversion, display, and more. It offers weekly live webinars and prerecorded webinars to access whenever you need them.
The MarketMotive PPC tactics and strategies course covers match types, writing ad copy, ad extensions, campaigns, understanding quality score, and using the tools available to you for complete optimization. If you are a member, you get access to every course it has available and its moderated forum for questions that pop up with your campaigns. MarketMotive is $299 per month. If your self-pace is decent, you are getting a great deal compared to the multi-thousand-dollar PPC conferences that are out there.
SEC offers both a pay-per-click starter course and a PPC advanced course, as well as copywriting for PPC and other trainings. The option to upgrade the course to a certification is available for those who want to frame their “Course Complete” certificate or pad their CV. Each class is priced separately at $99 monthly. Certification adds credentials plus tutoring for $295 per class.
There are a lot of options out there for free or inexpensive PPC training that will take you from a foundational knowledge of PPC into advanced strategies and best practices. Find the one to get started that suits your needs the best and works within your budget. You can always upgrade as you need to learn more. The industry has consistent updates and changes so your strong foundation in PPC basics is the best training you can get. From there, keep up on what the major search engines are doing with algorithm changes and new tool features in order to optimize campaigns on which you work.