Google AdWords remains the 10,000 pound gorilla of pay per click (PPC) advertising, despite a lot of bad press from marketers who received the “Google slap” (i.e. their ads were rejected or their costs greatly increased due to violation of some Google policy or another, real or perceived).
It’s claim to fame is its incredible reach, since Google is such a widely used search engine. Entire businesses have been built solely around Google PPC advertising.
One immediate caution for newcomers to PPC advertising however: Expect to spend some money learning how to do it right. It is not an advertising method to approach lightly, and it is one where mistakes can be costly if you’re not tracking results and adjusting your ad campaigns accordingly.
With that caveat in mind, PPC advertising can represent a reliable traffic source for you.
PPC advertising is built around the concept of identifying keywords and keyword phrases that online searchers would use to locate your ad online. Then you create a series of ads built around the keywords your research turned up.
One of the best free sources for keyword research is Google’s own Keyword Tool. Two high quality commercial keyword research tools I’ve used and can recommend (once you feel you’ve outgrown the free tools) are Wordtracker and Affportal.
But if you’re just learning about PPC advertising for the first time I would recommend you stick with the free tools for now. You can perform some very effective keyword research with Google’s Keyword Tool. Later if you feel you need the additional power of these paid services you can always upgrade.