Pay-per-click refers to paid advertisements and promoted search engine results. This is a short-term form of digital marketing, meaning that once you are no longer paying, the ad no longer exists. Like SEO, PPC is a way to increase search traffic to a business online.
Pay-per-click can refer to the advertisements you see at the top and sides of a page of search results, the ads you see while browsing the web, ads before YouTube videos and in ads in mobile apps.
One of the other things that differentiates pay-per-click from SEO is that you only pay for the results. In a typical PPC model like a Google AdWords campaign, you will pay only when someone clicks on your ad and lands on your website. You can spend just about any amount of money on pay-per-click advertising. Some companies may see results from investing just a few hundred dollars, but plenty of large companies spend tens of thousands a month on pay-per-click.
How much it costs to run an ad or promote your search results will depend primarily on how much competition there is for your keywords. High competition keywords (i.e. keywords that many people are searching for and that many sites are trying to be found for) will be more expensive and lower competition terms will likely cost less.
When you set up a pay-per-click campaign, you will also be able to choose whether you want your ad or promoted results to be shown to users all over the world, or only within a specific geographic area. If you are marketing a brick-and-mortar business, this ability to tailor by location helps you not waste ad dollars serving ads to users who don’t live anywhere near your business, according to Google.