Did you know that 97% of Google’s revenue comes from online pay-per-click advertising? That means that all the extravagant things found on the Googleplex – like swim-in-place pools, hair salons, volleyball courts, gourmet restaurants, toys, the flamingo-filled dino statue, putting green and presumably way more – are funded by you. (At least in part.)

So what keywords cost the most? (And help pay for all the fun things you wish you had in your office?) The top 10 most expensive Google keywords are:

  1. Insurance
  2. Loans
  3. Mortgage
  4. Attorney
  5. Credit
  6. Lawyer
  7. Donate
  8. Degree
  9. Hosting
  10. Claim

If you’re interested in using any of these keywords in your own PPC campaigns, be prepared to pay a high cost per click & for lots of competition for first page ranking. While you can bid on some keywords for just 5 cents, the keywords listed above cost about $50 per click.

On an annual basis, the average small business spends between $100k to $120k just on paid search. Major corporations can spend up to $50 million annually.

Even if you’re spending HALF of what the average small business spends on paid search annually, you’re spending a ton of money. If the keywords you’re investing aren’t making money for you getting you clicks – a lot of clicks – you’re wasting enough money to hire a new employee, go all out at a major trade show or buy a Lexus.

Here are a few things you can do to make sure you’re making the most of your PPC investments and making money for you & not Google:

Look at Keyword Difficulty. Essentially, keyword difficulty will help you determine how “worth it” a keyword is. Several things factor into ranking a keyword’s difficulty: number of people bidding on that keyword, the cost per click and the number of people actually search that keyword/phrase.

The higher the keyword difficulty ranking, the harder it will be for you to rank on the first page. If you’re thinking of investing in a keyword with a high difficulty ranking, be ready to shell out the big bucks for (possibly) little result. Or, consider picking a different keyword.

Use a negative keyword tool. According to Google AdWord’s help page, a negative keyword is, “a type of keyword that prevents your ad from being triggered by a certain word or phrase. It tells Google not to show your ad to anyone who is searching for that phrase.” Negative keywords can help you optimize your ad spend by ensuring that only viewers who are actually interested in you, your company and your products or services and not products or services that may be similar to, but not the same as, yours.

Track effectiveness. There are three basic things you should measure in order to track the effectiveness of your keywords so they start making money for you. Start with getting a high-level performance overview by monitoring the ranking of the webpages you’re using the keywords to promote. PPC is more of a spring than a marathon, so you should see pretty immediate results.

To track the number of unique visitors that are coming to your promoted webpages, use Google Analytics. (It’s free – more money for more keywords!) You can find this info on the main overview page, under ‘% New Sessions.’ You can keep track of where your traffic is coming from by going under the ‘Acquisition’ tab and then to ‘All Traffic.’

Finally, use call tracking to prove your ROI. By attaching a call tracking number to each of your PPC ads, you can track the number of phone calls received according to the keyword that was searched to get the user to your ad. You can also track which of those phone call result is good leads (versus leads that aren’t such a great fit), how many sales are made and how much revenue is generated as a result of those sales (and as a result of the keywords).

Don’t let the potential high cost of pay-pay-click advertising prevent you from harnessing its power. By selecting the right keywords, ensuring your ads don’t come up for irrelevant searches and tracking your efforts, online advertising will be making money for you as well as Google.