Search Engine Strategies 2007: Day One (Search Advertising 101)

By Stephanie M. Cockerl, CEO of NextSteph for
Day One Recap: Search Advertising 101
It is day one of Search Engine Strategies in New York City. Dana Todd of SiteLab International Inc. and Matt Van Wagner of FindMeFaster were on hand to explain the ABC’s of Search Engine Marketing (SEM)/Pay Per Click(PPC).
Most of the audience had less than 1 year experience in SEM. Below are relevant key points for small business to consider when they are thinking about and/or in the process of running SEM campaigns
Where do paid ads appear?
There was a review of what listings are typically paid versus what listings are possibly organic. Paid Search results are typically on the top and to the right hand side of search engine results. Organic or natural results are typically in the body of the left hand side of the search results.
Getting Started:
Establish goals for your campaign. Is the goal of your campaign branding, or is the goal more sales or leads. It is important to establish this from the beginning to set the tone of the campaign.
If a small business does not have the time and/or experience to implement a SEM campaign(s) it is recommended that they work with a SEM professional to set it up and train, and then have an intern or staff maintain the account.
Implementing and Managing a Budget:
It is important to establish a monthly budget, which will break down to a daily budget. The search engines typically spend 20% to 30% less that the recommended budget, so it important to monitor and increase the budget for balance. If you establish a daily budget of $25 spend $30 dollars one day and $20 the next, it will average out.
Billing and Payment:
Advertisers have to options of being billed via Credit Card or by invoice.
Ads and Destination Pages:
Text Ads and destination pages (commonly known as Landing Pages) need to be relevant in the Tier 1 Engines (Google, Yahoo, MSNÖ) This is known as the Hybrid Model. If the ad is not deemed relevant by the editorial boards, the advertiser could be penalized for it by paying higher cost-per-click or by having a lower ad position ranking.
On the other hand, the traditional model typically done by engines such as (Ask, LookSmart), where ranking is consider by bid.
Keyword Maintenance:
Advertisers should focus on specific keywords that are 2 to 3 phases. For example a “dell notebook 14″ monitor” is more specific than “notebook computer”. The more specific the keyword, the more likely the searcher is committed to click.
It was emphasized that advertisers should keep keywords organized in buckets. They are known as AdGroups in Google and Yahoo and Orders in MSNAdCenter (Microsoft).
Advertiser should group keywords related by semantics or by product categories
The 20/80 rule states that only 20% of paid keywords will generate volume, so it is important to focus on that 20% and pause and/or delete keywords that are not being viewed.
Speaking about organization, it is also recommended that advertisers do a cleaning of their SEM campaign(s) at least quarterly. Websites do change and landing pages mysteriously disappear, which as causing leaks to SEM budgets.
GeoTargeting and DayParting:
Advertisers should also take advantage of targeting locally. If a business serves a specific region or metropolitan area, it probably does not make sense to target nationally or globally. If a business in not open on the weekends, does it make sense to have the SEM campaigns running?
Track Conversion:
There are 25% of businesses that still do not track conversion. Conversion is an important metric in order to determine the cost per acquisition (lead or sale).
The important thing for small businesses to think about when they are considering advertising in the search engines is not only how much money can you spend per month. One cannot just set-up a campaign and forget about it. The question to be asked is do they have the resources and time to maintain and cultivate the campaign(s) from the seeds of keywords to the fruits sales and/or leads.