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Best of 2007: Articles and Blog Posts on SEM


Search engine marketing (SEM) is one of the fastest-growing categories in all of advertising, because it is both measurable and logical: present your ads when people are searching for what you're selling. A well-crafted search marketing program can provide not only broad brand exposure at a very reasonable cost (with CPMs of $10 or less), but also high-ROI lead generation. As with any other type of advertising, however, a poorly-designed campaign will be a disappointing waste of money.

In addition to best practices in search engine marketing, the following articles and blog posts were among the best of 2007 at providing helpful guidance for creating and managing effective search marketing programs.

Five Common Paid Search Mistakes That Can Sink Your Campaign by Search Engine Guide

Blogger Jennifer Laycock explains how common mistakes such as "ego bidding," writing a single ad for all keywords, and directing all of your traffic to a single landing page can limit the results of a search marketing program—and how to fix these and other problems.

Top 10 Reasons to Double Your Search Budget for '08 by ClickZ

Writer Kevin Lee gives ten reasons to dramatically increase search spending, including the growth in search volume, recognition that online campaigns drive both direct and offline behavior, and keyword price escalation (due the increasing popularity of this medium).

What do you mean I have a budget? by DMNews

Following on the theme of the previous article, this piece emphasizes consideration of revenue generation when establishing—or increasing—a search marketing budget. In the words of the author, "You need to set three key metrics on the way to managing by revenue: required margin per sale; close and conversion rates; and affordable CPC. These numbers can change dramatically from day to day, so manage and adjust them."

Ten Tips for Lead Generation Landing Pages by TopRank Online Marketing Blog

Guest blogger Jon Miller of Marketo points out that "improving your landing pages can increase your conversions by 40% or more...(and) optimized landing pages work even better—as high as 200% improvements in conversion rates" and then offers ten tips for designing more effective landing pages.

Use These 5 Steps to Triple Your Conversion Rate by Tropical SEO

Applicable to both SEO and SEM, this post provides five (well, four really) tips to significantly improve the conversion of site visitors to buyers or leads including conducting a site audit, rewriting selected content, and of course testing everything.

AdReady, Another Low-Cost Display Ad Shop, Opens by Online Media Daily

AdReady is a new service that aims to "democratize" search marketing by making it more accessible and affordable for smaller businesses. Per the article, "AdReady allows advertisers to pick and customize remarkably professional-looking ads for free. The AdReady application...then allows marketers to manage and track the progress of their ads across Google's AdSense ad network, Yahoo's RightMedia exchange, and AOL's Advertising.com network."

Evaluating Client Search Marketing Readiness by TopRank Online Marketing Blog

Master blogger Lee Odden supplies a list of questions to ask and factors to consider before embarking on a search marketing program. Though aimed at corporate marketing types looking to engage an agency, the criteria here apply just as well to search experts who are evaluating potential clients as well as corporate marketing managers evaluating their own internal programs and talent.

PPC Outsource or In-House? Rules of Thumb by The Rimm-Kaufman Group

In this post, blogger George Michie lays out a complex process for determining whether your company is best served by keeping search marketing in-house or outsourcing to an SEM agency. A useful guide, though the statement that "Outsourcing without any oversight is dangerous. Too many agencies will do nothing without oversight to drive them." seems somewhat odd; you should NEVER outsource SEM without ongoing reporting and analysis as part of the service offering. And that reporting can help make the key decision question much simpler: does the agency produce better results than you can achieve internally?

RIP, PPC by ClickZ

Author Gary Stein argues that click fraud, the rise of alternative online media, and CPA models will cause pay-per-click (PPC) advertising models, "the bright star of the online advertising universe...to fade a bit." Interesting theory, but overstated; the next few years are likely to see increasing investment across multiple forms of online promotion at the expense of difficult-to-measure and increasingly fragmented media like TV and print.

Pay Per Click: Boom or Bust? by Buzz Marketing for Technology

Podcaster Paul Dunay hosts an interesting debate between Steve Rubel—who claims that a PPC recession is looming—and Alan Rimm-Kaufman, who takes a more bullish view.

Evaluating Existing PPC Accounts by the Commerce360 Blog

Blogger Craig Danuloff offers helpful advice for evaluating the quality of existing PPC campaigns.

Dave to ad agencies: Do your homework or get out of my office by DMNews

After detailing the results of a recent study showing that "One hundred percent of the survey respondents stated that the most important factor governing their selection of a marketing services agency was its ability to provide insights into their customers...But here's the scandalous part: Eighty-five percent of the survey respondents believe that the agencies pitching them do a lousy job of researching their basic business issues before making their pitch. Astonishingly, 61 percent believe that the agency did no research at all," author Dave Pasternack produces a devastating but eye-opening critique of (many) marketing agencies. Then he offers advice on how SEM clients and agencies can work most productively together.

Landing Page Optimization by MarketingExperiments

An excellent post presenting two detailed case studies on how landing page optimization increased conversion rates by 50-60%.

Everything We Know About Search Is Wrong by MediaPost Search Insider

Writer Bob Heyman makes a compelling argument that search marketing gets too much credit for the "last click," which likely resulted not from search alone but rather from repeated brand exposure through PR, banners and other media first. "As an example, if a customer sees a banner promoting a product on Microsoft’s MSN and watches a related video on Time Warner Inc.’s AOL and then searches for the brand on Google before making a purchase, only Google gets paid for the sale."

Keyword Research for PPC by Internet Search Engine Database

In this article, Scott Van Achte lays out a process and toolset for crafting and fine-tuning a keyword list for SEM.

Previous articles in this series:

Best of 2007: SEO Analysis Tools
Best of 2007: SEO Keyword Research Tools
Best of 2007: News Articles on Social Media Marketing
Best of 2007: Blog Posts on Social Media Marketing

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Contact Tom Pick: tomATwebmarketcentralDOTcom

Comments

Anonymous said…
Tom,
Great post! I just forwarded it along to several colleagues. The laundry list of articles and posts is awesome. I just got finished reading the Top 10 Reasons to Double Your Search Budget for '08 by ClickZ and I think you will afree it is a great time to be an online marketer. Thanks again and I look forward to reading your posts in 08.
-Marketing Prowess, Editor
Tom Pick said…
Glad you found this useful, and hope you find the rest of the Best of 2007 series valuable as well. There are still several topic areas to be covered.

All Time Greats

Email Campaign, Newsletter and Banner Ad Click-Through Rates (CTR)

When planning online advertising and email promotion budgets, it's critical to calculate the likely ROI upfront whenever possible, as well as to establish campaign benchmarks. The first step is understanding the average and likely range of CTRs for various programs. The growth in online advertising, the proliferation of enewsletters, the emergence of new forms of information delivery such as RSS and the emergence of social media sites have all affected CTR, so planning based on current data is crucial.

It can be challenging to find current statistics, but based on several studies, these are typical CTR ranges for email newsletter ads, email campaigns (blasts or internally-produced enewsletters), and banner ads.

Email newsletter advertisements
Open rates range from 28-40%, with an average of about 33%—meaning that roughly one-third of the subscriber base is likely to see your ad. The Advertising Is Good For You blog tracks these statistics from DoubleClick.
The average CTR for indust…

Twitter Twaddle, Part 1: What Twitter Is and Why It's Cool

Most Web 2.0 sites fall into one of a few increasingly well-defined categories, such as social bookmarking (Digg, del.icio.us, Searchles), social networking (LinkedIn, Facebook) or file sharing (YouTube, Flickr, podOmatic). Twitter, however, stands alone. (Okay, there's also Pownce, but Twitter is better.)

Self-described as simply a real-time short messaging service and often referred to a microblogging platform, to those new to it, Twitter resembles nothing so much as a giant cocktail party where everyone talks at once and hopes others listen. You can tell who's important by how many "followers" that person has, though that's no guarantee anyone is really paying attention. People (or rather, Tweeple in the Twitter lexicon) can come and go without really being noticed, just like at a real (very, very large) gathering.

Twitter can be difficult to explain to those unfamiliar with it. Jennifer Laycock writes that Twitter is like Post-It notes; lots of them and in mu…

Twitter Twaddle, Part 2: Best Practices, Tools and The Future of Twitter

This is the second of a two-part series. Part one covered what Twitter is and why it's cool; this post discusses Twitter etiquette, tools, and speculation about its future.

How to Twitter Properly

Like any other social setting, Twitter has its own etiquette. This can be confusing to new users. (And, as you can see by spending more than a few minutes on Twitter, it's apparently elusive to many long-time users as well.) Margaret Mason has written an outstanding primer on Twitter etiquette, offering advice such as watch your ratio ("If only a few people follow you, but you follow a thousand or more, many people will assume you’re a spammer. That’s because you probably are. Go away, spammer."); never Twitter if you're drunk or high; and most importantly, "remember that everyone can hear you."

The brilliant Mike Volpe of HubSpot takes a different approach to offering his advice in 5 Things On Twitter That Annoy the Crap Out of Me. His practices-to-avoid incl…

ON24 Launches Virtual Tradeshow Platform with Real Potential

The concept of virtual tradeshows has been around since at least 2001. The appeal, to both exhibitors and attendees, is obvious. No travel costs. No lost productive time due to travel. No limit on the number of employees you can use to staff your booth or "send to the show." No need to limit the duration of the show to just a few days. No geographical boundaries (assuming you have a way to staff the odd hours). No environmental concerns. No panic because your booth staff flew to Chicago—but your booth ended up in Atlanta.

Yet in practice, uptake has been very slow. This is partly for cultural reasons (can I buy you a virtual drink?) but also because the technology has never quite delivered a user experience that's a viable substitute for physical presence. Now, the folks at ON24 believe they may have changed that. Their new Virtual Show platform combines the company's expertise in webcasting with rich graphics to create a compelling visual environment with useful tool…

Google and the Parable of the Turkey

In The Black Swan, Nassim Nicholas Taleb writes about the life of the turkey: for 100 days, the turkey is sheltered, fed and cared for by the farmer. The turkey grows to trust the farmer completely, even perhaps developing a fondness for the farmer (and of course the feed). Then, on the 101st day (with Thanksgiving quickly approaching), the relationship between the turkey and the farmer changes abruptly and permanently. The rationale behind the farmer's apparent benevolence become clear in a final flash before the turkey takes the necessary step preceding de-feathering, vacuum-packing, freezing and shipping off to the market.

Taleb's lesson for us from this: don't be a turkey. More succinctly, don't assume that the future will resemble the past, or, in the words of mutual fund prospectuses, "past performance is no guarantee of future results." Also, remember that there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Of course, that doesn't take into account the perspec…

WMC Interviews: Albert Maruggi

This week, I had the chance to sit down with Albert Maruggi, principal of St. Paul-based marketing agency Provident Partners (and huge baseball fan). His agency assists companies in a variety of industries in all areas of marketing, with particular expertise in PR, events management, integrated marketing and podcasting.

WebMarketCentral (WMC): What did you do before founding Provident Partners?

Albert Maruggi (AM): Worked in radio for a number of years. I was a television reporter and anchor. I also shot and edited video for news stations. I was a political reporter who made the jump to being a press secretary for a Member of Congress. From there I became Press Secretary for the Republican National Committee and then held public affairs management positions in the Bush '41 Administration.

WMC: How, when and why did Provident Partners get started?

AM: When I could not get my flight from LA to MN on September 11, 2001 I drove back home. I did a lot of thinking on that trip and I made tw…

SEO Link Spam - What Is It and Who's to Blame?

Over the years, unscrupulous black hat SEO scammers have used a variety of tricks—keyword stuffing, link farms, white text and others—to try to manipulate search results, and the algorithms used by Google, Yahoo and the other search engines have evolved to identify and squelch the effectiveness of such nefarious tactics.

A more vexing issue for the search engines is dealing with link spam, not only because it is difficult to detect and address algorithmically, but because there isn't even a clear definition. As a website owner, the term represents emails like this:


Dear webmaster,

As a part of ongoing campaign to increase the Link Popularity of My website I am looking for some good potential sites like yours. I review your site and find that, in SEO perspective your site is Perfect. Also, this would be a great resource for my visitors too.

I would request you to consider listing my site.

Title:- My Spammy Website
URL:- http://www.indiaspamforyou.com
Description:- miracle weight…

Top-Notch Digital Marketing Tip: Advertisements That Make Sense

Looking for some online marketing tips to grow your business? Well, you’ve come to the right digital marketing resource! Web Market Central has been doling out the proper DM advice for years. And as you already know, marketing to customers online is 100 times easier than using dated, expensive and traditional marketing tactics. Like seriously, who uses billboards in 2019?
But you already know how effective Digital Marketing can be in the modern age. So now that you're totally convinced of what you already knew, let’s give you today's top notch-digital marketing tip!
Advertisement Congruence If your business is running ads this is one of our most important online marketing tips! Ad congruence is when your ads and landing pages look alike or have the same message.
Have you ever clicked on an ad and been taken to a page that looked nothing like the ad?
When your ads look like the web pages they lead to, customers will feel like they are in the right place and will boost conversion rat…