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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

Getting More Out of Each Click with "Post-Click Marketing"

With the economy now officially in a recession (as if we didn't know that), marketers are under increasing pressure to do more with less. On the interactive marketing side, few marketers will get budget increases enabling them to drive more clicks. The challenge, then, is to maximize marketing productivity—to get more leads out of the same number of clicks. This is the first of two posts that will look at how to improve conversion rates to get more value from each click. One answer to this challenge is provided by "post-click marketing," a.k.a. lead automation management vendors. While the specifics of each service vary, all of them essentially: automate the process of extracting visitor IP information from your log files; match the IP address to an organization; filter out ISPs; and map the company name to one or more external databases to provide additional information (company size, industry, key contacts etc.). The better services also use geo-location filte

The 8 Layers of a B2B Web Marketing Plan

One way to think about designing a B2B technology web marketing plan is as a series of layers, like an onion. At the core is SEO—simply making your website "findable" through organic search to buyers who are looking for what you offer. Working out from the center are concentric layers of additional investment and sophistication. Small companies and start-ups with modest budgets will focus most of their efforts on the inner layers or rings, which are primarily designed for lead generation. As the company and its marketing budget grow, efforts can be expanded to the outer layers, which are aimed more at branding but support lead generation efforts. Ideally, a company eventually reaches the outer layer where pure branding activities (such as print advertising) help to maximize the effectiveness of lead generation programs (such as SEM) near the center of the circle. This diagram shows how different types of web marketing programs can be prioritized in order to maximize the retur

Don't They Know Who You Are? Why Reputation Management is Critical

This content has been moved to Don’t They Know Who You Are? Why Reputation Management is Crucial on the Webbiquity blog. ***** technorati tags: Lee Odden, digital reputation management, Jon Rognerud, Guy Kawasaki, LookupPage, Google Knol, TechCrunch, YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr, Twitter, Wikio, Mixx, Digg, StumbleUpon, Wikipedia, Tim Young, Socialcast, LinkedIn, Facebook, Naymz, Jigsaw, Plaxo, ZoomInfo, CrunchBase, VisualCV, Scott Monty, Christopher Barger del.icio.us tags: Lee Odden, digital reputation management, Jon Rognerud, Guy Kawasaki, LookupPage, Google Knol, TechCrunch, YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr, Twitter, Wikio, Mixx, Digg, StumbleUpon, Wikipedia, Tim Young, Socialcast, LinkedIn, Facebook, Naymz, Jigsaw, Plaxo, ZoomInfo, CrunchBase, VisualCV, Scott Monty, Christopher Barger icerocket tags: Lee Odden, digital reputation management, Jon Rognerud, Guy Kawasaki, LookupPage, Google Knol, TechCru

Best of 2008: Social Media Optimization, Part 2

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Best of 2007: Web 2.0 Sites

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MarketingSherpa Releases 2008 Search Marketing Benchmark Guide

MarketingSherpa recently published its Search Marketing Benchmark Guide for 2008 , providing data on cost per click (CPC), conversion rates, SEO and other key online marketing metrics. The study is designed to help online marketers set PPC and SEO budgets, forecast results, test online marketing programs, and even (toughest of all)—explain search marketing plans to your client or CEO. Among the key findings: Search marketing continues to grow at an incredible pace, with spending up 39% globally in 2007. A third of respondents anticipate double-digit spending increases on both SEO and Google PPC programs in 2008. Marketers rate SEO second and search engine marketing (PPC) ads third in terms of ROI, behind only house-list email marketing. Online banner ads and print advertising receive the lowest grades for ROI. The return on PR spending is viewed as the most difficult to measure. Thinking of bringing SEM and SEO in-house? Nearly a third of corporate respondents said that finding ta

How To Use the Tools of Social Media Optimization

The term "social media" encompasses several different types of sites, and it's important to use all of them properly in order to really be effective at social media optimization (SMO). Blogs are of course one of the most common forms of social media, and there are significant benefits to having your own blog as well as building name recognition and credibility for your company through other industry blogs . But what separates SMO from SEO is that search engine optimization is about owning a top spot in the search engines for your website on a specific term, while social media optimization is about owning the entire first page of the search engines for multiple sites that point back to you for a specific term. So, here are some tips for using different types of social media sites for SMO. Discussion Forums These are a place to showcase your expertise in a non-promotional way. For example, in an SEO forum, telling everyone how great your agency is at SEO is suicid