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Tips for Conducting Successful Search Marketing Campaigns

ppc-management-expertIt’s no secret that one of the best ways to capture the attention of potential consumers is to create, maintain, and manage a smart search marketing campaign. Search marketing can include paid search, search engine optimization, local search optimization, or a strategic combination of all of these marketing methods. While conducting a smart search marketing campaign should be your goal, it’s often a lot easier said than done. However, here are some tips that will help you hone in on what is really important, and strategically approach your search marketing campaign in order to get the best results.

Keyword Research

Whether you are conducting a paid search campaign, search engine optimization campaign, or local search campaign, the first place to start is with solid keyword research. There are many methods and tools to use in order to conduct keyword research, but here is a fail proof method that will help guide you.

1. Start with General Keyword Research

When you first start out, it’s impossible to know which keywords will perform best for your website. That’s why it’s important to look broadly and extensively at different keywords. You can do this by using the following tools:

    – Collecting keywords from your company’s past search history

    – Analyzing the current market by asking your peers and analyzing competitor websites

    – Brainstorming yourself

    – Asking other industry professionals for ideas

    – Utilizing keyword-planning tools like Google’s Keyword Planner for help generating ideas


2. Refine your list

After you have gathered a broad range of possible target keywords, it’s necessary to perfect that list. If you target too many keywords, it can be expensive, confusing, and unmanageable. In order to determine which keywords will work best for your campaign, follow these steps.

    1. Organize your keywords into a shared database that is easy to sort and understand. If you make your database shareable, anyone on your marketing team can access the keyword information at anytime.

    2. Import information about your keywords into the database including potential search volume, competition level, relevancy, estimated cost per click (CPC), etc.

    3. Segment your keywords into large and broad groups and then into smaller sub-categories. For example, “automobile” would be an example of a large and broad group,” and the smaller sub-category might be “cars,” or “trucks.” In order to more easily organize this data, consider using a keyword-grouping tool like Wordstream’s Free Keyword Grouping Tool.

    4. Add geo-targeted to your keywords. Geo-targeting is one of the best ways, if not the best way, to make sure you are taking advantage of local traffic. If you are only interested in capturing traffic from a certain area, then make sure to add a geo-qualifier, or sort your keywords to a specific geo-graphical location, in order to get the most bang for your buck.

3. Start testing your keywords

Once all of your keywords are organized, it’s time to start analyzing and testing which keywords actually perform best for your website. You never know which keywords will work best for you, which is why it’s important to test them. Keep in mind, analyzing keywords is an ongoing process. You should be constantly monitoring your keywords in order to determine when it’s time to make a change in order to best improve your results. Here are some steps to follow when monitoring keywords.

    1. Download a comprehensive analytics tool, and learn how to use it. The most popular tool is Google Analytics, and Google even offers free Google Analytics classes for beginners. If you’re really serious about running a solid search campaign, take the time to register for the courses and really learn how to measure your keywords.

    2. Keep an eye on which keywords are performing well, and which keywords are not, and then make adjustments as needed. In order to help you with this step, you can use keyword-monitoring tools from’s keyword tools help with the following:

    – For SEO, monitor your organic ranking with detailed reports. This is especially important if you are monitoring more than 50 keywords. It’s difficult to manage more than 50 keywords on your own.

    – For PPC, benchmark your campaign against competitors. You can easily find out how your campaign, and top keywords, is performing, especially in relation to your niche competitors.

    – Discover your impression share in order to take advantage of keyword opportunities you may be missing out on

    – Leverage your competitors keywords to get more targeted traffic

    – Track your competition to make sure you don’t fall behind


4. Keep testing your keywords

Of course you want to initially test your keywords in order to pick the most relevant and highest performing keywords, but I can’t stress enough that keyword data and performance levels change often. That’s why it’s so important to utilize tools that help keep you in the loop.

Consider monitoring your keywords daily, and make sure to use search marketing monitoring tools (like the tools listed above) in order to help you stay both organized and ahead of the game.

5. Create content around your top-performing keywords

Once you know which keywords are performing best, it’s important to create content around those keywords. There are a couple ways to do this.

If you are running a search engine optimization campaign, make sure your top performing keywords appear in the most important sections of your website. This includes the titles, descriptions, headers, and content. Additionally, Google and other top search engines, like to see refreshed content on your website as much as possible. This means you should include top performing keywords in shareable blog posts, and refresh your main website content often.

If you are running a PPC ad, you can also utilize top-performing keywords in your ad copy. Consider writing targeted PPC text ads that include the top-performing keyword, and a strong call to action. Again, you may have more than one top performing keyword, so feel free to test out a few different options to see which ad copy gets the best results. If you are unsure where to even start, consider spying on your competitors to see what kind of success they are having, evaluate what they are doing, and adjust your strategy to meet the needs of your potential clients.

When running a PPC campaign, not only is it important to write targeted ads, but it’s important to make sure your landing pages are relevant. The more relevant your landing pages are, the higher your potential quality score, which often results in better performing PPC ads.

6. Look for negative keywords

Another important step in conducting a solid search marketing campaign is making sure that your content is reaching only the people looking for sites relevant to yours. When you targeted a large keyword list, sometimes your ad is displayed to people who are searching for terms that are similar to yours but not quite relevant.

For example, if you sell hard copies of books online, but you don’t sell books that people can read online, you want a way to prevent your ad from showing up when people type in a broad search for online books. With a broad list of keywords, it can be hard to protect yourself from irrelevant searches, unless you tell Google to do so by adding negative keywords.

Here is a quick tutorial to help you add negative keywords in Google AdWords.

Remember it’s not all about Keywords

While it’s very important to start any search marketing campaign with thoughtful, targeted, and relevant keyword research, that’s only one piece of the puzzle, albeit a big piece of the search marketing success puzzle.

Google and other search engines have gone to great lengths to lead Internet marketers away from the purely keyword-thinking mentality, and to help them focus more on the end-users overall experience. So, what does this mean for you as a marketer? It means a couple important things.

1. Set goals to please your target market

First and foremost, it means that you should set your search marketing campaign goals around helping your target market get what they need from you, rather than simply making sure that your website is easily located through keyword search. After all, it won’t do you much good in the long run if people find your website, but don’t find it relevant or helpful for what they really need.

2. Pay attention to website design

Additionally, you may be selling exactly what people are looking for, but if people can’t easily navigate your website in order to purchase your products, all your hard marketing efforts are in vain. Consumers like websites that are easy on the eyes and intuitive. Take the time to hire a designer to make sure your website looks good.

3. Follow-through

After you have set your campaign goal to keep pleasing the end-user at the forefront of every goal, make sure you follow-through. This means you should create content that is not only keyword-targeted, but that helps your target market in one-way or another.

4. Make your content shareable

Shareable content is playing a huge role in the success of search marketing campaigns these days. That means the more people that find your content and share it via social media, the more value Google assigns to your website. Take advantage of social sharing opportunities by making sure all your content is easily shareable.

Once you have followed these steps, you should be well on your way to creating a solid search marketing campaign. The only thing left is to continue monitoring your goals, and moving forward.


Guest Author Ashley R. Cummings
Guest Author Ashley R. Cummings
Ashley R. Cummings is a freelance writer, specializing in online marketing, education, and travel. Connect with Ashley on Facebook or , and learn more about her on LinkedIn.