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Search Engine Marketing Right vs. Wrong

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WRONG: Not targeting the correct keywords

It’s easier and more effective to win your locale. Focus your keyword and business listing efforts towards winning the area directly surrounding you. It is often counterintuitive to try and dominate an entire state or even worse, a tri-state area. Take a look at your analytics and see where your target demographic is. If your business caters mainly to a 20-mile radius, focus your keywords on specific locales in that area.

For example, “NY Honda Dealer” is much more difficult to win and when you do, you can’t guarantee that those impressions are from people within your target demographic. Instead, try focusing your keywords to specific towns you want to target (ie, NYC or Manhattan). There’s a big demographic difference between Buffalo, NY and Midtown Manhattan.

WRONG: Forgetting to use negative keywords

When setting up a pay-per-click campaign, many people forget to include negative keywords. These are keywords that you don’t want your ad to show up for when they are searched. For example, if you’re a Honda car dealer you may want “Honda dealer” in your database, but you don’t want your ad to show up when someone looks for a Honda motorcycle dealer. Therefore, “motorcycle” should be in your negative keyword database.

Covering substantial ground with negative keywords ensures that your ad appears when you want it and you don’t waste valuable ad dollars.

WRONG: Not using a tracking number

Wouldn’t it be great if every person who called you because they saw your ad could be differentiated from everyone else? 800 tracking numbers are common when trying to assess the effectiveness of your ad. By using a unique 800 number on each ad source, you can see which investments have the most success in attracting calls and adjust your online marketing dollar deployment accordingly.

WRONG: Not A/B testing

The art of A/B testing is crucial to successful PPC campaigns. An A/B test is where you take your ads and change some of the copy, especially titles, to see which ad is more effective in attracting clickthroughs. Some ads focus on price, while others may focus on service, selection or buyer benefits. The market will click the ad that’s most relevant to what they want. Guess work isn’t necessary when you can test the market in real time. Don’t waste precious ad dollars on ineffective ads.

WRONG: Improperly tracking your clickthroughs

The best way to measure how effective your SEM efforts are is to properly record analytics. When linking to your website in a PPC ad, it is important to build a reference URL that can be tracked. Google offers a free URL building tool that can be found at: http://www.google.com/support/analytics/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=55578

URL building lets you specify your campaign’s source, medium, term (if using paid keywords), content and name. So instead of simply linking to www.bullseyenj.com to find out how our ad performed, we can link to:

http://www.bullseyenj.com/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=email&utm_content=marketing%2Btips%2Bto%2Bavoid&utm_campaign=email%2Bblast

Your Google Analytics (a whole topic on its own) can identify these specialty links and will sort them by the signifiers specified (in this example, source, medium, content or campaign).

RIGHT: Measure everything

The most important part of analyzing your ad campaigns is to have the most data possible. By following the above methods, you’re guaranteed to use your ad budget more effectively. More importantly, you can hold yourself accountable.

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