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Small Business Digest



Avoid Misfires When Launching a Search-Engine Marketing Campaign

Correctly executed, search-engine marketing (SEM) can become one of the most powerful and cost-effective marketing techniques for almost any business. If the campaign is successfully created, implemented and optimized, the results will be reflected almost immediately.

When launching such a campaign for the first time, the chances for success can be enhanced by familiarity with essential search-engine marketing tips designed to maximize profitability, as well as to help avoid common pitfalls.

Rich Kahn, CEO of search-engine and search-marketing company eZanga (, offers these tips and warnings:

Relevancy - Throughout the creation process, make sure everything ties together.

When building out the campaign, companies need to make sure everything is related to the product or service. Are they selecting keywords that prospective customers would use when searching for the product or service? Is the subject matter on the landing page and ad descriptions relative to the product the company is trying to sell? If the ads are unclear and/or misleading, the company will not convert.

Knowledge - Easy campaign implementation correlates with a knowledgeable account representative.

Whether deciding to hire someone in-house or go with an outside agency, make sure whoever is working on the SEM campaign knows what he or she is doing and is cognizant of the nature of the business and specializes in the company's vertical. This person will help get the most out of the campaign and become instrumental to the overall success of the online marketing efforts. The line of communication must be open in order for the campaign to grow.

Testing - When optimizing the campaign after launch…testing, testing and testing is key.

This is probably the most important practice after launching an SEM campaign. No matter how much knowledge and experience the account manager may have, every campaign is different and needs to be tested frequently in order to find out what works and what doesn't. Testing provides insight on which ad, using what keywords, in which position, during what specific time of day, and on what particular search engine performs the best. This reporting allows the account manager to optimize around the positive results.

Pitfall No. 1 - Home Page as the Landing Page: Evaluate the exact spot where the searcher lands. If the company sets the advertisement's landing page as the homepage, conversion will not be nearly as good as it would have been had the searcher been directed to a specific and highly focused product-related information page. Contact information should be located in a clear and noticeable spot, making the prospective customer's searching experience as convenient as possible. 

Pitfall No. 2 - Click Fraud: Although click fraud is hard to control, companies can take precautionary measures to find and eliminate it. First, make sure to work with a reputable search engine dedicated to preventing click fraud. Monitor regularly and work with the account manager to evaluate campaign performance to ensure the company isn't becoming a victim of fraudulent clicks. Try to establish a baseline comparison so the company can be on the lookout for unusual patterns or spikes in traffic, which sometimes can be attributed to click fraud.

For more information on Rich Kahn, visit

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