Seven steps to effective search marketing

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If you're a search marketer, you have a tough job. Your tasks can be summed up in three categories:ááGenerating more response volume (sales, customers, orders, leads, traffic); obtaining response volume more cost-effectively; and making the company look good (that is, building the brand).

As a result, you are always looking for insight and tools to help manage your online programs more productively.

This article oulines seven steps to help you more effectively conduct your search marketing.

Refine keyword bids: The most successful search marketers are continuously testing multiple bids and monitoring effects.

■ Target ideal positions: Because of its highly visible nature, managing keywords based on position or the ranking of a keyword's listing on a search engine results page has traditionally been a very popular technique.

Optimize ad copy: Ad copy is a flexible tool available to help you reach your goals. It dramatically influences volume, conversion and branding. Find opportunities to distinguish yourself.

Select the right keywords: The best mix is a combination of awareness and purchase-ready keywords.

■ Use specialized matching options: Depending on the search engine, keywords can be matched in several ways. It's important to have a basic understanding of the most common ones, and how you can use them to your advantage.

Leverage contextual campaigns: Contextual advertising touches consumers in a different mental state. Instead of being in a results-oriented "find it" mind-set, they are in a more passive, browsing mode. Instead of being the primary focus, contextual ads are at best incidental and compete with a potentially diverse gamut of equally relevant keywords.

■ Monitor against click fraud: Click fraud has certainly been talked about to a great extent in the media, and online search companies are addressing it. However, that alone does not absolve search marketers from understanding inconsistencies in their metrics and finding a remedy for suspicious activity.

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