Let Them Seek and You Shall Find
Vivek Bhargava and Jay Bower
EO UAE and EO Nashville
Vivek Bhargava is the Managing Director of Communicate2, a search engine marketing company based in India. He is a member of EO Bombay and EO U.A.E. and has been active in the organization for five years. You can contact him at
Jay Bower is President of CrossBow Group, LLC, a marketing services firm specializing in new customer acquisition and retention. He has been a member of EO Fairfield/Westchester for more than four years, serving as the chapter Communications Chair in the 2004/2005 fiscal year. Jay has broad strategic and implementation experience in relationship/continuity marketing and e-commerce. To chat with him directly, email him at
Google is a search engine.
Most of you are nodding your head in agreement to that statement. A couple of years back, I would have nodded, too. But the truth is that Google is no longer just a search engine. Today, it is the largest media company in the world and an invaluable way for us to get the word out about our companies.
When I first stumbled upon the idea of search marketing, I was based in Dubai building a company that acted like a catalyst in market-entry operations. Our role was to help American companies seamlessly enter the Middle East market. I was content with the way things were building until I met an Irishman there. He had an interesting proposition: He wanted to start an offshore search marketing firm in India.
A triumphant entrepreneur once said that success is all about “The Jump.” That’s the toughest thing about being an entrepreneur, because you never know where your unsuspecting feet will land. So we just keep jumping until we land on an opportunity that changes our life. Though I wasn’t quite sure where the market was headed, I did some quick calculations and gave him a quote. That evening, he wrote me the check, and I made “The Jump” into search marketing.
The last two years have been eye opening. My team and I have lived through the metamorphic challenge of building one of India’s largest search engine marketing companies, Communicate2, and only now do I realize its power.
The clock is ticking for any medium that does not follow contextual advertising, including radio, outdoor, TV and even print. Paid search, as the industry’s new jargon goes, is only the beginning of contextual advertising. It alone has grown from a US$100 million industry to nearly US$10 billion and continues to grow at an outstanding rate. The reason is simple: Ads are served only when a user is searching for your product or service. Your ad is served in context with a particular, matching need or request.
Although it sounds unbelievable, Google’s market cap of US$130 billion is nearly double that of Time Warner AOL. This market cap is not dependent on revenues, which are less than US$5 billion as of last year, but on what Google will become during the next five years. Why? Because Google has a unique ability to find context in any content and serve ads on a real-time basis. Companies around the world are utilizing this contextual advertising ability to get in front of their target audience and do business smarter than ever before. And so can you!
Six Tips for Effective PPC Advertising
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is not just the marketing flavor of the week. It promises to be a highly profitable way to get prospects to websites for a long time to come. It is direct marketing at its purest. Here are the things that we do to maximize the effectiveness of our PPC advertising.
CHOOSE RELEVANT KEYWORDS.
We don’t pick keywords solely based on their popularity. We make sure the given product or service we’re marketing would be of interest to someone searching for that term. We always include misspellings, typos and plurals to capture additional traffic.
COMBINE MULTIPLE WORDS TO CREATE PHRASES.
We’ve found that attaching modifier words (Cheap Widgets, Fast Widgets, etc.) and locations (Widgets in Berlin) to keywords is an effective way to increase ROI. We also use natural language phrases such as “where to download the latest widgets.” These terms will not likely drive high volumes in clicks, but they are more likely to convert to a sale. Even using a product’s name can work: Sea Eagle, a manufacturer of inflatable boats, has been successful with this technique.
WRITE RELEVANT COPY.
We ensure that copy closely ties with the search term. So, when we can, we include the search term in the copy at least once. And we don’t deceive— that results in more clicks but not more business. We mention gifts or bonuses and include offers in the copy, such as “Free,” “Save $XX” or “XX% Savings,” to lift response. We also continually test new copy to see which works better and keep our page fresh.
DELIVER A RELEVANT AND UNIQUE LANDING PAGE.
We have only a split second to convince prospects that they are in the right place. So we don’t make them search for the product they are looking for: We already know based on their search items. Whenever possible, we send the customer to a deeper, more specific page dealing with the term they just searched. For example, on the term “Men’s Tennis Shoes,” we’d link the customer to the page about Men’s Tennis Shoes, not a general shoes page.
CONTINUE THE SALES PROCESS.
In our experience, getting prospects to a landing page is just the beginning of the conversion process. We’ve learned the importance of leading them all the way to a registration page or shopping cart. We do that with landing page copy that expands on the promise of the search engine listing and motivates prospects to take the next step.
RELEVANCY! RELEVANCY! RELEVANCY!
In case you missed the common theme throughout, Relevancy is the most important element of PPC search engine marketing. We’ve found that if we ignore relevancy, we’re often frustrated with low click-through rates and an unprofitable campaign.
Some of these tips are easy to understand in concept, but not so easy to put into practice. We recommend that our prospective clients engage a resource that does this for a living. It’s often better to spend the money and get it right the first time.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising is a technique by which advertisers bid on keywords that their target market might use when looking for a product or service.
Paid Search is a search engine marketing product whereby the search engine company charges fees related to inclusion of websites in their search index.
Click-Through Rates measure the success of an online advertising campaign.
Copy refers to written material.
Keywords are words used to find matching web pages.
Landing Page is the page to which one is directed after clicking on a specific link or online advertisement.