Cornerstone Group of Companies
20 Eglinton Avenue West, 4th Floor
Toronto, Ontario M4R 1K8
The point of search engine marketing is
deceptively simple: Get your message in
front of prospects right when they’re most
receptive to it.
That straightforward premise is one of the things that
makes search engine marketing so attractive to direct
response advertisers who want to accurately measure
success. Making sure that search engines direct
prospects to your website, however, can be much more
This introduction to search engine marketing will get
you quickly up to speed and ready to benefit from this
powerful new form of advertising. Use it to gain an
understanding of a few key terms and fundamental
concepts. Equipped with that basic knowledge, you’ll be
able to take full advantage of the services provided by a
search marketing expert like Cornerstone.
Search Engine Marketing Primer
Search Engine Marketing Primer
Learning the Basics
Search engines help connect web users with the pages
that interest them. And, as the number of web users
continues to grow, so do the number of web pages. That
means you have more and more people relying on search
engines to direct them to the pages they seek. This
reliance on search engines has led to the overwhelming
success of search engine sites such as Google™, Yahoo!®
Search engine What’s more, when people use search results. See Organic versus Paid
marketing represents search engines, they are effectively Results in Qualifying Your Leads on
a full 40% of all using keywords to segment them- page 5.
selves into fairly narrow targets.
efforts and it’s
And, that self-segmentation has led Your ad winds up on a search results
continuing to grow. to this powerful new form of adver- page because the search terms you
tising. Before you can start benefit- purchased match those entered by
Local search ad ing from search engine marketing, your prospects. The fact that pros-
spending is growing
you’ll need a basic understanding of pects enter multiple search terms
in significance and is
what it is, how it works and how to and that your competitors are vying
segment of paid work with a media broker. for the same keywords makes this
search. process as much an art as a science.
What It Is See Keywords in Qualifying Your Leads
It’s estimated that by
2010, local search Search engine marketing refers to on page 5.
ad spending will the placement of advertisements
make up nearly 20% on search results pages and content Click-throughs
of all paid search networks. The point of the advertisement,
spending. which always includes a link, is to
Connect to Prospects get the prospect to click through
Prospects visit search engine sites to your website or a customized
seeking information of particular landing page. In addition to billing
interest. To find this information, by the keyword, search engines also
they enter one or more keywords, or factor in the number of times a
maybe a phrase, and click “search.” visitor clicks on the advertisement.
The search engine responds with a See Budgeting on page 3 for a more
list—often a long list, sometimes detailed explanation of how
topping a million entries—of poten- billing works.
tially relevant sites. Your goal is to
get your site to the top of that list. The objective and method of
payment is why search engine
Placing an ad, sometimes called a marketing is sometimes called
“sponsored link,” is an effective “pay-per-click marketing.”
way of getting on that first page of
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How to Work with a Media Broker Look to a company like Cornerstone to:
An agency or full-service company like Cornerstone • Manage the bidding process
can simplify the process, providing you with the • Set a reasonable budget
complete range of services that will let you benefit • Develop keywords and phrases
fully from search engine marketing. • Eliminate costly research by leveraging key
Before you begin, there are a few things that you’ll • Create your search advertisements
want to consider. What product or service, for • Place your words and ads with Google
example, are you marketing? Do you already have a • Host your landing page
website with relevant content to which you can direct • Monitor your keywords
visitors? Is your site built to persuade prospects to • Deliver the ongoing report metrics that
take a desired action? Or will you need to develop help you measure the effectiveness of
one to accommodate the traffic you hope to attract? your campaign
And, what kind of budget to are you working with? • Optimize your campaign for maximum ROI
Even though there are few barriers to using search engine marketing, budgeting
can be a little tricky. Understanding how search engines bill for ad placement will
help you get the most out of your budget. In addition to a fluid formula based on
keywords and pay-per-click, there are other costs to consider.
Keywords Where your listing ranks on the results Creating an effective
Search engines bill based in part on page will depend on the amount you campaign can be
wind up paying for your keywords. tricky.
the keywords you wish to bid on. As
part of setting up your campaign, we The right combination
will help you determine the keywords Since your competitors are also bidding of words and ads
or phrases that you judge will corres- on these keywords and phrases—and means the difference
because that bidding affects the between creating a lot
pond to your prospects’ search terms.
of clicks (and therefore
When a search engine’s user types current cost—it’s never a case of the
cost) OR creating a lot
keywords that match your selections, winner takes all. The high bid is only of conversions.
the search engine “serves” your adver- valid until someone bids higher.
tisement, causing your ad to appear on Cornerstone is a
the results page. Pay-per-click and focuses solely
Once you’ve settled on your on finding qualified
Based on your keyword selection, the keywords—and their costs—you wait prospects for our
search engine presents you with the to see who clicks on your ads. It is Clients to ensure a
going rate for each keyword or phrase. only when a prospect actually clicks strong ROI.
You then have the opportunity to through that you are charged for your
name the price you are willing to pay ad. The amount you will be charged
for it. The actual cost of the keyword for each click-through is determined by
is determined by dynamic auction the cost of the keyword when your ad
and could be different each time your was served, as well as the amount your
ad is served. This auction is auto- competitors are willing to pay.
mated, computing the going price for
a keyword using a complex algorithm
that dynamically tracks bids.
Search Engine Marketing Primer
Cornerstone provides Search engines let you control your chances that you will suceed. See
a complete end-to-end own budget by stating a maximum Landing Pages in Converting Prospects on
solution for marketers who amount you are willing to spend per page 6.
want to advertise on search
word per day. In other words, deter-
engines such as Google,
Yahoo! and MSN.
mining what you’re willing to pay In addition to developing the landing
for a given word limits how many page, you’ll want to monitor visitors
We do it all, from consulting times the search engine will use that once they arrive so that you can
with you on the right search keyword to serve your ad on any measure response. In other words,
words and phrases, to
particular day. you’ll want to invest in a mechanism
preparing compelling ads
that appear on search engine that can gauge the effectiveness of
results pages, to developing Keep in mind that there are many your landing page.
website landing pages and factors at work. If you bid low on a
online forms designed to keyword, for example, your ad could Finally, there is the consulting
capture valuable prospect be ranked near the bottom of the fee for helping plan and execute
information. sponsored links. Or, it might not your campaign. Companies like
appear at all. You can avoid popular Cornerstone usually base their fee
words to reduce your costs, but then on the complexity of the campaign,
your visitors won’t be as targeted. If as well as on any other services (such
you set too low a limit on the maxi- as web development, hosting or
mum amount you wish to spend monitoring) they are providing.
daily, then your ad might not appear
at key times of the day. See Keywords A full-service company like
in Qualifying Your Leads on page 5. Cornerstone can help you set a
budget based on a combination
Other Costs of these factors.
There are several other costs
that you should keep in mind.
For example, there is the cost of
designing, developing, hosting and
maintaining a landing page. After
all, once you entice a prospect to
click through, you want him or her
to land on a page that increases the
| Cornerstone Group of Companies
Qualifying Your Leads
Putting your message in front of search engine users is a way of qualifying your
leads. The search engine user has entered the keywords or phrases that relate to
your product or service, so you know they’re interested. To qualify those leads, you
want to reach them with highly ranked organic or paid results, the right keywords,
and well-crafted advertisements.
Organic versus Paid Results Keywords
When people enter a word or phrase in a search Advertisers will assemble lists of words that most
engine such as Google, they are asking the search relate to their product or service. They then bid on
engine which web pages most relate to the informa- the right to use these keywords to match their ads
tion they seek. To compile their lists of web pages, to the search terms.
Google and the other search engines use special
software programs, sometimes called “spiders.” For example, a bank might bid on words such as
These programs use algorithms to crawl through “credit cards,” “loans” or “mortgage.” Or, they
virtually every website on the Internet. They look may take a more creative approach, using “buying
inside each website, seeking information and cata- a house,” “having a baby” or other phrases asso-
loguing the site based on keywords, links, number ciated with the lifestyle changes that might need
of visits and other variables. What they are looking financial services.
for is a correlation between the site and its rele-
vance to the users’ search terms. Finding the right keywords can be a challenge,
especially because the cost of keywords can be
Organic Results driven up by a company that bids the highest. Since
Those websites deemed the most relevant appear every company wants its ad to appear at the top of
at the top of the list of search results. This ranking, the sponsored links, a top word for an industry—
determined by the software program’s algorithms, such as “credit” for financial services—might cost
are known as “organic results.” several dollars per click. However, the highest bid
might not always rank first. Sometimes an ad gets
In addition to these organic results, many search more clicks when it appears in the middle of the
engine results pages also feature a list of “spon- pack, which some search engines will then “reward”
sored links.” by moving them higher in the rankings.
Paid Results Advertisements
These sponsored links are also known as “paid One key to successful conversion is producing
results.” These listings are actually advertisements, an ad that works effectively within very small
purchased by companies who want their ads to appear confines. For example, Google restricts ads to a
when prospects type in relevant keywords or phrases. mere 90 characters.
Ranking of paid results in a search engine like Because the ads are so small, it is very important
Google is also determined by algorithms. In that they be finely targeted and as relevant
the case of paid results, the ranking is based on as possible to the likely search terms. This is
factors that include the amount bid for keywords, especially important because Google will, in fact,
daily spending limits set by the advertiser, and the drop an ad that is not generating a satisfactory
number of clicks the ads receive. number of clicks for a search term.
Search Engine Marketing Primer
Once you’ve qualified your leads by putting your message in front of prospects,
you’ll want to close the deal. Getting your prospects to click on your ad is not the
last step. To convert click-throughs, you’ll need an effective landing page as well
as a plan for monitoring and managing your campaign. Relevant content that
relates to your prospect’s search is critical to conversion success.
Landing Pages Monitoring and Whether you have a
One way to get the most from your sophisticated web presence
Managing Campaigns with layers of e-commerce, or
search marketing campaign is to make Another important consideration you have little or no presence
your landing pages as relevant as when launching a search campaign online, Cornerstone is
possible. Your prospect was looking is the creation of groups of words equipped to provide you with
for something when he or she went to and advertisements that relate to a streamlined process that
the search engine site. When prospects the campaign. ultimately delivers prospects
click your advertisement, they’ll want to you in the format you need!
to wind up on a landing page that To gauge the appropriateness of these
reflects their original intent. words, you should monitor them care-
fully to make sure you are satisfied with
Some of the most effective search how they are performing. To evaluate
marketing campaigns include the performance, you start by looking at
creation of a micro-site. A micro-site the number of click-throughs. You
should provide enough interesting and can also measure the effectiveness of
persuasive content and clear direction alternate advertisements by comparing
to compel the visitor to take the action their response rates.
Monitoring other factors can help you
Search ads that simply click-through even more when it comes to managing
to an existing sign-up form or home your campaign. Because you can track
page—especially one with diverse behaviour after your prospect clicks
content—can be very unsatisfying. through and arrives at your landing
You will have much more success with page, you can measure campaigns based
a landing page that has been designed on a wide range of response metrics.
specifically for your campaign and is
crystal clear about what it wants the This ongoing analysis lets you boost
visitor to do. If you are promoting a sales by giving you the option of
magazine, for example, your landing modifying keyword choices, bid
page should emphasize the benefits of amounts, advertisements and land-
your magazine with the clear message ing page design. With search engine
that you want the visitor to subscribe. marketing and the detailed reports
Simply sending prospects to the provided by a full-service company
magazine’s home page risks distracting, like Cornerstone, you’re not guessing
confusing and frustrating them. about effectiveness.
Google™ is a trademark of Google Inc. Yahoo!® is a trademark of Yahoo! Inc. MSN® is a registered trademark of Microsoft
Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.
| Cornerstone Group of Companies
The Cornerstone Group of Companies
Our mission is to help our Clients find and keep good customers. We will
accomplish this by providing our Clients with the best prospecting leads
available and helping them to be the best in the world at managing and
enriching their customer databases.
The Prospecting Group The Database Group
• List Brokerage Services • Marketing Database Services
• List Management Services • Fundraising Services
• List Processing Services • Publishing Services
• Data Products
• Search and Marketing Services
Every business unit at Cornerstone has been set up with a specialized set of products,
services and experienced professionals dedicated to fulfilling the needs of marketers.
We invite you to call us at 1.416.932.9555 to explore how we can make your customer
experience a long-lasting one.