Keyword Research – How to Begin

As a search ad network, we know that a marketer’s keyword list is integral to the success of their campaigns. Keeping a list static for too long can mean missed opportunities and missed revenue, so it’s important that search marketers be constantly adjusting their lists and testing new keywords. As regular readers of this blog know, at LookSmart we try to assist advertisers at key times of the year by aggregating together large lists of seasonal keywords around events like Valentine’s Day and Back-to-School. But what about the rest of the year? We often get questions from advertisers, especially those who are relatively new to search marketing, about what tools they can use to do their own keyword research. Luckily, there are a plethora of inexpensive and even free tools available.

Here’s a quick snapshot of some tools to check out. We haven’t used all of these tools ourselves, so we can’t speak to the quality of each and every one, but we hope this list will at least provide a good starting place for those of you who are interested in expanding your PPC keyword lists. If you try any of the tools, let us know in the comments section how they work!

In no particular order:

• Google Keyword Tool:
• Spyfu:
• Wordtracker:
• Market Samurai:
• PPC Keyword Toolz:
• Wordstream:
• KeywordSpy:
• Speed PPC:
• Keyword Elite:
• SEO Book Keyword Typos Generator:
• Keyword Ninja:
• Sktool:
• SEMrush:
• KGen:
• Wordpot:

Happy researching!

3 Steps to Start a Pay Per Click Campaign

Today, pay per click is an extremely popular concept, especially for start-up businesses.  Pay per click allows you to target your audience by geography and keywords or key phrases.  This is some powerful information seeing as though if someone is searching for a term that is directly related to your business, this will put your website right at the top of their search.  Therefore, giving you a great deal of power to get highly targeted leads to your website.  Check out these three important steps to follow when first starting your pay per click campaign.

1)  Setting a Budget:  This is obviously an extremely important factor.  Setting a budget for your pay per click campaign allows you to control how much you are willing to pay for each lead as well as limit your spending per day.  A tip is to try and choose niche keywords and key phrases where you may need to pay slightly more per click, but you are also getting much more highly targeted traffic to your website which will have a higher chance of conversion.

2)  Seek Professional Support:  A management service that is dedicated and trained to provide optimized pay per click management services is trained to help businesses not only get the most return-on-investment for their daily spending, but also to manage all campaigns so that you can focus on other areas of your business.

3)  Analyze and Experiment:  You might think you know EXACTLY what you are doing and what results are going to be produced.  However, you’ll quickly learn that keywords and key phrases that you thought would work out successfully, don’t and therefore, you need to analyze and test out different keywords and key phrases to see which ones are driving the most traffic and producing the highest conversion rates.

We hope this blog post has helped you in getting started in your pay per click advertising campaigns.  Pay per click is a very powerful marketing tool for businesses of all sizes, however, you need to ensure your getting the best return on investment and the highest conversion rates for your money spent.  If you have any questions regarding pay per click advertising, please feel free to contact us at LookSmart and one of our Account Managers would be glad to assist you.

3 Strategies for Avoiding Click Fraud

What exactly is click fraud?  This is one question we get ALL the time as pay per click managers.  As pay per click managers, we make it our job to ensure that the budget you give us for your pay per click campaign is optimized to it’s fullest potential.  Meaning that we are aiming to driving as many conversions as possible choosing the proper keywords, bidding as competitively as possible, choosing the proper creatives, and keeping your CPA as close to your objectives as possible.  So a fraudulent clicks are clicks that occur for reasons other than that user being interested in the product or service offered.

Any business, no matter how carefully you optimize and monitor the pay per click campaign, will have some fraudulent clicks.  The key is to keep the fraudulent clicks to a minimum using the following strategies:

1. Target:  Try to utilize the geographical tools as much as possible.  In other words, don’t target the entire United States if you are just trying to get new customers at a local hair salon in Santa Monica.  Instead, target either ONLY Santa Monica for an extremely targeted campaign, or target Los Angeles.


2. Check the IP Addresses:  When you look at the IP addresses that are clicking on your pay per click ads, they should ALL be different.  It’s a fairly obvious concept, your ad shows up for unique users EVERY time, so there should never be duplicate IP addresses and if there are, you are a victim of fraudulent clicks which means you’ll have to take further action.  If you happen to check the IP addresses and you find duplicates, you might want to just pause your account until you can figure out the next steps to take, this will avoid wasting your PPC budget.


3. Monitor:  This is definitely the most simple strategy to help you in protecting yourself against fraudulent clicks.  You should be monitoring your pay per click campaigns on a daily basis and keep an eye out for any irregular spikes in clicks.  If one day you are getting around 100 clicks and then the next day you’re bumped up to 400+ for no apparent reason, you’re going to want to delve in deeper and check out the IP addresses these clicks are coming from.


3 Successful Pay Per Click Strategies

There are many ways to drive traffic to your website including social media marketing, search engine optimization, and email marketing.  However, these methods of driving traffic take time and don’t produce immediate results.  So some businesses turn to more immediate results for traffic such as pay per click advertising.

Pay per click advertising is the best digital marketing strategy to pursue if you are looking for quick traffic.  The other great aspect of pay per click advertising is your ability to control your campaign 100%.  Check out three proven strategies for getting the most successful results with your pay per click campaign:

1.     Always Include a Call-to-Action:  When you designing your ad, you can include text or image, or both.  You should always have some kind of a call to action in your ad.  You should be telling the visitor what to do such as “Click Here for…..”.  In your call to action, explain briefly what they should expect to find when they click on your ad.  If you are sending them to a landing page for a free report, tell them that.

2.     Targeting:  Pay per click advertising also allows you to target your audience right down to countries.  If you are advertising a product or service that can be used globally, utilize the global paid advertising tool.  However, if you are advertising for someone that is geographically linked, take advantage of the targeting tool by determining which countries you want your ad to appear.

3.     Design a Killer Landing Page:  The purpose of pay per click advertising is to drive as much targeted traffic as possible to a particular web page.  So you want to make this web page look as professional, appealing, and user-friendly as possible.  You don’t want your visitors landing there and not knowing what it is you are advertising.  Usually a landing page that is graphic-oriented and “clean” in appearance is the most successful.  You should also focus on collecting visitor emails by having a Subscription box available.

We hope you enjoyed this blog post, and for further questions on how you can utilize your pay per click advertising campaigns, contact our knowledgeable team at LookSmart.

The Top 4 ways to improve your PPC Marketing Campaigns!

The Top 4 ways to improve your PPC Marketing Campaigns!
So spring is here, and that means a fresh new start for the year. You may have spent time doing the spring-cleaning around your home and office, but what about on your Pay-Per-Click Marketing Campaigns? Here are a couple of great ways to bring a fresh new outlook to your Pay-Per-Click Campaigns!

Redefine and Monitor Pay-Per-Click Goals – To improve your PPC Marketing Campaigns, you must have acknowledged that your current goals are a bit outdated and not as successful as you had hoped. Going back and redefining your goals is a great way to improve your current and future Pay-Per-Click Campaigns. Set new, more specific goals that can be easily monitored for success or failure. Being able to monitor and pinpoint specific areas requiring future improvement will help make sure your PPC goals are being met and help make adjustments as necessary.
As well, monitoring areas of your PPC Campaign will help keep your ads relevant, which is extremely important when choosing your keywords, types of displays and targets you are using in your campaigns.

Keywords – Keywords are critical in Pay-Per-Click Marketing Campaigns.  Start with doing your research.  Relevant, related and common keyword phrases are best for obtaining clicks. Also choose l keywords that will set you apart from the other Ads and catch the customers’ attention. Avoid broad keywords, as they will get lost in a larger number of returned websites with the same keywords, thus increasing competition to win the advertisement and be clicked.

Headline –
 In the Pay-Per-Click Marketing world, the headline is everything.  The number one reason people click on a headline is that the reader receives a benefit from the headline.  Many businesses like to talk about how good the features of their product are.  Readers do not care about features.  They look for benefits.  What is in it for the reader?  Here is an example.  A feature is “Our alarm clock can be set to make loud noises at any time.”  A benefit is “Never lose an appointment with our alarm clock!”.

Geo and Time Targeting – Making your Ad visible to entice the viewer to click on it is one thing, but having your Ad target a specific customer based on their geographic location at specifically selected times of the day is an even more direct way to increase Ad Clicks. Geographically targeting customers to obtain clicks focuses on customers in select regions to view the particular Ad.  Using geo-targeting will help prevent money being lost on advertising that isn’t applicable to those who click on it.  As for time targeted Ads, you want your Ads visible at peak viewing times. If you are advertising children’s educational toys, you won’t see many clicks during the late evenings or very early mornings, as the customers who would be interested in these products are usually asleep (or trying to get a child to sleep!). Both Geographic and Time targeted Ads need to focus on being relevant to their respective consumer base to ensure clicks.

Top 5 Bid Management Tips

One of the most important aspects of managing a pay per click marketing campaign is optimizing the campaign to it’s fullest poential to ensure you are getting the most for your budget.  Bid management is one strategy in optimizing your campaign.  Bid management basically involves properly managing your keyword bids so that you aren’t spending too much per click, and to ensure you are spending enough per click that you’re not getting poor traffic quality.  Check out our top five tips for bid management below:

Don’t Bid for the Top Position

So many people think they’ll have a high conversion rate if they choose a bid on keywords, however, you’d be surprised how poor this strategy can be.  The top position is NOT usually the most profitable, so stay away from paying an arm and a leg for the top position, and aim lower.


Following the above tip about not putting out a large investment in higher bids, you can experiment with medium to low bids to see what actually works best for you.  You can view your conversion rate to determine which keywords, which positions, and which ads are not only getting the most clicks, but more importantly, getting the most conversions.

Find Your Sweet Spot

This is key in bid management and this doesn’t occur right away, so be patient.  You need to find that perfect sweet spot between the cost, the traffic quality, and the volume.  You want to keep your operating costs low, all while driving high quality traffic at an appropriate volume.

Use Data to Your Advantage

So many people adjust their bids “on a hunch” or because they “think” it will increase conversions.  What you have to realize is that you have a large amount of useful data at your finger tips, so why not utilize it.  Print off and analyze weekly or monthly reports and analyze the clicks and impressions versus the conversion rate to help you in determining what’s working and what’s not working.


Create a Schedule

So many people will obsessively check their pay per click campaign many, many times throughout the day and this can not only be completely useless, but also a very time consuming process.  So instead of doing this, set up a schedule where you’ll check your campaigns at a certain time each day.

Do you have a pay per click bid managment tip or strategy that you wish to share?  Comment below!  Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter too!

How to Get the Most out of Your Pay Per Click Campaign

Pay Per Click is a proven and successful online marketing strategy which allows advertisers to drive traffic to their website and publishers to monetize their website.  The advertiser does not pay a fee to place an advertisement, but rather pays a certain amount of money each time their ad gets clicked.

With pay per click, you control the entire campaign and you can choose your key words, where you want to direct your traffic, as well as what type of ads you wish to display. 


  • 1)  Choose the Proper Keywords:  Choosing the proper keywords can attract prospective visitors to your website through major search engines, not just traffic, but actual potential buyers.  If you choose the proper keywords, a user types in the search phrase and your website will appear at the top of their search results, therefore, in the direct path of the consumer.  Put yourself into your target audiences minds to brainstorm potential keywords and key phrases that they may search for to find a product or service such as yours.
  • 2)   Create a Landing Page:  By building a landing page to drive traffic to, it allows you to create a totally clean, customized, and fresh webpage to market a particular product or service for each keyword or key phrase.  Because landing pages are so easy to create, you may even build several landing pages, one for each keyword or keyphrase.
  • 3)   Ad Variation:  When you are creating your pay per click campaigns, always use variety.  You can test out text ads, banner ads, and image ads to see which ones provide the most conversion for you.  By producing different kinds of ad you can monitor any patterns showing which ad is being clicked, and which aren’t.
  • 4)   Analyze & Report:  Take advantage of LookSmart’s fantastic analysis and reporting tools to determine which ads are working, which ads are producing the highest click-through-rate, and which ads are driving the most traffic.
  • 5)   Refine:  Based on these reports, you can adjust your pay per click campaign to optimize your return-on-investment.  No one gets their pay per click campaign right the first time, which is why you need to take advantage of the great analytical tools available and use them to refine your campaign to boost your return on investment.

3 Ways to Monetize Your Website or Blog

There are many website and blog owners out there who have a website that generates a fair amount of traffic and are not currently doing anything to monetize that traffic.  Of course the main purpose of a website is to provide valuable information on a subject you are interested in so you can educate those who are also interested.  However, what if you could also generate some pocket change from that traffic?

There are many different programs available to help you do such a thing.  Offering up real estate space on your website is a great way to generate money off of ad impressions as well as clicks on ads.  So here are three excellent and proven successful methods to generate income off of your website:


  • ·        Banner Ads:  Banner ads are display (image) ads, which are usually positioned at the top of the web page.  Usually you generate income for each impression as well as each click through.  It can be easy to find advertisers or affiliate marketers who want to use that real estate on your website because the banner ad is displayed right in front of the user.
  • ·        Affiliate Links:  This is another great way to generate some income off of your website.  Affiliate links are links placed on your website that market another product or service.  And if a user that was on your website, clicks on the affiliate link and ends up purchasing something you generate a certain percentage of commission from the sale.  The key in affiliate advertising is to choose products and services to market which are in the same interest category as the content on your website.  If a user is on your website to learn about a particular product or service, obviously you’ll want to choose an affiliate product or service that the user would be interested in.
  • ·      Text Advertising:  Text advertising is another effective method of monetizing your website.  This involves displaying text ads in different areas of your website real estate with the hopes that visitors will click on the text ad and you’ll generate revenue off of each click.  Although it’s more difficult to get the visitor to click on the text ad compared to display advertising, you can generate more revenue through cost per click text ads.


Generating traffic to your website is not an easy, but once you get a particular amount of traffic you can begin to utilize display advertising to generate some income.  Of course the mort effort you put into driving traffic to your website such as utilizing social media channels and search engine optimization techniques, you will be able to drive even more traffic to your website and therefore, generate more revenue.

The key to getting as much organic traffic as possible is to work on your search engine optimization.  So you choose a specific amount of keywords and key phrases and work on getting your website to page 1 of all major search engines.  By doing this you have a large amount of traffic going to your website simply because you are on the first page of results.  To learn more about how you can monetize your website, check out LookSmart’s Advertising information section.

3 Tips for Effective Display Advertising

3 Tips for Effective Display Advertising

Display advertising has become a very successful and popular concept amongst small and medium businesses as well as larger corporations.  Hundreds of thousands of studies have been done that prove that consumers are more likely to be attracted to images, such as a display ad with your product or service on it.  So here are three tips you should consider when you’re developing your display advertising campaigns.


Don’t have multiple messages in one display ad, keep it basic and easy to read.  When you start adding more content and information, it gets more complicated and each piece of information has to share attention with the other pieces of information on the ad.


Call to Action

Your display ad should have a very clear call to action in it.  The best way to determine just how “clear” your call to action is, is to show your ad to unbiased individuals and see what the first thought is that comes to them.  Your call to action could be directing the user to “Click Here”, “Get Yours Now”, etc.


Be creative!  Once again, so many studies have been done that state that more interactive (images & video) are much more likely to not only attract the attention of the user, but actually convert the user to click on the ad.  So using  attractive graphics and videos are going to be more successful at attracting the consumers attention.

Have some tips for display advertising that you think should have made this article?  Comment below!


3 Tips on How to Monetize Your Blog

So many wonder what the benefits of running a blog are, either for personal use or for business purposes.  I can’t stress enough how important it really is.  A blog is a space for you (whether personal or business) to show off your knowledge, your skills, and find others who are interested in the same topics.  Blogs also boost your search engine optimization so your target audience can find you online.

Another great aspect about blogging is that once you build up a following, you can begin to monetize your blog.  I wouldn’t suggest plastering your blog with ads and pop-ups everywhere as you don’t want to “spam” your visitors.  Here are three tips on how you can ethically and successfully monetize your blog:

Pay Per Click Advertising

Many people assume that pay per click advertising is only a strategy for those interested in acquiring traffic to their blog, but you can actually make revenue as a publisher with pay per click ads.  To do this, you would create an account as a publisher and insert the code onto your website that will generate ads. You can control where the ads will be positioned, what types of ads you want (text, image, video), and what ads you want to show or not (you can block certain ads if you wish).  You can make revenue off of these ads based on either cost per view or cost per click.


Selling Advertising Space

You can advertise real estate space on your blog to others who might be interested in paying a set fee per month (or affiliate link) to advertise.  For example, you could offer a header ad position on your blog to a firm whose visitors would have similiarties to yours.  A great example would be if you blogged about health, fitness, and nutrition, you could off advertising space to fitness clubs, fitness wear, etc.

Paid Reviews

This is a great way to get freebies!  You can offer the service of reviews and giveaways on your blog.  For example, if you run a fitness website you could offer a fitness club to give away a free gym membership and in return they can either pay you for doing a review or they will also provide you with the free product/service.  Word of mouth is one of the most common and successful advertising strategies so if a well-known blogger with substantial followers writes a blog discussing how happy they were with a product or service, brands consider this highly valuable and are usually willing to pay or provide you with lots of free products.