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.

5 Reasons Local Businesses Should Be Utilizing SEO

It’s no secret that search engine optimization is a very powerful marketing tool in today’s world.  These days, almost every consumer does an online search before purchasing a product, so if a consumer comes across your product or service during their search, it can put you ahead of your competition. Here are five reasons you should be utilizing SEO to reach your local customers:

1. Easy Customers

When your get your business to the top of page one on search engines such as,, and it puts you directly in front of your target audience.  So if you have the time, manpower, and budget to aim at getting your website to page 1 on major search engines for specific keywords and key phrases, this can result in very easy conversions for your business.


2. Greater Brand Awareness

As a consumer, I can’t tell you how terrifying it can be when you go to search for a business online that you are considering purchasing from and you can’t find anything about them online.  Today, if a business has nothing online that you can find using search engines, that’s a big red flag to most consumers.  Even if you have a Facebook page or Twitter account that shows up in the search results, it’s better than nothing.

3. Low Cost

Search engine optimization is relatively low cost to actually do.  Most businesses (especially small businesses) don’t have the time available or manpower to not only LEARN SEO, but actually perform it on their own business website.  So it’s best to utilize SEO firms either locally or you can easily hire a firm online.  You can easily find a firm online (more than likely a firm overseas) who will charge you anywhere from $200-$900 per month for SEO services and usually they can provide a turn around time of 3-6 months depending on the competition for your key words and key phrases.

4. Get Ahead of Your Competition

Utilizing SEO is a great way to get ahead of your local competition.  For example, let’s say you operate a flower shop in Santa Monica.  If you can get your website to the top of page 1`on for “flowers Santa Monica”, “Santa Monica flowers”, “Santa Monica flower bouquets” – this automatically puts you ahead of your competition because any time a consumer searches for those key phrases, they are going to see YOUR website first.

5. Hitting Your Target Market

One of the best aspects of search engine optimization as a marketing strategy is the fact that you are targeting your audience HEAD ON.  With other forms of marketing such as direct mail or social media marketing, you market, market, market, with the hopes that you reach SOME of your target audience but wtih SEO, your target audience is in essence, searching for you.

Cyber Monday Grows 27% in 2012

Every consumer in the United States may not have participated in Cyber Monday 2012, but they sure did hear about it!  Cyber Monday 2012 was predicted to generate $1.5 billion in sales in the United States.  The shopping extragavanga grew by 30.3% from Cyber Monday 2011.  Cyber Monday 2012 was so large and successful that IBM named it the biggest online shopping day in history.


This year, Cyber Monday beat Black Friday sales by 36%.  According to IBM, Cyber Monday shoppers perfer to use PCs and laptops to do their online shopping, while 18% used their mobile devices to browse online which actually increased by 70% since Cyber Monday 2011.  Cyber Monday 2012 resulted in mobile device sales of 13% which grew by 96% compared to 2011.

Of course, with such a large crowd of online shoppers, brands were pumping out larger budgets in their pay per click campaigns.  However, a few small and medium business owners asked us, “how can we optimize for Cyber Monday success?”.

Our campaign management team here at LookSmart responded with the following tips and strategies:


  • Create a whole new campaign instead of adjusting currently running campaigns.  You can create one or a few brand new campaigns specifically for Cyber Monday which will keep your account cleaner and more organized.
  • Segment your products accordingly and use past data and statistics to determine which products you expect will do the most successful with consumers on Cyber Monday.
  • Offer a deal!  Consumers love nothing more than getting a great deal on Cyber Monday!  Create a deal, coupon code, etc. and use it in your PPC creatives to lure in consumers.
  • Review and revise your negatives list to ensure you aren’t getting garbage traffic that will lower your return on investment.  Black list any keywords and keyword phrases as required.

Visit LookSmart at SES

Come visit LookSmart at the Search Engine Strategies in San Jose.  Our team of search marketing experts will be on hand to answer all of your questions about LookSmart’s online advertising services.

For those of you interested in buying advertising to promote your web site, products and services, our account managers will be available to demonstrate LookSmart’s pay-per-click services and to help you optimize any campaigns you are currently running.  We’ll also be giving away $300 in free clicks to new advertisers — our way of standing proudly behind our services.

If you’re interested in becoming a LookSmart technology or distribution partner, we’ll have product experts in the booth to explain how LookSmart’s white-labeled AdCenter platform and create opportunities for you to sell advertising to your own direct customers.  Our technology interfaces with other ad serving platforms to give you the ability to build a business on top of existing programs you may already have running on your web sites.

Stop by and visit us at Booth #114 to find out more!

Allen Hammock
Product Marketing Manager