Web marketing is a broad category of advertising that may include search engine marketing  (SEM), search engine optimization  (SEO), email marketing, banner advertising, social media optimization (SMO)  strategies and other forms of online outreach. SEM and specifically pay-per-click marketing  (PPC) are fast-growing advertising methods for all kinds of businesses, and it's no wonder: PPC is relatively easy to carry out in-house, scalable and highly cost-efficient—if done correctly.
So what's the "correct" way to do PPC  as part of your Web marketing strategy? Implementing a few basic best practices will ensure that your Web marketing efforts demonstrate strong ROI:
- Start with solid keyword research: Keyword research  is the foundation of successful Web marketing. Make sure yours is personalized and data-driven.
- Group and organize your keywords: Keyword grouping  enables far more strategic Web marketing for both PPC and SEO  campaigns.
- Commit to ongoing, iterative Web marketing: To see continuous benefits, make sure you're continuously updating and improving your search campaigns.
You'll be able to follow these best practices with more ease and consistency with the help of the right Web marketing tools. Read on to learn how WordStream, a unique keyword management  and inbound marketing system , can play a role in your search marketing strategy.
Web Marketing 101: Start with Effective Keyword Research
Many aspects of Web marketing, but in particular PPC search  marketing and SEO, begin with keyword research—the discovery  and analysis of words and phrases  that people use when searching (via search engines) for a particular product or service. The keywords specific to your market or vertical may seem obvious, but you'd be surprised how often common sense fails when it comes to keyword research and search advertising . Brainstorming and intuition won't cut it for the serious Web marketer—you need to back up your decisions with real-world data.
So where do you find that data? Most Web marketers turn to a handful of keyword suggestion tools , like Keyword Discovery and the Google AdWords keyword tool . However, these third-party keyword tools  aren't necessarily the best way to accomplish your keyword research. They can actually put you at a disadvantage for Web marketing, leaving you with keyword data that is:
- Inaccurate: These tools return a limited list of very generalized, popular keywords  that aren't necessarily relevant to your business niche. What's more, the traffic stats are dubious estimates.
- Static: Most keyword tools are built for one-time use—few users go back and update their research.
- Nonproprietary: Finally, any publicly available keyword tools  provide publicly available keyword data. Do you really want to base your Web marketing strategy on the exact same keywords as everyone else? Where's the competitive advantage in that?
There's a better way to research keyword opportunities  for your website marketing: Listen to your visitors! You can mine your own website data to get the most accurate, relevant keywords  for your business. And the best part is, your keyword research will be completely proprietary and private, so you can practice Web marketing with a sharp competitive edge.
WordStream's keyword discovery solution parses the private data in your Web analytics  and log files to build your keyword database. Since these are the actual keywords  that real people have used to find your website, you'll know you're basing your Web marketing decisions on the right data.
Group Your Keywords for More Effective Web Marketing
Most Web marketers grasp the importance of keyword research, but the importance of keyword grouping to pay-per-click  and SEO campaigns is severely undersold. Effective segmentation and organization of your keyword taxonomy can make a huge difference to your Web marketing results. Here's why:
- Increased relevance: It's much easier to write specific, relevant Web copy and PPC ads  for small, targeted keyword groups.
- Increased exposure: Ads and landing pages  that are highly relevant to the search query achieve higher rankings, more impressions and higher click-through rates  (CTRs).
- Lower costs: Search engines reward demonstrated relevance and high CTR by further favoring your ads and pages in the SERPs  and lowering your cost per click—so your Web marketing is more cost-effective.
WordStream search marketing software  is an extremely efficient means of grouping your keywords. Our search marketing tools  actually suggest appropriate keyword groups based on frequency and relevancy (i.e., the amount of traffic and/or goals those keywords are driving). You can preview these groups and create them by clicking a button; the software automatically sorts dozens, hundreds or thousands of keywords according to your specifications and organizes your groups and subgroups into a visualized hierarchy:
Imagine how much longer this requisite Web marketing task would take in a spreadsheet!
You Get Out of Web Marketing What You Put Into It
Web marketing is kind of like marriage. You really do have to keep working at it—maybe not for the rest of your life, but certainly for as long as you want to see gains in Web traffic  and sales. Static keyword lists and search campaigns will net you static results, so serious Web marketers need to commit to continuous effort.
Try WordStream's Web Marketing Toolset Free
Whether you're just delving into the world of Web marketing or you're a PPC marketing  whiz, WordStream's Web marketing solutions can improve your advertising ROI while increasing productivity. Learn more about WordStream and our AdWords Services :