Website visitors brought in from sponsored links are more likely to make a purchase than those from organic search, but how do firms ensure their paid ads get clicked in the first place?

Diana Ransom of the Wall Street Journal said carrying out research both before and during a search engine marketing campaign is crucial to achieving higher conversion rates.

When selecting the keywords for pay per click marketing, it is important to keep an open mind, she added.

Programmes like Google Analytics and Yahoo! Web Analytics will give an idea of the phrases being used by potential customers, as well as the keywords competitors bid for.

Once keywords have been selected, it is essential to continually monitor their performance, Ms Ransom noted.

Another key element of successful PPC marketing is relevance – ads should get straight to the point, while landing pages should be closely linked to the product advertised, she added.

Online marketing could be set for substantial growth this year, after figures from comScore showed the global search market grew by 48 per cent last year.

News brought to you by ClickThrough – a provider of SEO Services & Pay Per Click strategies.

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