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Taking the Pain Out of Search Engine Marketing

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Taking the Pain Out of Search Engine MarketinThey don't call it a Google AdWords campaign for nothing.

Fighting to stay on top in the paid-search wars is a never ending series of battles -- tasking small-business owners with simultaneously playing the roles of search term commanding general, quartermaster and foot soldier.

Although managing pay-per-click campaigns can be a hard slog -- requiring constant tinkering to keywords and bids to be effective -- a new service aims to take the pain out of the process.

WordWatch, a cloud-based pay-per-click bidding service, offers users its version of the kind of algorithm-based, automated bid-management tool that larger companies enjoy -- but for less money.

Think, big company paid-search optimization in a little box.

Here's how it works: WordWatch syncs with the user's Google Adwords and Analytics account. The web application downloads data from a firm's datastore every night and automatically analyzes the data, compares that to Web-wide statistics and then actually makes fresh cost-per-click bids based on WordWatch algorithms.

The service can be customized to meet different goals. For example, you can tell WordWatch you want the highest number of clicks at the lowest possible cost per click. Or, you can tell WordWatch to focus on certain keywords that drive the most sales. The service also generates a reasonable amount of reporting and has many controls.

Like all automated services, it is never quite that simple, however. You still need some sort of audit tool, so you can track your bids. You should also do some basic comparative testing to ensure that WordWatch is actually making progress against some benchmark. Though, no tool can make up for a feeble paid-search strategy, so you'll need to first make sure your overall strategy is solid. But done right, WordWatch can take much of the grunt work out of bid and monitoring of paid search terms.

The service starts at $29 per month to make bids on up to 100 keywords on one account. An intermediate is $49 per month for three accounts and up to 5,000 keywords. The premium subscription provides for unlimited accounts and 50,000 keywords. A 30-day free trial is available on all accounts.

What's the worst thing about managing your company's search-engine marketing strategy? Leave a comment and let us know.

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