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Getting a Leg Up on Google

An advertising boutique lets online search engines do the findingWhen Hammerhead Advertising in Hoboken wanted to break out of the clutter of marketing firms, it turned to the Internet. The company invested $1,100 last year for listings on online directories like And just to make sure that no one missed its name, Hammerhead retained OneUpWeb, a Michigan search-optimization firm, at a cost of some $25,000 a year to get its Website high on the results for popular search engines such as Google and Yahoo!
The increased visibility soon helped bring Hammerhead new clients. Component Hardware Group of Lakewood hired the firm to develop an advertising campaign for Saniguard, an anti-microbial technology that prevents the spread of bacteria, mold and mildew on kitchen surfaces. Other newcomers include Tigex, a French manufacturer of baby products with an office in Montclair, and buybuy Baby, a retailer of baby cribs and clothing with eight stores, including two in New Jersey. Hammerhead won the buybuy Baby account away from the retailer?s longtime agency in New York City.
John Perls, who cofounded Hammerhead with Todd McVey, says the new accounts brought some $350,000 worth of billings to the 5-year-old firm, which operates out of renovated factory loft and had some $5 million of billings in 2004. The edgy, boutique agency is currently hiring a new account executive to bolster its roster of six employees. Past campaigns have included Thanksgiving ads for Chef Central, a culinary retailer based in Paramus that features a turkey made of forks, spatulas, cheese graters and other utensils.
OneupWeb uses its software to anticipate search-engine rankings. Typing ?nj ad agency? into Google or Yahoo! brings up the Hammerhead name high on the listings.
Perls insists this isn?t cheating. ?They?re trying to make it better for you and me when we do a search, so
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that we?re getting relevant information,? he says of OneupWeb.
Hammerhead?s Website was initially overlooked because it featured artwork that Google indexing robots couldn?t spot while searching for key words. So Hammerhead revamped its site to make it easier to find and more appealing once online users got there.
?You need to make sure your site looks like something and communicates who you are so that people pick up the telephone to call you,? says Perls, who estimates that business has grown as much as 25% thanks to the redesigned Website and search-engine marketing. ?We get a call a week from our Website,? says Perls. ?It?s significant traffic. We continue to make money from it.?
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