Search Engine Marketing Tips, Tricks, and Strategies
We've talked previously about ways to build your email list.
One is providing a way for your website visitors to opt-in to
hear from you. Great idea, right? But as rocker Tom Petty once
said "the waiting is the hardest part." Where are those
elusive site visitors? And how can you attract more of them so
that your list (among other things like sales and brand
recognition) grows faster? Our friend and search engine
expert, Kevin Lee, explains.
Search Engine Marketing Tips, Tricks, and Strategies
by Kevin Lee, CEO of
Now more than ever, marketers are recognizing that search
engines deliver the traffic that can be converted to sales
and newsletter subscriptions (which, of course, may turn
into sales at a later time). The hard part is getting the
targeted search engine traffic you want and need.
Several years ago it was possible, even easy, to get good
search result position in the organic (unpaid) search
results. Now, even if you can get decent organic position
that may not be enough. For example, a search results screen
at Yahoo or MSN for a popular search term such as "travel"
or "healthcare" returns a screen of nearly 100% paid
listings. Scroll down and you still see a large percentage
of paid search results. Even Google has sponsored listings
that are displayed above their "organic" unpaid results.
However, organic search SEO is still important. Make sure
your site is "search engine friendly" by following good
practices, particularly unique title tags, and good
page on your site should have a title tag that starts with
the keyword phrases and words that most accurately
describe the page and also are keywords you would like the
site found for.
- Copy on
the page itself should all be in text form (not graphics)
and should be written with the searcher in mind, using
phrases and keywords that your target audience is likely
to use when looking for you.
- Make the
page "search engine spider friendly" and then make sure
you have directory listings (Yahoo and DMOZ.,org).
- Try to
get appropriate sites to link to you.
Of course you can spend lots of time, energy and money
trying to obtain those elusive top organic natural
placements. But, many marketers have realized that assured
positions and traffic are available through paid listings,
as search engine traffic is always available for a price.
Marketers can buy text-link search results on all of the top
15 search sites as ranked by Media Metrix and NetRatings.
This is called paid SEM (Search Engine Marketing) which is
broken down into four categories: Paid Placement, Directory
Inclusion, Paid Inclusion and Shopping Engines.
The top paid placement vendors are Overture, Google, and
FindWhat. Each of these search traffic vendors has
syndication partners. Overture has Yahoo, MSN and
others, and Google has AOL and Ask Jeeves; so, most of
the traffic you get is from sites that have partnered to
deliver the search traffic.
The top few listings are the only ones syndicated to all
the big sites, and Google and Overture work like
auctions. Argh! That means if you have 500 keywords
listed with three vendors, you have to keep track of
pricing and positioning for 1500 different listings.
More importantly, you should know what you want the
visitor to do after arrival at your site. That action
should be measured so you know which keywords result in
those desired actions.
By knowing what price you paid per click and the
conversion percentage, you can figure out what the cost
per action or order was, as long as you have a good
tracking system. If you need the diversity of lots of
keywords, and don't have great tracking, then consider
using a campaign management company that combines
tracking and automated bid adjustments that take the
efficiency of your keywords into account.
XML Paid Inclusion
Larger sites can take advantage of XML Paid Inclusion.
This service takes their sites (often dynamically
generated sites that are never visited by most search
engine spiders), and converts them into a data stream
similar to what a search engine spider would have
collected. This data is then fed directly into the
search engine databases as if the spider had, in fact,
collected the data.
These XML feeds can be created in two ways: The database
that drives the website can be dumped into a format that
is easy for an XML enabled search engine marketing
agency to work with, or the agency can spider the site
themselves, only more aggressively than a typical search
engine spider would.
After the raw data is collected, some vendors will
machine enhance the data, others will review it
manually, and some agencies will use a combination of
machine enhancement and human editing. Either way, it
makes sense to measure the effectiveness of the XML
listings as some listings may drive lower quality
traffic and may not be a good use of marketing dollars.
Directory Paid Inclusion
Business.com and Looksmart are Paid Directory Inclusion.
Business.com has an annual fee for general inclusion and
standard listings, and a premium service. Looksmart has
moved to a 100% CPC(Cost Per Click) based directory
inclusion. They have a separate XML feed, but the
directory inclusion product is distributed through MSN
and is therefore a good source of traffic, particularly
for search terms of three or more.
It is important to remember that paid inclusion of all
types does not guarantee a position, just inclusion. A
paid inclusion listing or URL will get clicks on a
variety of keyword combinations, just as a natural
organic search listing will. The database from which the
listing is pulled is indifferent to whether the listing
was paid or not, but paid inclusion does give the
marketer some additional control.
There are various tools and services available to make your
job of managing one or more of these types of SEM easier.
Before you select any tools or services, you need to define
your campaign objectives. In the early days of search
marketing, the typical objective was traffic volume. Now
metrics of success tend to be more action oriented such as,
CPO (cost-per-order), CPA (cost-per-action, such as
newsletter sign up), ROAS (return on advertising spending),
and ROI (return on investment).
If you have any questions on search engine marketing (SEM),
SEO, please e-mail me at email@example.com. Also, there is a
FREE White Paper entitled "Search Engine Marketing Best
Practices" to get a copy,
is chief executive officer of Did-it.com, Inc.
rely on Did-it's automated systems to manage paid search
results campaigns in auction and XML paid inclusion
vendors based on their CPO/CPA data. Kevin and the Did-it
team have been helping marketers since 1996.
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