Articles in The 'SEO' Tag

March 19 2008

The “Marketing” In Search Engine Marketing

by MoreVisibility

I studied marketing in business school and one of the most important things that has always stuck with me was the 5 P’s of Marketing — People, Place, Product, Promotion and Price. I later realized that some people were taught less than 5 and I personally came to believe that there should be 6 — Profit should matter as well.

More companies are realizing that SEM is a valid and important strategy, but many of them are not approaching it in the same way that they approach traditional marketing. People working in the SEM/SEO industry blog about these kinds of clients all the time — those that think it is as simple as picking a few keywords, throwing up an ad on a search engine and bidding more than everyone else to get the top spot.

This is not the process for traditional marketing and should not be for SEM. I have outlined how a company should use the 5 Ps to plan a paid search campaign better.

People — Who are you targeting? Targeting businesses instead of consumers means that you should be taking advantage of specific engines. Google, Yahoo and MSN are not the only options for paid search campaigns.

Place — Where are your customers? Most paid search platforms allow you to target specific states, cities or even choose your own radius from a specific point on a map. Not every company needs to target the entire USA so use geo-targeting to your advantage.

Product — What are you selling? Too many paid search ads do not clearly focus on the product and instead try to focus on the company. More importantly, the landing page for the advertisement needs to quickly explain what the product/service is. It makes no sense to spend money to get a lead only to provide them with a terrible landing page containing little product information.

Promotion — Are you promoting properly? Return on investment is usually proportional to the amount of promotion (though after a certain point saturation adds little value). Search engines like Google offer the option to show ads as quickly as possible or show evenly over time. If you have a sale/incentive with a specific end date, are you taking advantage of this option?

Price — The price of a product/service always matters and should be communicated on the landing page as quickly as possible. Searchers treat a landing page like finding a product on the shelf and they expect to quickly find the price, not carry it to a cashier for a price check.

ProfitThis is my addition and it is important because it helps to determine what you could be bidding for your ads. Higher margins provide more room to adjust bids, but higher bids do not automatically mean more sales, so be careful not to overbid. All advertisers should test lower bids and not always aim to be in the #1 position. The lower position could very well result in a better return on investment based on the cost per conversion.

I hope that I have helped you to see where the “marketing” comes into play in search engine marketing.

March 13 2008

Back to Basics

by MoreVisibility

With all the advanced internet marketing tactics out there; I thought it might be a good time to get back to the basics. Not everyone is as experienced as the next; and with all the different techniques and terms, it’s easy for a beginner to get confused. The purpose of this post is to help novice internet marketers and business owners get a grasp of some common terminologies being used within internet marketing.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Search engine optimization is the process of enhancing your website’s architecture to achieve higher organic rankings within the search engines. SEO is a continuous process that should be implemented on a daily basis. There are many tactics to search engine optimization; and the qualifications set by the engines are dynamic and ever changing.

SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing. Many people easily get confused between SEO and SEM. Search engine marketing refers to your paid efforts within the search engines. Aside from natural results, most search engines also have a space for paid search listings. These paid listings usually appear at the top and on the right hand side of the search results page. There are different formulas that the engines use to determine the rank of your paid listing. Some engines rank you solely based upon the price you are willing to pay per click; and some base the rankings upon a number of factors, including but not limited to, keyword bid, click through rate, ad copy, and relevant content on your website/landing page. Most engines operate their paid listings on a PPC basis. PPC stands for pay per click. This method allows the advertiser to only pay for actual clicks as opposed to other methods such as CPM; where the advertiser is paying for every 1,000 impressions. With PPC an ad may appear in the search results 10,000 times, but if the ad was only clicked on ten times, you are only paying for 10 clicks. This structure is very attractive to advertisers as they are solely paying to drive relevant traffic to their website that should result in an increase in conversion rates.

CPC stands for cost per click. This refers to the dollar amount you are willing to pay for a visitor to your website. Depending on your industry and competition; CPC’s can range from $0.01 to $10, $20 or even $50. Remember that when determining your ad’s placement, many search engines now take more factors into account than just your CPC.

ROAS stands for Return On Ad Spend. When it all boils down; ROAS may be the most important metric to study. A great advantage to SEO and SEM, as opposed to more traditional marketing methods, is that you are able to track your ROAS more closely. With all of the analytic programs out there, it is relatively easy to monitor your efforts and fine tune them as needed; ultimately increasing your ROAS.

March 13 2008

Resistance Is Futile: Is the Merger Innovation or Assimilation? (Part 1 / 3)

by Michelle Stone

With Microsoft’s unsolicited bid to purchase Yahoo, how would such a merger affect the Internet, especially where search technology is concerned?

By now, everyone — even those who aren’t addicted to the news or the Internet — has heard of Microsoft’s unsolicited bid to purchase Yahoo for a proposed $44.6 billion dollars. We’ve even touched on the subject in an earlier post. As the merger appears to be more and more likely, what exactly does the deal mean for US? How will it affect the way we use the Internet the day after the merger’s done? Or how we use it a month after? Two months after?

Before we start worrying about how we will research a new topic or how our favorite websites will fare, keep in mind that even if Yahoo runs out of options things won’t change overnight. Say that Microsoft finally succeeds in purchasing Yahoo. Given the scope of the buyout, there will be an anti-trust review in the United States. Once that has been completed, there will be another anti-trust review, one that is much lengthier and under the jurisdiction of the European Union. Should the buyout pass those two anti-trust rounds, there is the larger issue of assimilating Yahoo into the larger Microsoft whole. And that will take time.

Assimilation of Yahoo presents cultural and technological problems for Microsoft to overcome. Many of their products and technologies overlap and Microsoft will have to decide which will be combined or which will be eliminated. That in itself is a lengthy process, particularly in terms of combining products and technologies. Additionally, there are cultural concerns. Yahoo has long modeled itself as a fun-loving online company with an open-source technological model. Microsoft’s culture is more corporate and focuses on proprietary software. When the two cultures collide, there will be casualties.

Which leads us back to…how will this affect our Internet? The one we know today?

In the short term, the merger won’t have an impact outside of share prices and continued speculation in the blogosphere. The approval and assimilation processes alone should take years to complete. Add to that the fact that Google has voiced concerns regarding innovation on the Internet and has even taken the step of forming a lobbying campaign to block a Microsoft — Yahoo merger.

So, what of innovation? How different will the Internet be after such a historic union? How much will things really change once all is said and done? Stay tuned. In the next installment, we’ll take a closer look at the advancements made by Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google to see if we can determine how our use of the Internet might change post-merger.

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