Complete Search Engine Marketing

December 27th, 2023 by dayat Leave a reply »

Search Engine Marketing is the process of leveraging the usage of search engines to create website exposure for a company.

Fundamentals of Search Engine Marketing
At its core, Search Engine Marketing leverages user intent by optimizing an organic or paid search listing around that specific user’s intent. Instead of blind placements on billboards, mass mailings, and the like, Search Engine Marketing serves up specific advertising via ad creative or search listing based on what the user is actually looking for.
The premise of Search Engine Marketing will provide the most relevant result after a keyword query is entered, in the form of a title, description, and URL, whether it is organic or paid. There is much more control over these factors, known as “creatives” in paid search, but organic search results allow some customizing here as well. Depending on the relevance of your listing and how well it matches to the intent they have in mind, they will chose to either click-through to your site or not.
Why Search Engine Marketing?
Search Engine Marketing, as an advertising and marketing channel, continues to grow its national and international reach and offers businesses and consumers the first true worldwide platform to conduct business. Industry statistics continue to show that more advertisers and consumers are searching to buy and sell what they need.
• In a study done by Pew Internet & American Life Project from 2000 – 2005, using search to find information was done by 90% of all internet users in the US. This number came in second to only Email users at 91%. According to March 2007 data from Neilson/Netratings, about 209 Million people in the US have internet access, which means that about 188 Million of them use search engines regularly.
• According to a statistical survey done by Hitwise in March, 2007, of the top 20 most popular websites on the internet, 18 of which are wholly owned by search engines. These websites make up for 26.85% of all website traffic on the internet. They include the search, Email, music and social media industries. The lone exceptions being and Of those top 20 websites, the Google, Yahoo, AOL and MSN contextual, image and video search interfaces make up for 14.23% of all website traffic.
• In a scientific study conducted by Eyetools and Enquiro, the top three organic listings are viewed 100% of the time. The lower positioned listings get incrementally less attention as follows: rank 4 (85%), rank 5 (60%) rank 6 & 7 (50%), rank 8 and 9 (30%), rank 10 (10%). In that same study they found that the top paid search listing is viewed 50% of the time, with lower positioned listings getting incrementally less attention as follows: rank 2 (40%), rank 3 (30%), rank 4 (20%), rank 5-8 (10%).
• Based on comScore data from February, 2007, Google is the leading search provider in volume with 3.3 Billion searches per month. Yahoo scores 2 Billion, MSN: 730 Million, Ask: 348 Million and AOL serves 338 Million. These statistics show that the 5 major search networks were responsible for over 6.7 Billion searches per month or about 35.6 searches per user.
Attributes of Pay Per-click Marketing
Pay Per-click advertising works by charging the advertiser a set auction price that they establish for each keyword. Every time that ad is clicked, the advertiser pays that set amount. PPC advertising has both distinct advantages, which at the same time can be considered shortcomings, over search engine optimization and other forms of interactive and traditional marketing.
Being the latest and greatest in interactive and on-line marketing, PPC advertising offers guaranteed placement, complete transparency and analysis down to a very granular level. Through the use of built-in search engine tools, commonly available analytics, and tracking techniques, the marketer can track when the ad was clicked, how much they paid for that click, what that user did after that click on the site, and whether or not that click was converted into a conversion. They can then take that data, analyze their entire campaign, determine how successful their spend vs. return was and make an educated decision on how to improve that effort.
Campaign-wide decisions and changes can be made by quickly analyzing a set of data and making a few simple clicks with PPC thus giving it a distinct advantage over any other type of interactive media.
Because it is now considered mainstream, everyone from major international corporations to mom-and-pop shops are bidding on the same industry keywords, driving up click costs considerably. The strategy of taking a loss on a click but taking the chance of a consumer becoming a lifetime value customer is known as volume bidding and is sometimes employed by new companies looking to brand their name causing smaller companies struggling to compete.
Click fraud is another shortcoming where automated robot programs or manual ‘clickers’ perform erroneous or intentional clicking on PPC ads without any intention to view the site or make a purchase. Another issue is trust: the users that are aware that they are clicking on sponsored listings tend to assume (correctly) that the site is trying to sell them something. Statistics show that a majority of searches are information-based so not all consumers will want to be overwhelmed with sales pitches on the site.
Attributes of Search Engine Optimization
Coined sometime in 1995 or 1996, “SEO” is the process of modifying the layout, navigation, content and popularity of a website to improve the chances of ranking higher in the “organic” or “algorithmic” search results. Ever since the rise of Google in 2001, external link popularity has become a major aspect of search engine optimization. SEO has some great merits that have helped it stay on top as one of the most effective interactive marketing methods around, but some of the basic aspects of SEO are also shortcomings that must be considered.
Search engine optimization tends to be less expensive than PPC advertising in the long-run. Attaining positive results through good navigation, content and link profile requires a lot of initial optimization work but with time, as those results appear, the long-term costs tend to decrease. SEO has also been known to have a slightly higher conversion rate than PPC advertising, thus improving the return on the marketing dollar.
Organic listings tend to have higher click-through volume which is an advantage over PPC advertising because you are not paying for each click. You can also use log file analysis and server-side analytics software to track the path of the user and various data points such as which keywords they used to get to the site, the conversion rate for organic results and project your final ROI. Additionally, organic search engine optimization can show results for long tail and obscure search queries that you have never thought about. Google statistics recently pointed out that 50% of all Google queries are wholly unique – meaning half of all search traffic is hitting the long tail of keyword search. It is this long tail that is easy to optimize and rank well for—you just have to find it.
With search engine optimization – search engine guidelines, best practices and algorithms are often updated and changed. What may have worked a year ago may not necessarily work today making SEO an art form that is incredibly hard to keep up with.
Compared to PPC advertising, SEO is also difficult to change once everything is in place. It may take a year or more to optimize a site to rank well for a particular search term. If that search term is discovered to not convert well after all that time, you cannot simply switch to another keyword. Changes often require the collaboration between multiple departments such as IT, Marketing, Sales, Legal, Copywriting and SEO.
More of the Good, less of the Bad
The basic premise of PPC advertising is to get more traffic out of the ‘good’ keywords, and less out of the ‘bad.’
1. Bidding – Bidding is the most basic strategy, where you bid down on ‘bad’ keywords to get less traffic, and bid up on ‘good’ keywords to get more traffic. Bad keywords can be defined as words that are less relevant and convert worse than good keywords.
2. Building – When a ‘good’ keyword is in the right position and is converting at a profitable metric, PPC marketers will build-out and expand that keyword, such as using different variations like ‘pens,’ ‘buy pen,’ ‘custom pen,’ and so forth, to get more traffic from similar keywords.
3. Subtracting – Negative keywords allow you to make a semantic distinction between two words with the same meaning. For example, if you are a company that has a keyword “windows for sale,” you would not want to be coming up on searches for Microsoft Windows because that would yield a 0% conversion rate as your website would be totally irrelevant to those looking for information on the operating system.
4. Testing Landing Pages – Unique domain landing pages can be built specifically to act as the destination for a specific set of keyword creatives. This method often leads to higher conversion rates because the user is taken to a page that is highly relevant to what they are searching for.
5. A/B Split testing – A/B split testing is performed by supplying search engines with 2 unique ad creatives and defining when and where each is shown. This allows the marketer to test which creative will yield the higher CTC Rate.
6. Multi Variant Testing – Landing page or multi variant testing involves analyzing multiple landing pages that deliver a different layout, call to action, conversion form or message. Often times, simply moving one part of the page to another area and changing some of the wording can significantly alter usability and conversion rate.
7. Day-Parting – Day-Parting analysis is useful when the business has specific limitations or previous testing has shown that certain ads perform better at certain times. If, for examples, your call center is operational only at a certain time, you can select your “Click here to speak to an operator” ads to only run during those times and not waste money on clicks that will yield to phone calls going to voicemail. Day-Parting allows for maximum return on the marketing dollar in these situations.
8. Geo Targeting – A company that sells products or services only in specific geographical area can geo-target ads to only run in the designated areas that you select. This technique allows users that are most likely to buy your products in that geographical location to see and click on your ads.
SEO Techniques
1. Content – In the field of SEO, it is often said that “Content is king.” High quality, useful and relevant content is one of the main aspects of SEO. Simply duplicating other site’s content will hurt more than it helps. Good, creative product descriptions and copywriting will also help generate high quality inbound links which are also an integral part of the organic ranking algorithm.
2. Link Profile – High quality link development that is highly targeted to the content on the page will be how to get ranked for ultra competitive keywords. The goal is to get backlinks with the keyword you are focusing that page on in the anchor text of the link to point directly to that page. It will further help if that linking site is somehow related to your site and has few other outgoing links to other sites and many back to it.
3. Navigation and Indexation – Navigation and indexation are the very basis of any site and are crucial to being listed in organic search results. Search engines will send crawlers or spiders to your site via external inbound links that can only follow text links for navigation. If the site is coded entirely in flash, JavaScript, or images, the crawler will have nothing to read: it can only read HTML text. Further, using strategically placed words in the anchor text of your navigational text links will help the search engines determine what the page you are linking to is about and therefore improve your ranking on that page for the keywords on which is it focusing.
4. Web 2.0 – Web 2.0 is a broad definition encompassing image search (Flickr), video search (YouTube), social media optimization (blogs), social media marketing (Digg), and user generated content (Wikipedia). These emerging marketing avenues and venues have provided a new medium for the development of the core SEO premises: content and link development. Leveraging the power of Web 2.0 can bring significant amounts of traffic to your site.
Combining PPC and SEO Methodologies
The experienced internet marketer will understand the need to use both PPC advertising and search engine optimization in their internet marketing efforts as both paid search and organic search is important and here’s why:
• Studies prove that when a user sees the website or brand name on the search results in both the organic areas and the paid, they tend to have more trust in that brand.
• As the trust in the brand is established, the user is likely to click on organic listings which will not cost the advertiser any money.
• Increased impressions of a listing will remain in the memory of the user, possibly bringing them back to that brand or search query later on.
• If you have multiple pages that are relevant to a specific keyword or broad phrase match; you can optimize a content-rich page to rank in the organic listings while guaranteed results for a less optimized page can be paid for.
Successful internet marketing should use both paid and organic search techniques. The difficulty is how to best integrate the goals to generate the best potential outcome. Here are some of the techniques to use: Your main (top level) domain should always be optimized with proper usage of keyword focus, content development, code optimization, server-side setup, keyword prominence, link acquisition, and the main purpose of informing and having the full conversion functionality. At the same time, you can build what are called “micro sites,” which are prettier and more conversion-driven sites on new domains that are built with a specific set of keywords and high conversion rate in mind. This will encourage a greater conversion rate than your main domain that is more content-heavy and broad that will require the user move around the site.
In addition, micro sites that are just one page will rank lower than those with multiple pages that have the feel of real sites. Try and include a few pages connected via text links such as an “About Us” page, “Contact Us” page, “FAQ” page and search function page.
The most valuable aspect of combining your PPC advertising and search engine optimization is the use of paid search data to quantify, measure, and strategize your organic search campaign. Running the paid search campaign will allow you to test various keywords, implement different creatives, and determine how much you are willing to spend and what your potential return may be.
Paid Search Challenges
The PPC advertising challenges facing this particular music download website and its company involve the complexities of scale. The music industry has many possible variants on keywords such as artist names, song titles, album titles, lyrics, record labels and many others. Scaling the keyword development and creative writing for the industry was a major hurdle requiring a significant initial investment. This industry is one with constantly evolving keywords: there are always new artists, songs, and albums being released and the company needed to keep up with each new aspect. Meanwhile, each search engine ad network has a different set of guidelines and interfaces that the company had to mold its campaigns around.
The music industry is highly competitive and keyword bid prices are constantly on the rise. Requiring the need of a campaign management team with a tight focus on conversion and maximizing the ad spend; the bidding and customer acquisition strategy was constantly audited, evaluated, and tuned.
The psychology of the user interested in legal music downloads had to also be taken into consideration with advanced PPC advertising techniques. The psychology of the free music download user is that of an ‘I-want-it-now’ consumer, and the usability aspect had to be optimized through negative keywords, landing pages, A/B split testing, multi-variant testing, day-parting, geo-targeting, web design and usability testing to match the consumer’s requirements.
Organic Search Challenges
Scale is also an issue with organic search and search engine optimization. The particular website has over 100,000 unique pages active, 90,000 indexed by various search engines, and adds about 500 new pages per day. Therefore, the IT team, in collaboration with the SEO and copywriting teams, had to figure out a way to automatically add various on-page and code elements such as the Title tags, Meta data, and content.
As for content and copywriting needs, since there are so many different ways to structure content around every aspect in the industry (artist, song title, album, and related information), a copywriting team was required for research and the development of unique, optimized content for each particular artist, song release and album.
The most challenging aspect of SEO for the site has been high quality link development. It is also the most challenging part to do correctly because it is the sole aspect that you cannot directly control. Many links tend to be un-optimized due to the limited amount of inbound link acquisition and the strict amount of control exacted on linking qualities. In this scenario, the company developed and fine-tuned an internal linking structure that best leveraged that attained link profile by imparting relevance factors in its navigational structure.
Other Search Engine Marketing Considerations
Web Design:
Web design can have a significant impact on both paid and organic search results as well as the user experience on the site. By not complying with noted search engine best practices in your HTML code, search engines can potentially decrease your organic search ranking.
The use of complex graphics, on-page scripts or image-based navigation are not search engine friendly and will harm the indexation of your pages and navigational ability of crawlers on the site. Web design and W3C compliance also impact usability. A website with HTML markup errors can lead to poor user experience due to missing page elements, resolution non-compliance, cross-browser display issues and mobile devise layout problems. A poor web design may also be unappealing to end-users. Better calls to action, simpler navigation, clearer fonts, faster load times and a “Web 2.0” design layout will usually merit a better conversion rate.
Analysis of success and failure is an integral part of any marketing campaign. In the case of the internet, websites, and search marketing, that need is exponentially greater.
A good log file analytics program will help determine which pages are converting better than others and why and also allow you to analyze many small data points on a very granular level. Most modern analytics programs allow you to test:
• keyword usage


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