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Telephone: 415.215.2153
E-Mail:  DesignCarte@comcast.net
Site: www.DesignCarte.com
Download:  SEO/SEM
Author:  Margaret A. Root, DesignCarté - Web Design, Production - Maintenance, SEO/SEM, Software Training, Updated: 2010


“Without promotion something terrible happens… NOTHING!!"  P.T. Barnum, 19th Century Circus & Sideshow Promoter
Are you looking for ways to increase traffic to your website? Of course you are.

87% of web surfers do not bother to look beyond the first page of search results.  Instead, they modify their search terms to get the results they are looking for.

SE Market Share:

  • Ask: 1.1%
  • AOL: 2.2%
  • Google:  79.9%
  • MSN Live: 4.8%
  • Yahoo:  11.0%


Search Engine sites recognize the importance of their technology and are trying to cash in on site owner’s reliance on search engine rankings.  Most search engines offer a listing shortcut service in exchange or a one-time fee.  These will reduce the wait for listing to a matter of days. However, keep in mind you will need to pay this fee for all search engines to which you wish to be listed immediately.  You may wish to pay for rapid listing on only one or perhaps a few search engines.  This will allow you to gauge the results you will see from your paid listing.

Some sites will even sell top-ranking on their search results page.  This can be a very effective means of reaching your customers, however, it comes at a cost that you will need to justify as part of your overall marketing costs.

Everyone wants those good listings. Unfortunately, many web sites appear poorly in search engine rankings or may not be listed at all because they fail to consider how search engines work.  In particular, submitting to search engines is only part of the challenge of getting good search engine positioning. It's also important to prepare a web site through "search engine optimization."

Online Advertising Popular Venues [Sponsored Ads] *SEM: 

Banner Ads, Contextual Ads, Display Ads, Pay Per Click/PPC, Cost Per Click/CPC [ i.e Google (TM) AdWords, Yahoo (R), Search Marketing
(R), MSN (R) Sponsored Sites, Pop-Ups.  Normally, ads appear at the top of the page and along the side i.e. Google, other engines display depending on their own in-house qualifiers, what will make them the most money.

Paid searches offer prime visibility on a particular search result page, and a reasonable amount of control over them as to when and where your site appears to those searching.  Each time an individual clicks on such an ad, the SE charges the advertiser's account for each "click-through".

Your website absolutely MUST be listed in the first 20 to 30 search results, or you'll get almost zero traffic from the search engines.  Being found in the world's ultimate haystack by common search engines is critical to Internet marketing, success.  There are more than 180 million web sites and literally billions of pages of text, images, and now days video.  And the current growth rate? 1.3 million new web sites a month.

Improved ranking means better placement on a SE results page, equating to more site visitors; this in turn improves your visibility, and bottom line, your sales.  Success breeds success.

*SEM includes SEO (Search Engine Optimization) under its umbrella.


Search Engine Optimization (SEO) means ensuring that your web pages are accessible to search engines and focused in ways that help improve the chances they will be found.  Search engines are one of the primary ways that Internet users find web sites. That's why a web site with good search engine listings may see a dramatic increase in traffic.  [MORE - SEO Information]

Pay Per Click [PPC]/Cost Per Click [CPC]: 

  • Quick web site exposure
  • First page search results
  • Marketing Statistics, feedback, keyword tracking
  • Specific and controlled costs

SE's reward good results; which improves your ad placement and rates. The reason is good results equate to SE credibility.  Therefore, its critical that your paid ad links directly to a relevant *URL page in your web site.

URL (Uniform Resource Locater): Absolute

A Complete path, or address, of a file on the Internet.  Sometimes called a complete URL.  URL's are the global addresses of documents and other resources on the World Wide Web.

A search engine works by sending out a "spider" to fetch as many documents as possible. Another program, called an "indexer", then reads these documents and creates an index based on the words contained in each document (site-page). Each search engine uses a proprietary algorithm to create its indices such that, ideally, only meaningful results are returned for each query. There are actually three different kinds of search sites: search engines, search directories (i.e. Yahoo!), and Meta searchers.

The Web is a lot like a really really big library. There are millions of things out there, and if you know the URL (in effect a kind of call number) you can get them. Since the Web has books, movies, and pizza joints, the number of ways you might want to look things up includes all the things a library uses, plus all the things the video store uses, plus all the things the Yellow Pages use, and lots more.

The problem at the moment is that there is hardly any meta-data on the Web. So how do we find things? Mostly by using dumb, brute force techniques. The dumb, brute force is supplied by the wandering web robots of search engine sites like Google, Altavista, Lycos etc. These sites do the equivalent of going through the library, reading every book, and allowing us to look things up based on the words in the text. It's not surprising that people complain about search results, or that the robots are always way behind the growth and change of the Web.

Improving The Odds -- "Search Engine Optimization" (SEO) refers to the act of altering your site so that it may rank well for particular terms, especially with crawler-based search engines.

Let's assume there was a way to increase the odds of winning by picking your lottery numbers carefully. Search engine optimization is akin to this. It's making sure that the numbers you select are more likely to win than purchasing a set of numbers at random.

Typically, search engines are completely automated, and they are comprised of a large database that is queried through their Web page. A typical user will enter a search term when searching on the Internet. If that search term is not present anywhere on your web page(s), your site will not come up in the Search Engine results. Web site owners can add their site to this database by filling in a form or two, which instructs a "spider" to visit the submitted URL address.  

Banner Ads: 1%
Targeted E-mail: 1.2%
TV Spots: 1.4%
"By Accident": 2.1%
Magazine Ads: 4.4%
Word-of-Mouth: 20%
Random Surfing: 20%
Search Engines: 46%


What is a meta search engine? A meta search engine is a search engine that searches other search engines! i.e. Searches Google, or Yahoo for instance! These engines query a host of databases simultaneously and returns the results to you in one list. True meta search engines represent a significant advancement in the science of searching the web.

The major advantage of a meta search engine is the ability to access a cross section of engines on the web thereby greatly enhancing the coverage of your search. And a good meta search engine provides significantly more coverage than any one engine can, all within the same few seconds it takes to search any one engine.

META searchers include:
Ask Jeeves -- http://www.askjeeves.com, and
Dogpile -- http://www.dogpile.com.

Because META Search Engines only query other databases, you can't add your URL. However, if your URL is listed in the databases it checks, your site will come up in relevant searches.

If you are a web developer/or site owner, you should know how your customers and website visitors use the search engines. For example, if you are a graphic designer it will be very useful to know what searches your potential target audience is doing. This will allow you to find the best combination of keywords for your website.

It's worth taking the time to make your site more search engine friendly, because some simple changes may pay off with big results. Even if you don't come up in the top ten for your target keywords, you may find an improvement for target keywords you aren't anticipating. The addition of just one extra word can suddenly make a site appear more relevant, and it can be impossible to guess what that word will be.  In terms of website building you can build the most interesting site, however, if people do not know about it, they will NOT come.  So what can you do then to promote your site?

Do not forget in all your efforts to promote your site, that the site itself is perhaps the most effective tool to promote your business.  If your site is well-designed and you offer a product or service customers want, your customers will tell their friends, family, colleagues, even complete strangers, about your site.  Selling customers on your site and product or service leads to the most cost-effective means of advertising – word-of-mouth advertising.

Also, remember that while search engines are a primary way people look for web sites, they are not the only way. People also find sites through word-of-mouth, traditional advertising, the traditional media, newsgroup postings, web directories and links from other sites. Many times, these alternative forms are far more effective draws than are search engines.  Often search engine marketing articles ignore the fact that a large portion of Internet users - that know exactly where they are going because they have seen a site address on another website, on a flyer, etc.  Sometimes it is more important to get one customer who wants to find your site, rather than 100 visitors just browsing sites in a search engine.

So, instead of chasing the 1st page ranking on all search engines, you may wish to put your energies into offline promotions, listing your site in the yellow pages, newspaper classifieds, trade magazines or other areas.  Be creative!  Sometimes the simplest idea is the one that brings you the most customers.

Finally, know when it's time to call it quits. A few changes may be enough to make you tops in one or two search engines. But that's not enough for some people, and they will invest days creating special pages and changing their sites to try and do better. This time could usually be put to better use pursuing non-search engine publicity methods.

  • Use the “Recommend This Site” element in your web design/layout so your visitors can send your site address to others if they feel they would be interested.

  • Add "Customer Testimonials" to your site to lend “credibility” and “showcase” your best customers.

  • Use “Mailing List” elements to set up a “Customer Mailing List” for promoting sales or providing information about new products or services. i.e. Newsletters

  • Add a “Guest Book” element to collect visitor comments.

  • Revise and update your site content to give customers a reason to return.  Keep your site "fresh".

  • And last… Don't obsess over your ranking. Even if you follow every tip and find no improvement, you still have gained something.


84% of online American adults have used search engines. That amounts to 108 million people. On any given day, 56% of those online use search engines. No surprise here—we know from Jupiter Research and other sources that searching is the second most popular online activity, just behind email.

  • 92% of those who use search engines say they are confident about their searching abilities, with over half of them, 52%, saying they are "very confident."

  • 87% of online searchers say they have successful search experiences most of the time, including 17% of users who say they always find the information for which they are looking.

  • 55% of searchers say about half the information they search for is trivial, and half is important to them.

  • 50% of searchers say they like search engines but could go back to other ways of finding information; 32% say they can't live without search engines; and 17% say could let them go tomorrow.

  • 47% of searchers will use a search engine no more than once or twice a week; 35% of searchers will use a search engine at least once a day.

  • 44% of searchers say they regularly use a single search engine, 48% will use just two or three, 7% will use more than three.

  • 68% of searchers say that search engines are a fair and unbiased source of information; 19% say they don't trust search engines.

-- I have researched keyword combinations of sites with good listings on various search engines.

-- I have used META keyword tags on EACH page within my site, using different combinations to get better listings for various searches.

-- I have used META-Page Description tags on each page.

-- I have used META robots tags to protect any pages I do not wish indexed from being spidered, and to ensure others are listed.

-- I have utilized keywords/phrases in my pages content to ensure better listings in various search engines that spider my content.

-- I have made sure my site is finished before submitting anywhere, or pretty darn close anyway.

-- I have tested the compatibility of my site on various platforms with various browsers.

-- I have validated my code to make sure there are no errors.


a)  Seek information/data through online research
b)  Comparing brands, features, benefits, advantages
c)  Buying based on price, brand, ease of purchase; location, product model number and other criteria.

It is important to know your customers.  Searchers may use different keywords at each phase of the buy process.  What keywords will they use, and when during the buying process?  To generate "trust" keep in mind you want to appear with your selection of keywords/phrases all along the way through each cycle of the purchase process.  You also want to be found listed in both the organic (below) and paid ads doubling your exposure.

[MAR SIDE BAR] Keywords get longer and more specific as buyers get closer to taking action. i.e. refrigerator icemaker metal Marin county.


*Any term a searcher types into a search box.
** SE prevalence due to relevant content, and repetitive keywords on
   web pages influenced due manipulation of posted web content.

Organic ads run directly down the middle of a search page.  No matter how well you optimize your site, you still have no control over how you appear regardless of what keyword(s) you use for your site.  Where, when and how you appear is totally controlled by the search engines.  The public could care less how algorithms work or how they [SE's] determine what it is searches see.  For best results, consider paid advertising as your best strategic plan of action.

Search Engines - Continued [ #TOP ]

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8 SEO / SEM - Continued ... (Pg #2)

Aligning the correct keywords/phrases with the customers intent is the essential ingredient for a successful search campaign.  Start with one basic word, add another term onto your string, try more terms;four or longer words.  What you have done is exactly what your customers go through every time they search!  They keep adding keywords onto their search query to get better and better results.  And yes.  You'll receive less site visitors not using prime generic keywords, however, you'll most likely have a higher visitor conversion rate.  Passive searchers become individuals who know exactly what they want and are ready to buy.

a)  Research from hard data/facts, select and set up the best
keywords on your pages, then apply PPC/CPC advertising.
b)  Provide a well done web site "user-experience".
   [Note] Focus your site on customer needs and wants.
c)  Consistently
d)  Take into consideration seasonality, geography, other
demographic specific customer identifiers.
e)  List 50 to 100 keywords [*Spreadsheet-Excel]; don't forget to
misspell strategic often misspelled words.
f)  Research Tools: 
One of your most important resources; data aggregator of
customer keyword search activity; related terms,
combinations, misspellings, similar keywords, seasonal search

These steps will support your efforts to prioritize your list and obtain the greatest return over a period of time.

*EXCEL - Spreadsheet: 
Enter all keywords from your research into a spreadsheet.  Organize into groups; by category, theme, and any other variable you identify.  This is your advertising keyword purchase list.

[MAR SIDE BAR] Geographic's
If you have a local retail store(s), or business office(s) you will definitely want to add geographical modifiers into your keyword list in order to limit the visibility of your ad to non-appropriate areas; keeps your ad click-through's controlled to a specific geographically desirable target.  What you do depends of course on what you sell, to whom, and where. 

Web Designers California, Web Designers Marin County, Web Designers CO, Web Designers Belvedere CA, Web Designers Tiburon California, Web Designers San Rafael area, Web Designers near Larkspur, CA, Web Designers San Rafael, Web Designers Mill Valley, Web Designers Petaluma, Web Designers, Novato, Web Designers Sonoma, Web Developer CA, Web Developer California etc.

Keyword Seasonality Ad Campaigns:
This area is not difficult to grasp.  It's relevancy depends on what kind of business/industry you fall into, and staying on top of the "season's" as they fluctuate i.e. recipes during the holidays; those special holiday treats, to diet - low fat after the holidays :O)  Under this umbrella also comes piggy backing appropriately with well selected keywords related to well known seasonal events, trade shows.  Be sure when developing your "Excel Keyword Spreadsheet" (above) you insert a column for season.

Resource:  National Retail Federation (http://www.nrf.com)

Keyword Research Tool Providers:

Often the keywords you think are best differ from the ones that the tools provide; the results of what your customers really do when they search for your services.

1)  Trellian Keyword Discovery:  www.KeywordDiscovery.com
2)  Word Tracker:  www.WordTracker.com
3)  Google Keyword Tool: 
4) MSN AdCenter -- Excel Add-In Tool:

Review "Negative Keywords" so you don't pay for unwanted "click-through's".  These are words searched that you do not want your site found due the use of them in a search.  i.e. Web designers being confused with other types of designer web sites.  Identifying your "negative keywords" is a critical part of building a successful PPC/CPC campaign.  It will help you avoid paying for clicks you don't want.


  • No guarantees
  • Not FREE; takes time and money to totally optimize a site.
  • Requires web site detailing.
  • Leaves your web site at the whim of SE algorithms which can change instantly at the time of SE updates resulting in your falling off the first page.
  • Your site can easily be bumped by a competitive web site that is also optimized.
  • Allow three to six months after optimizing.
  • At the effect of SE unknown factors not shared with web owners.
  • Not an exact science.

Google:  Sponsored Links
MSN:  MSN Live
Yahoo: Sponsor Results

Display variations - Top, bottom, side. 

PPC:  ONLY 95 Characters - Four Lines Total!
  • One-Line Headline/Ad Title (25 Characters) - ATTENTION GRABBER!
  • Two text descriptive lines (35 Characters each) - Sub Total (95)
  Don't OVER-SELL!  Ads should read like relevant results to a
  specific search vs. an marketing/sales advertisement...
  Understated. Answer the "Why You?" question. "Just the
  facts Mme".  Product/Services - Advantages.  Include your
  keyword(s) here.  Your ads should spark interest, be unique,
  establish "trust".  Save on words by using incomplete sentences
  and posting fragments.
- Where EXACTLY the searcher actually lands is up to you!

TOTAL: 1024 Characters

Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI):
Requires coding your ad title so that the SE's will automatically "insert the EXACT words" the search person types into the search field box.  In other words your "Ad Title"; in bold, will match the search and result in improved click-through's, and rates.  Don't do this if all the competition is already doing this!

DKI Coding: {KeyWord:  Backup Keyword}
Example:  {KeyWord: Blended Spices}

Resource: Google Ads - DKI

Determine your uniqueness, target your niche, and keep in mind as you write; or refer to your notes, advantages, benefits doing business with your company, added value... i.e. free shipping, guarantees etc.  Do NOT use trademarked names or words in your ad text.  The SE's will most likely remove your ad.  Ideally, you want a high score from the SE's; result of relevance of your keywords to your ad(s) text, and to your advertised page content [landing page]; not necessarily your "Home-Page", but rather the most ad-relevant page.  The higher your score for quality, the lower the minimum bid and the more improved the positioning.

Leave out words such as "the", "and", etc.  Review your Keyword Excel Spreadsheet list.  Start with one ad and target your niche.  Write additional ads when you have learned enough to feel comfortable writing another wrapped around more of your keywords/phrases.  Pay attention to the ads of your competition!  Do not do "Me Too"!  BEWARE - Clicking on competitors ads will cost them.  What goes around comes around :O)

Quality Score:
Your score is dependent on your search users experience.  Make sure you deliver a relevant result [landing page] to your ad for those who "click-through".  It needs to match the ad topic as closely as possible.

Sending someone to a ad-relevant page within your site may mean you will need to create a new"landing" web page for your campaign; an orphan page.  This ad campaign page needs to be a visitor "call-to-action"; purchase a product, fill out a form, download a document, view photos/or video etc.  Since you are paying for their "click-through" you want a good return on your investment (ROI).  This orphan page needs to take visitor control in regards to what they see and do.  It needs to be your best "conversion" page!

Do NOT index this page with the SE's.  It's not been built for this purpose!!  In fact, doing so could hurt your site rankings.

Resources: Quality Ratings
Google-Quality Score

MSN Ad Center

Yahoo Ad  Quality Index Score

Resource Tool: Google Ad Preview
Use to review competitive ads.

Bidding and budgeting in the world of Pay-Per-Click is not an exact science, and therefore not an easy question to answer! Cost-Per-Click depends on the cost of the keywords/phrases selected, and this is more than a one-step process.  Yep - I can already feel your impatience and frustration with me.  I can't even give you an estimate.  Price can range from $0.01 to as much as you're willing to spend to compete per selected keyword.  Price depends on so many things; where you want to be positioned, how popular is the the keyword, how many advertisers are bidding, geographic limitations, length of keyword string, and not least how you end up on the "quality score" chart (See above.)  You can't just "lookup" a price for each keyword.  You need to know how much you can afford to spend per day and what is going to keep you online for the longest time period.  Using some of the tools below will assist you in making sense of this online marketing strategy.

Variables include page position, geographic's, and your quality score.
The top position naturally will cost the most; page average is 10 ads.  How many bidders and how much they are willing to pay, and if you want to advertise world-wide/nation-wide vs local also makes a difference in price.  Obtain a excellent quality-score; how well do your visitors like you, and you'll pay less for your keywords.

Approximate Bid Range:  Ad Budget
SypFu: Keyword Competitive Review

Enter your keyword(s) and get the approximate bid range of your string of words, number of advertisers, clicks per day, search results,cost per day, ad text, and additional keywords advertisers are already bidding on.  Only you know the number of keywords on your list, the pages its critical for your ad to appear, how many SE's to run campaign in etc.  You will need to probably fine tune your budget after reviewing the costs involved.

So, first investigate your most competitive words and try alternatives until you reach an amount affordable to you.  Try with and without brand names, some geographic modifications.  What you're doing is trying to find a place to start your ad campaign that will work with the budget you currently have.  Your job right now is to do a cost benefit analysis, select those words that are affordable to you, and set up a daily budget for each.

If you can not afford to be in the top 3; best results, then consider alternative, less costly keywords for the time being.  Only you know how much you can afford to spend.  What is comfortable for you?  $10 per day, $20? $50? $100?  Your goal is to bid on the highest traffic terms you can afford to get the most visibility possible.

Traffic Estimator:
Google - AdWords - Traffic Estimator
Bid tool inside your Google Adwords account.  Displays you the average clicks per day for your terms at the amount you're willing to bid.  SpyFu gives you the bid range and Google-Traffic Estimator gives you an estimate of what traffic and clicks you'll get for a specific bid on a specific keyword(s) -- Under the "Campaign Summary" TAB.

Path: Campaign Management > Tools > Traffic Estimator; click your Ad group.  Cut and paste your keywords and your bid into this tool, in turn you will get an estimate of how many clicks you'd get at your bid price.

Google Adwords Account:  Place to Start
Google has the largest market share at this time, the best tools for setup and account management, and the AdWords account data can be exported from Google and migrated into the other engines.  Install Google AdWords Editor and begin building your campaign; exports to MSN, and Yahoo.  There is a $5.00 set up fee -- Credit Card required; prepay, or postpay.

Allows you to set a specific amount of money to spend each month.  You will need to manually go into your account and add  more money if you decide to extend your budget.  This allows you tight control on your spending; downside is you can run out of ad funds and not know it -- similar to prepaid cellular phones.

Allows you to pay ONLY for the clicks you've actually received.  No advance billing - 30/day billing cycle.  Be sure to establish a daily budget so you remain in control over the maximum amount you are willing to spend.

Resource: Google Billing Options

[MAR SIDE BAR] Warning ...
Your account defaults to ACTIVE once you set up the account.  Make sure you put your account on PAUSE until you're ready to deploy it.

Google - AdWords - Editor (Download)
See:  HELP > Getting Started
See:  Tutorials (http://www.google.com/support/adwordseditor)


Resource URL's:  Alpha Sort

  • Google Ads - DKI:

Google - AdWords - Editor (Download)
See:  HELP > Getting Started
See:  Tutorials (http://www.google.com/support/adwordseditor)

  • Google Ad Preview:

  • Google - AdWords - Traffic Estimator

  • Google Billing Options

  • Google Keyword Tool: 

  • Google-Quality Score:

  • MSN AdCenter -- Excel Add-In Tool:

  • MSN Ad Center - Quality Score
  • National Retail Federation:

  • News - Netcraft.com:

  • SypFu: Keyword Competitive Review

  • Trellian Keyword Discovery: 

  • Word Tracker: 

  • Yahoo Ad  Quality Index Score

Search Engines:  Continued - Page #2