8 SEARCH ENGINE MARKETING [SEM/SEO]
Author: Margaret A. Root, DesignCarté - Web Design, Production - Maintenance, SEO/SEM, Software Training, Updated: 2010
WEB PROMOTION - OVERVIEW:
“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:
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION
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
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]:
- 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%
Random Surfing: 20%
Search Engines: 46%
META SEARCH ENGINES:
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:
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.
JUST THE FACTS:
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.
CUSTOMER BUYING PATTERNS:
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.
EXCELLING AT *KEYWORD/KEYWORD PHRASE SEARCHES [**Organic Ads]: SEO
*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 ]