The goals of both Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Paid Search Advertising are geared towards the same direction. Their services aim to help convert a quiet traffic stream into a busy information highway. This means new clients on a daily basis due to increased traffic and visibility.
Search Engine Marketing
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) definitely refers to both advertising and optimization methods. Internet advertising to most marketers is primarily about having control over position, keywords, listing copy and visitors’ landing pages. Optimization, on the other hand is about coming up with a website design that can easily be crawled, indexed and well-ranked by major search engines.
There are several types of SEM services including search engine advertising, paid submission for directories, search engine optimization marketing and aggregators marketing. Search engine advertising includes the Paid-For- Placement (PFP) or the Pay-Per-Click (PPC) program as well as contextual advertising. A placement on the result pages of the search site and within its distribution network is guaranteed upon payment. The key factors of this type of advertising are keyword research and selection, bid price, effective ad copy and traffic landing pages.
Paid submission actually applies to directories. In this type of marketing program, the website owner pays for a human based review of its site although inclusion is not always guaranteed. The site is usually included from 7 to 14 days depending on the directory. The success of paid inclusion is largely determined by the selection of the category as well as the title and description of the business.
Search engine optimization aims to produce organic and natural results through the design and creation of spider-friendly websites. It is basically a science of keywords placement, content enhancement, site structure and link popularity campaign that is expected to maximize the probability of attaining top ranking. It is considered the heart of all SEM campaign notwithstanding the fact that more and more business developers tend to forget its importance. Although it is not impossible to achieve very swift results, an optimization process usually takes a few months to have its goal realized.
The aggregators or price engines have made it a lot easier for online shoppers to get the information they need about required products and their associated price. They are able to offer a broad range of pricing and features. Chances of success are maximized through pricing strategy, product availability, product description and shipping rates.
Online businesses are facing tough decisions on setting a budget for online marketing specifically for organic search engine optimization. Paid advertising is very much in demand which accounts for quickly eaten up budget. More often than not, depleted advertising budgets are readily remedied by providing a new budget. The same cannot be said for SEO budgets as campaigns tend to end as budgets are exhausted. SEO is apparently not getting the respect it deserves since the success of organic optimization is a lot more difficult to measure. The real value of the keywords that make the rank will be better seen as more improved and cheaper analytical tools become available.
Statistics would show that there are at least two offline sales generated for every online sale that occurs. Research reports reveal that a large percentage of searchers complete their purchases in offline retail stores. This is considered a direct result of their search activity.
Telemarketing and other forms of leads generation have been sending signals of a saturated market. This has prompted many companies especially the manufacturers to turn to the web to get new leads. Finding a prospect usually starts with a paid search strategy which eventually evolve into SEO. Maximum results are obtained from the combined strategies only if companies commit to make SEO a part of their long term marketing strategy. The ultimate measure of success of Search Engine Marketing is generating leads and closing sales.
The Search Environment Under SEM Strategies
Majority of the marketing budgets from small businesses are dominated by paid search. The smaller a company is, the higher its reliance on paid search and the higher the percentage of total spending. SEO is quickly overtaking spending on banner ads for manufacturers as focus is shifted to training existing web team staff and education on the creation of content that is optimized for search engines.
The first half of 2006 can be considered a period of expansion, growth and significant change in search marketing. Never have there been as many online options available to advertisers and their agents like now. Search has become a part of the mainstream marketing consciousness, but there remains much room for innovation and invention. This development has presented a dilemma for the traditional search marketing sector.
There are at least three major search related marketing venues existing: the traditional organic search results, the paid search advertising market and the social networking sphere. Each of these venues use some form of search as a distinctive guide towards finding information while a tremendous amount of integration and interaction exists between them.
The SEO sector is being overshadowed by the PPC market and at the same time being challenged by social networking. Major search engines constantly strive to improve and innovate on methods that would correctly rank web documents. This is the very reason for the fundamental changes seen in organic search engine optimization.
SEO focuses on a myriad of on-site and off-site issues such as hosting, link acquisition and competitive research. An increasing number of applications are being added for organic search results. The dozens of on-page elements which SEO works on makes it more complicated due to the time involved. However, fresh and focused content remains the single most reliable element of a successful website.
Paid search advertising has been experiencing a rapid growth as a sub-sector of the industry, propelling Google and Yahoo! to the front of the pack. It continues to undergo several forms of expansion to allow more and newer options for advertisers. The distribution of paid ads to third party web properties is a very interesting aspect of paid search advertising. Click fraud detection and advocacy is closely associated with this particular venue.
The social networking atmosphere is touted to be the most fluid search marketing venue. It is expected to be a preparatory step towards transition in web-interactive development. It is currently taking place in an environment that is tagged as Web2.