Posts Tagged ‘PPC’

SEM: Search Engine Marketing

Search Engine Marketing

Of the many emerging techniques and disciplines that have developed in the decentralized, Web 2.0 era of business, Search Engine Marketing is one popular and increasingly competitive way of handling marketing and advertising on the Internet. While the term is in itself rather vague, it can be broken down into several distinct subsets. As the name implies, Search Engine Marketing, or SEM, utilizes rankings in search engine results to promote links to specific sites, in the hopes of affecting buying decisions.

Many use SEM to refer more exactly to what is known as PPC, or pay per click advertising. Unlike traditional print and visual media advertising, the advertiser doesn’t have to pay specifically for space or airtime, but is ranked in high profile positions within search engine results based on how much they are willing to pay for Google Adwords and Yahoo! Search Marketing listings if a prospective buyer should click on their link and follow it to their site. The general idea is rather simple, but implementing a successful SEM campaign is far more complex than it would first appear.

For starters, there is the typical advertising and marketing considerations to weigh when embarking on a Search Engine Marketing effort. Wording is important when configuring the appropriate pitch. What works with certain keyword phrases may not work with others. Careful research must be done to match the correct pitch to the demographic most likely to use that set of search phrases. Just because you can get a lot of clicks doesn’t mean it will translate into sales. You need to target buyers, not casual “window shoppers” or random surfers.

The next area that must be dealt with delicately is the economics of the campaign itself. Comparing the costs of the campaign versus the additional revenue brought in is key. Obviously, normal economics applies here. If the campaign is a money loser out of the gate, its bad. If you’re paying $10.00 per click, which is not an unreasonable price for highly sought after keyword phrases, and each click on average brings in $8.00 all told, some reconfiguring needs to be done. The idea is to hit the right niche search term with a high enough search volume but low enough competition from other advertisers to be profitable.

SEM is a complex and involved area of business that is becoming all the more crucial to the online portion of any enterprise. It’s not for the faint of heart and requires a lot of hard work and concentration, as well as constant maintenance to be effective. For larger businesses it often makes sense to outsource this to companies or firms that specialize in optimizing SEM programs for the maximum gain. In many cases, hiring a well respected outside contractor to handle this task is a wise move. In any event, as more advertising and marketing moves online, this will become increasingly important with each passing year.

SEM - Search Engine Marketing

SEM - Search Engine Marketing

Put your Keywords Into profit

One of the most important factors behind commercially successful websites is their ability to discover profitable traffic channels for their online products. Whilst Google’s Keyword Tool can help us on cover keywords that have regular traffic, it’s another skill to then go on and define which of these keywords will have the best conversion from ‘traffic’ to ‘sales’.

Certainly any website that becomes commercially successful has an element of luck involved. However, here are a few tips to help delve further into your keywords in an effort to uncover the ones that truly have SALES value.

1. Ad words spend
If a keyword has a large number of PPC advertisers, there’s a very good chance that this keyword converts traffic to sales well. If you use Google Keyword Tool to uncover your keywords, you’ll be no doubt aware that you can view average PPC costs on any keyword found. However, I find a more reliable method is to simply use your own eyes and note down how many people actually pay for that keyword.  To do this, open and type in your keyword. Ideally, you would now see a full page of PPC advertisers appearing under sponsored links above and to the right hand side of your organic results (click below to enlarge).

2. IF you see any less than a full first page of PPC advertisers be wary of this keywords ability to convert to sales. Ideally, you would want to see 3 – 5 pages of different advertisers all paying for their PPC ads on pages 1 – 5 of Google’s results, this is an excellent indication that this keyword is easily monetized.

3. Google Shopping

Google Product Search is the area of the world’s most powerful search engine where you are able to search all of the products uploaded to Google’s Checkout database. This area of Google can be a real goldmine when searching for ‘conversion’ keywords. Type your main keyword into the search box at the top of the Google Shopping page, Google will instantly offer you a number of alternative keywords in a drop down menu that appears almost as you type.

Let this menu hover, write the most relevant of these suggestions down and now go back to Google’s Keyword Tool. Research all of the suggestions for traffic numbers and any further keyword ideas Google suggests. By using Google Product Search initially, you are now feeding the Keyword Tool with keywords that Google has told you have ‘sales’ traffic, hence your keyword results should be more commercially focused.

4. Google Discussion

Finally, after completing steps 1 and 2 above, take your best keywords, type them into Google and click on ‘Discussions’. Are people already talking about your keywords? If so, this final step serves as further verification that your keywords have high potential for sales conversion.

I hope the above tips help some of you to uncover more lucrative keywords for your SEO projects. If any of you have your own fine ideas for keyword research do let me know, I’d love to hear them!

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