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Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Basics

Search Engine Marketing refers to a set of online marketing practices that covers SEO San Jose (SEO) and Paid Placement or Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising. There is another practice called Paid Inclusion (PI), but it is fast dying out, so we’ll spare you. (Yahoo! is one of the only vendors left and it continues to get criticized by the industry and the media for that.) In any case, online marketers use just one or both aforementioned methods to:

(1) Get their brand message out on the Web,
(2) Promote a product or service line, and
(3) Drive traffic to their websites.

If you haven’t already thought about your internet marketing campaign, know that North American advertisers spent $9.4 billion in 2006 on SEM, a 750% increase from 2002, far surpassing the growth of traditional advertising and even other online marketing channels. This article will provide a brief introduction to the two different methods, and how you should determine which one(s) will work for you.

Search Engine Optimization Drives Traffic, Increases Web Presence

The goal of SEO is to drive warm traffic to your website. Specifically it refers to increasing your visibility (or your PageRank on Google) on search engine results pages (SERPs) by tweaking the content on both the frontend and backend of your website. It works because search engines use algorithms that “crawl” through your website’s backend, parsing and storing the relevant information in the form of keywords in their database. In other words, they analyze the code of your website to determine its relevancy.

SEO specialists strategically “tag” or summarize your website’s contents with specific keywords phrases and descriptions called “meta tags” that are picked up SE crawlers, which in turn will determine how relevant those pages will be to users searching for those keywords.

This is important because the search engines thrive on collecting meta data, and if that data doesn’t exist, your web site doesn’t exist.

Here’s an example:

Bob wants to purchase or learn more about scooters. He types in “scooters” on Google’s search bar, and gets 250,000 results for variety of web pages with the term “scooters” in them. How is he going to know which one to click? He doesn’t, but market research shows that he will most likely click on of the first 10 or so results he sees.

GoScooter.com wants to teach Bob more about scooters, and more importantly, wants his business, so they have employed an SEO firm like Baytech Web Design to make sure that the next time Bob searches for “scooters”, GoScooter.com is on the first page of top ten results, increasing the chances that Bob will click on their link. Baytech’s SEO experts do that by:

(1) Analyzing and modifying the HTML and CSS backend code, and
(2) Conducting an extensive cycle of testing and modification until your web site is where you want it to be on the SERPs.

There are two other methods called paid placement or PPC, and paid inclusion which are different from SEO but usually handled by SEO experts to drive traffic in other key ways, namely advertising and search engine indexing. Remember! SEO is to SEM like apples are to apple trees.

What is Paid Placement or Pay-Per-Click Advertising and how is it different from SEO?

This is a good question and crucial one for you to debate with your stakeholders in devising a customized marketing plan. Paid placement or Pay-Per-Click (PPC) refers to an advertising model where you only pay a fee when someone clicks on your advertisement or per thousand impressions (or times it is displayed).

Advertisements come in a variety of forms: text, video, graphics, banner, etc., but text ads are the most popular because they are low cost, low maintenance, and high yield.

PPC campaigns fall under two categories: sponsored match (or keyword) and content match. Sponsored or keyword match campaigns only aim to display your advertisements on SERPs (on both Google and Yahoo!, you’ll see them at the top or in the sidebar.) Keyword match campaigns basically work like this:

(1) You will bid on search keywords either on Google Adwords or Yahoo! Search Marketing,
(2) Your ad is only displayed when someone searches for that keyword.
(3) Your ad’s performance determines your rank and Cost-Per-Bid (CPC).

This is genius because you can see how the ads will only be viewed by people who are already slightly interested in what you have to say. Because they are already knocking on your door, PPC campaigns can potentially yield high hits. The benefits don’t stop there.

The beauty of both these programs is that they take into account the text ad’s performance and give them a rank. The higher the rank, the more visible (higher up on the page) it is, and the less you are charged for creating such a good ad. The “upward spiral” effect created by a good ad significantly reduces your initial investment while continuing to deliver steady volume. Typical PPC campaign budgets usually begin with a few thousand to hundreds of thousands of dollars. If the ad campaign works, your budget can decrease significantly over time while still bringing in traffic.

Content match campaigns specifically place ads on the actual affiliate sites, newsletters, email blasts, what have you. Again, the better performing the ad, the lower you can bid to maintain your position, thus lowering your overall budget.

As you know, relevancy is the key benefit provided by the SEO and PPC methods. If handled by a firm like Baytech, you can expect their experts to make these methods work hand in hand to drive warm traffic to your website.

Baytech’s Link to the SEM Industry

Baytech Web Design was officially incorporated in 2001, but its ties to Internet Marketing reach back as far as 1998 when its founders were involved in early forms of web development and web promotion—way before the “SEOSEMPPCCPC” chorus of acronyms were introduced to the mainstream.

Our nearly a decade of experience is one of the primary motivations our clients choose us over competitors when thinking about going beyond basic web site design and development.

Our award winning team of designers, online marketing strategists, developers and copywriters have successfully managed hundreds of PPC campaigns and optimized web sites for search engines. Baytech stands by its promise to bring our clients to the forefront of their industry through increased online web presence and generate revenue and traffic within budget and timelines.