Search Engine Marketing – Your Questions Answered


Search Engine Marketing is quickly becoming a main focus for marketing departments, from small businesses to large companies. Here, we answer your questions about this evolving form of marketing.

1. What is the difference between “Pay Per Click” search engine marketing and non-paid search engine marketing?

Pay Per Click search engine marketing is when you pay a fee each time someone clicks on a link to your web site as advertised in search engines such as questions and answers from google certified educator exams and Yahoo. These advertised links are typically on the right side or at the top in a “sponsored links” area of a Google or Yahoo page. The fee per click is determined by how competitive your desired keywords are. A monthly budget is set and used over time as users see your ad and click through to your web site.

“Non-paid” search engine marketing is when a site appears on the left side of a search engine page based on its ranking, which the search engines determine by how relevant the site is to the search terms (keywords) entered by their users. While the site owner is not paying the search engine each time a user clicks on the link to your site, chances are they are paying a professional to continually “optimize” their site to appear as relevant as possible for their desired keywords.

2. What do statistics say about whether users use left-side (“natural “or “organic”) page results or right-side (“paid” or “sponsored”) search page positions?

While consumer studies show that first-page organic listings capture more than 50% of click-throughs, the top pay-per-click ads capture approximately 10% of click-throughs, a portion of prospective customers not to be missed. We recommend a combination of both types of search engine marketing for an effective campaign.

3. What is a link building campaign and how important is it to our overall search engine strategy?

One of the “off-the-page” factors search engines use to measure the relevancy of a site is the number of other sites on the Internet that link to that site. If other sites are driving traffic to a site, a search engine may consider the site more important, or more relevant. Therefore, a link building campaign to increase the number of inbound links can support an overall search engine marketing strategy. We recommend clients begin with their own link building campaign by ensuring their site is linked to from all organizations of which they are members and from strategically aligned companies in their industry.

4. How do we measure the effectiveness of a Pay Per Click campaign?

First, determine the cost per qualified lead from your other marketing efforts, as well as the value of those leads. You can then compare the cost of marketing in the search engines – then measure the effectiveness of your campaign by reviewing statistics on how many site visitors who clicked on your ad then called by phone, emailed or submitted a form on your site. If your campaign is not producing the results you’re looking for, review your site’s calls to action and ease of use in addition to your keywords effectiveness.

5. What is “conversion” and how do we measure it?

Conversion is the process of turning a casual site visitor into a customer after they arrive at your site. A web site should be ready to receive visitors with valuable, well-positioned content and clear calls to action. Conversion can be having them call a 1-800 number, buy a product, complete a survey or form, subscribe to your newsletter or any other action that accomplishes a predefined goal. Defining conversion is one of the first steps not only of an effective search engine marketing campaign but, more importantly, of an initial web site development effort. With clear calls to action, a site will be ready to convert the traffic driven by a search engine marketing campaign.

6. What’s the fastest way to appear in the search engines and drive traffic to my site?

A Pay Per Click campaign can be activated immediately, driving traffic to a site within a day or less. An added benefit of a Pay Per Click campaign is that search engines will use that immediate traffic in their evaluation of how relevant or important the site is, thereby supporting their longer term, organic evaluation of a site’s relevancy. While a campaign for organic search results can deliver more traffic over time, it does takes longer to produce results (sometimes several months or more). For a comprehensive search engine marketing strategy, we recommend a client leverage both types of campaigns – a Pay Per Click campaign to begin delivering results immediately while the longer term organic campaign ramps up.

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