Search Engine Marketing 101


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This primer reviews the pros and cons of paid and organic search, the growth of the search channel, search engine market share, and SEM / SEO best practices.

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Search Engine Marketing 101

  1. 1. Effectively Using Search Engines A Primer on SEM and SEO July 2008
  2. 2. Agenda <ul><li>Overview </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Category Growth </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Search Engine Market Share </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Organic Search </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Definition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pros & Cons </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tactics </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Paid Search </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Definition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pros & Cons </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tactics </li></ul></ul><ul><li>New Trends </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Wikia Search </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pay Per Call </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>MSN Cashback </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. How is search defined? <ul><li>A form of Internet marketing that seeks to promote websites by increasing their visibility in search engine result pages. According to the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization, methods include: search engine optimization (SEO), and search engine marketing (SEM). </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Two sides of the same coin : A successful search advertising campaign utilizes both SEO and SEM. </li></ul></ul>Source: Wikipedia
  4. 4. Category Growth <ul><li>Search remains the largest and fastest growing channel. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Projected to be 40% of all online ad spending in 2008. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Twice the spend of its nearest competitor – display ads. </li></ul></ul>Source: eMarketer, October 2007
  5. 5. Search Engine Market Share <ul><li>Google by far comprises the largest share of searches. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Indeed, Microsoft has been trying to buy Yahoo to increase Microsoft’s search share. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>As of June 12 th , both companies have ended merger talks. </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Organic search is the process of optimizing html coding on a website in order to increase that website’s visibility in the search engine results page. </li></ul><ul><li>In this example we search “Mackinac Island Hotel” and we see Grand Hotel appearing as the first organic listing. </li></ul>What is Organic Search?
  7. 7. Organic Search – Pros & Cons <ul><li>Pros </li></ul><ul><li>Free traffic. </li></ul><ul><li>Users perceive results as being unbiased, trustworthy. </li></ul><ul><li>Cons </li></ul><ul><li>Limited campaign control – cannot easily control what the text says or which page the link points to. </li></ul><ul><li>No guarantee for exposure – rankings change periodically as search engines refresh their database. </li></ul><ul><li>Need an expert with experience in website programming. </li></ul><ul><li>Long lead time to see results. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Organic Search Tactics <ul><li>The SEO process involves a variety of aspects: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Keyword and content research </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Analyze and select keywords. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Meta tag development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Optimize site for optimal search engine positioning. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Link optimization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Create inbound and outbound link referrals. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Search engine submission </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Submit site to directories and search engines. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Google Webmaster tools submission </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Naming conventions </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Organic Search Tactics <ul><li>Keyword and Content Research </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Research keywords pertaining to Company, Industry and Competition. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Research keywords that coincided with your websites content and keywords. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Meta Tag Development </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop Meta Tags for the following: 64 Character Limit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Home Page Specific Tag Development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Client Page Specific Tag Development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Industry Specific Tag Development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Certification Specific Tag Development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Service Specific Tag Development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop Description Specific Tags - 150 Character Limit </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Organic Search Tactics <ul><li>Link Optimization </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Optimize Anchor Text and Image Alternate Text </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Within each link or image is an alternate or anchor text.  This information is used if a user does not have a browser that is capable of downloading images and/or links.  Instead of displaying the image or image link it will display the alternate or anchor text.  This text is used by a Search Engine to internalize and define what a websites content is all about. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Out-Bound Links </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Optimized website by adding all partner links on the website. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In-Bound Links </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>In-bound links play a pivotal role in your search ranking.  In-bound referrals can lie solely on the responsibility of the website owner. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Organic Search Tactics <ul><li>Search Engine Submission </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Submit website to the most popular search engines and directories. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Google Webmaster Tools Submission </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Google Webmaster Tools is a service offered by Google to help website owners with indexing on Google search, it can provide a web developer with the following processes. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Automatically inform Google when you update your pages. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Discover your links and see how users are reaching your site. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>View, classify, and download comprehensive data about internal .and external links to your site with our new link reporting tools. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Enhance and increase traffic to your site. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Learn which queries drive traffic to your site, and see exactly how users arrive there. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Organic Search Tactics <ul><li>Naming Conventions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Using dashes to separate out words rather than underscores or clumping them together is better for search engines. Also not using capital letters and leaving words as lower case helps search engines understand your content. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> - BAD </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> - GOOD </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Organic Search Tactics <ul><li>WORD OF CAUTION : Play by the rules </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Search engines enforce policies that prohibit companies from deceptively manipulating their sites in order to be placed at the top of organic search results. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>In late 2005 the German BMW site was blacklisted from Google by using “doorway” pages. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>BMW programmed an in-between page; search engines saw a fraudulent page crammed with keywords and humans saw the actual BMW page. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Violated Google policy because what search engines see must be what humans see. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>Paid search is also known as pay-per-click advertising and shows up on the right hand side under Google’s sponsored links. </li></ul><ul><li>In this example we searched Mackinac Island and Grand Hotel shows up under sponsored links. Mackinac Island is a purchased keyword. </li></ul>What is Paid Search?
  15. 15. Paid Search – Pros & Cons <ul><li>Pros </li></ul><ul><li>Flexible campaign control. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Stretch a budget – only pay when people click. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Allows for daypart selection </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Allows for geographical targeting </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Instant measurable results. </li></ul><ul><li>Quick and easy to start a campaign. </li></ul><ul><li>Cons </li></ul><ul><li>When dollars run out campaign stops. </li></ul>Measurable! Targeted!
  16. 16. Paid Search Tactics <ul><li>Five variables we control for a successful SEM campaign: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Budget </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Keyword selection </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ad copy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Landing page </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Optimization </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>Budgets can be set using the optimization tools in Google and Yahoo. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Based on the number of keywords and total budget the tools will recommend how much money should be allocated per day. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It is not a science just a guide. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Budget drives exposure – the more money you spend the more your ad will show up. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This is why creative may not appear every time each keyword is searched. </li></ul></ul>Paid Search Tactics - Budget
  18. 18. Paid Search Tactics – Keyword Selection <ul><li>Step 1: Build the list using two approaches </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Human element </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Brainstorm general and specific terms related to your Web site, competitors, industry, and product names. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Survey customers and prospects on what terms they would use. (“auto loan” vs. “car loan”) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technology element </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Use Google and Yahoo’s keyword suggestion tools. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Look at your Web site analytics to see what search terms people are already using to find your site. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Step 2: Group keywords into categories </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Allows for multiple creative executions to be developed and tested. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Keywords within the same group must be related closely enough to share the same ad copy. </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Paid Search Tactics – Ad Copy <ul><li>Five essentials for crafting killer copy: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Highlight special offers or promotions. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Include call to action. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Include the keyword in title and description. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Test multiple ad messages. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Click-through isn’t conversion. Your highest-costing copy may not be your highest-selling copy. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ad copy must abide by search engine’s editorial and creative guidelines </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Challenging because you need to compel the prospect to click-through, yet your ad must comply with editorial standards controlling what you can say and even the punctuation you use. </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Paid Search Tactics – Landing Page <ul><li>Two landing page mistakes that can SINK a paid search campaign: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sending all traffic to one page. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Google looks at an ad’s landing page as part of their determination of what an ad will cost per click. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Even worse, untargeted landing pages can destroy the chance of a good conversion rate. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>How to solve it: The best option is to create custom landing pages. Alternatively, adjust the campaign to send every visitor to the most relevant page that already exists on your site. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not testing landing page elements. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Test big changes instead of small stuff. You’ll get results quicker and are more likely to get big improvements. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Paid Search Tactics – Optimization <ul><li>Optimize your campaign based on your marketing objectives. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Direct response </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Bidding strategy </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Pay as little as it takes to drive the response. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Optimize to a low CPC and/or CTR. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Maintenance </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Choose highly-targeted keywords at the bottom of the funnel. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Awareness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Bidding strategy </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Pay as much as it takes to be on the first page. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Optimize to top position. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Maintenance </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Choose broad and branded terms to drive the most traffic. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  22. 22. New Trends: Wikia Search <ul><li>What is it? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Open-source search engine launched in January, 2008 by the founder of Wikipedia. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>How does it work? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Users can delete, add, and change the order of its natural search listings based on relevance. Like Wikipedia, changes are tracked so the community can see who does what. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>20,000 community members </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>60,000 edits made to search results </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>What are the implications? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Its reliance of user feedback means it will take some time to become effective in terms of search depth and relevance. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Currently still in beta but will eventually support advertising. </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. New Trends: Pay-Per-Call <ul><li>What is it? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Advertisers pay for calls rather than clicks from search ads. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Primarily used by local advertisers without Web sites or companies that close sales over the phone. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Main provider #1: Google </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What is Google’s business model? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Users click the phone icon in the ad, enter their phone number, and advertiser calls back. Call is free for user. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What’s been the reaction in the marketplace? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Anecdotally, the adoption rate for Google’s pay-per-call service remains slow since its launch in 2005 because: </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Users do not like entering their phone numbers (inconvenience and fear that number will be sold, misused, or given to advertiser, etc). </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Users do not want to wait for their phone to ring. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  24. 24. New Trends: Pay-Per-Call <ul><li>Main provider #2: Ingenio </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How is Ingenio’s business model? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>User sees a unique 800-number and calls that number. Advertiser only pays if call lasts more then 10 seconds. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ingenio, acquired by AT&T in December 2007, distributes ads to AOL,, and other search engines. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What’s been the reaction in the marketplace? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ingenio’s model has arguably gained more traction among advertisers and users than Google’s. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Call pricing starts at $2, but due to demand, average price-per-call is around $10 with some categories at $60. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  25. 25. New Trends: MSN Search Cashback <ul><li>What is it? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A comparison-shopping search engine launched in May 2008 that pays users cash back who purchase an advertiser’s product. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Why does this mean for MSN? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>MSN is attempting to grow market share by paying users to search. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What does this mean for advertisers? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Advertisers only pay when someone purchases a product. This CPA (cost-per-action) model can drive more ROI for some advertisers than Google and Yahoo’s CPC (cost-per-click) model. </li></ul></ul>