Interactive promotion report: search engine marketing
Search Engine Marketing and Optimisation
Introduction to Search Engine Marketing
Put simply, search engine marketing is an important part of website promotion. A large part of search engine marketing is in optimisation and submission. Web design companies often offer these services when they build new websites for clients.
However, in order for this to be successful, the end result must be that the website in question ends up higher on search engine results, therefore getting more hits and creating more revenue.
There are several methods of optimising websites, and some of these are outlined below.
Search Engine Optimisation:
Search engine optimisation aims to index and improve website rankings on search engines such as Google, Yahoo, or MSN Search. In order to optimise web pages, different methods can be used. Such methods include using keywords in the HTML coding, Meta and Title tags, and also Alt tags on images are useful. Good design and easy navigation in the website also helps to optimise it for search engines.
Advantages of Search Engine Optimisation:
Besides the obvious advantages of SEO, such as being able to find what we are looking for easily and quickly, there are many other benefits which are less noticeable.
For example, a well optimised website will often also be very accessible and have high usability. For example, by keeping maximum sizes of web pages at about 100kb, are not too large to be overlooked by search engine spiders, but they are also small enough that they will still load at a reasonable rate on slower internet connections. Another overlooked, but somewhat obvious technique, is using appropriate page titles.
Many people forget how important page titles are to both a user, and for search engines. The title of the pages is often the first thing that is recognised by search engines; therefore it should be meaningful and contain several key words. It is also the first part of the webpage that loads up in the browser, often before any of the content has loaded. This means it is the first thing that the user sees.
A good article which covers the advantages of SEO is Secret Benefits of SEO: Increased Usability, by Trenton Moss.
Disadvantages of Search Engine Optimisation:
The disadvantages seem to be quite minor in comparison with the advantages; however it could be argued that there are some flaws with SEO. There is always the chance of getting too much business. A company with a highly successful website may find that business is moving faster than they can cope. With something such as pay per click advertising, it would be easy to turn off or remove the advertisements, but it wouldn’t be as simple to remove a whole website in order to slow down sales.
The only website I could find with any real information about the disadvantages of SEO, was Cornish Web Services Consultancy, and the disadvantages are considerably less than the advantages.
Pay Per Click Advertising:
Often, text advertisements are placed near search results. When visitors click on the advert a small amount is charged to the advertiser for the service. The price of this varies depending on the amount of hits the website gets, and the popularity of the search engine.
Currently, PPC advertising does not generate any income for the advertised website; the PPC adverts merely increase the traffic to the website. Revenue is generated only when pop-up adverts or banners are clicked on.
There are 3 categories under which PPC advertisements fall under. These are Keyword, Product and Service PPC's.
Advertisers bid on keywords, which consist of different words of phrases which can be found in the HTML code of websites. When a specific keyword is typed into a search engine, a list of the advertiser’s links appears in order of bidding.
According to a study carried out by the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organisation (SEMPO), bidding on keywords is a worthwhile investment and overall, advertisers could pay up to 33% more, and still make a worthwhile profit.
“The return on investment of SEM paid placement advertising continues to stay ahead of price inflation: advertisers said on average they have witnessed bid prices rise 26% in the last 12 months for keywords they commonly buy but said they could stand on average another 33% increase in the price and still make a profitable transaction.” SEMPO, 2005
A useful website for finding the best keywords is Wordtracker.com. The wordtracker compiles a database each week of the most used search terms, and recommends the best keywords for your website.
These engines let advertisers place "feeds" of their products on the search results page. When a user searches for a specific product, all these feeds are shown from different advertisers in a list. The list can then be sorted in order of price, and the product can then be brought from this page. Advertisers who pay more are given more prominence.
Service engines allow advertisers provide feeds of their service databases and when users search for a particular service, links to providers of that particular service appear.
In conclusion, it seems clear that without Search Engine Marketing, traffic to many websites would be significantly reduced. The number of advantages heavily outweighs the number of disadvantages of SEO and Search Engine Marketing. However, there are other issues such as ethics which could be argued make SEO unfair.
For example, all keyword bids could be brought out by a single company, rendering it impossible for other companies to get the top spots on search results. There are also other ways to cheat the search engines into giving top spots in results lists. One of these would be buying many domain names and building small single page websites which contain just links to a main company page. Also, it could be considered cheating the system to duplicate a website and host it on two or more separate domain names in order to get as many hits as possible onto the website. Although it is hosted under a different web address, most search engines do not accept these duplicate websites and they are often not correctly indexed in the search engines if they are caught.
There are hundreds of search engine service websites available, and they all do pretty much the same thing, however there will always be customers with websites that need optimising and submitting to search engines, and as more and more businesses go online, there will be an increasing demand for Search Engine Marketing.
· Secret Benefits of SEO: Increased Usability, Trenton Moss, 2004 http://www.sitepoint.com/article/increased-usability
· Cornish Web Services Consultancy http://www.cornishwebservices.co.uk/search-engine-optimisation/disadvantages.shtml
· Search Engine Marketing Professional Organisation (SEMPO), 2005 http://www.sempo.org/learning_center/research/research-results
· Wordtracker http://www.wordtracker.com/