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10,000ft View of Search Engine Marketing

If you’ve used a search engine then you most likely already know the basics about the search marketing landscape. Most likely you just haven’t linked the various elements of search marketing to what you’ve seen on Google, Yahoo or Live Search. The elements of search marketing include Paid Search Engine Marketing (also known as Pay Per Click), Search Engine Optimization, Paid Inclusion, as well as the loosely related Affiliate Marketing.

               All search engines are an index of a portion of all websites in the world. The size of the index does not necessarily equate to the quality of the index, the index is only as good as the content within it and it’s ability to produce relevant content mapped to a queried term or phrase. Search engines have bits of code known as crawlers, the imagery behind crawling helps explain the basics. Imagine a spider, preferably a Brown Recluse, crawling on the ground trying to get a sense of its terrain and find what it desires the most-food. The spider crawls along the web looking for content- whenever it gets to a previously undiscovered area it lays down webs and gathers as much information about that area as possible. A SE crawler does the same thing. The code goes from one link to another within your website gathering information about the content of your site. A Brown Recluse crawls around looking for something-food, a search engine spider is looking for something: the most relevant answer to your queried term. With Brown Recluses a person can spray a repellent to keep them away from unwanted areas, similarly a webmaster can develop a site to allow SE spiders to crawl all, some or none of the content within the site. If the SE spider cannot get from one section of your site the next then your information will not become part of the index and will not be available when someone searches for similar content. Once a search engine knows that your website exists it has to be able to understand the content of your site and relate it back to the queried terms that are searched on the engine itself. Most search engines allow users to submit site maps which help to increase the size of the search index and help the search engines classify the content of the websites.

Search Engine Optimization should the core foundation of a website, and is an art and science of using HTML elements to help tell the search engine what your website is about and where to find the content. I say “Art and Science” because the bar for each search engine changes on a frequent basis, and it requires constant tweaking, editing and updating the site to meet the new requirements and rules, so SEO is not a set it and forget it form of marketing. If you want to stay in the game to have your site naturally appear in the Search Engine Results Pages then you want to keep a constant eye on your SEO strategy. Personally I’m not an SEO expert and I won’t pretend to be one. I understand the concepts and the basics of SEO but my core competency lies within the paid search basket. I can provide some of the basic foundations for your SEO program, but if you want to know more I can direct you to several SEO guru’s who blog regularly about the latest tips and tricks.

Paid Inclusion (also known as Search Submit Pro (SSP)) is hybrid of paid & organic search that allows users to pay to have their content appear within the natural search listings. A few search engines, such as Yahoo, allow users to submit a feed containing a website Meta Tags data such as keywords, title, and descriptions for each page in the feed and the feed over writes the Meta Tag information stored within the index. Paid Inclusion can be useful if you don’t have the resources to manually edit and change the meta tag data within each page of your website, however there are a few caveats to Paid Inclusion. With Paid Inclusion you can suggest which keywords you want your site to appear for in the Paid Search listings; however it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will get rankings for the keywords you are targeting. 

Paid search engine marketing, also known as Pay Per Click (PPC), is an auction that allows users to choose the keywords to which their ads appear. The auction model means that all users are “competing” for a ranking within the sponsored search portion of the search engine results page. Managing a paid search marketing campaign is a combination of technical skills and marketing skills married with attention to detail and a love for data. There are three main PPC platforms that use the top tiered search engines: Google’s Adwords, Yahoo’s Panama, Bing adCenter. On top of the top tier platforms there are several additional second and third tier search engines that run their own programs: Ask, Business.com, FindWhat, Miva, Kayak,  Quigo/AdSonar, etc. I would highly recommend testing out your PPC campaigns on Adwords, Panama or adCenter prior to expanding to the second tier platforms because the incremental extra work that will be on your plate to manage the additional search engines might not be worth the return. PPC is not for the marketer or website owner that believes in the philosophy of “set it and forget it.”

 The majority of the content within Search Marketing Corner will explain the nuisances of paid search marketing.

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