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Search Engine Marketing
Top 5 Tips for Marketing Success
Originally Published: October 2004
If you are new to the Search category, you're probably familiar with the term "Search Engine Optimization" (SEO) and have seen or heard the term "Search Engine Marketing" (SEM), but are not exactly sure what Search Engine Marketing really means. More than likely, you've heard the two terms used interchangeably and may think that they mean the same thing. Though they are similar, there is a dramatic difference between the two practices. Knowing and understanding the difference between these two terms, and more importantly, knowing how to take advantage of the differences is the key to overall success in marketing via search engines.
There has been a dramatic but subtle change over the past few years with regards to promoting websites via search engines. Rather than being two interchangeable terms, Search Engine Optimization is actually an element of Search Engine Marketing, with the other element being "Paid Search Media." It is those site owners and managers that truly understand this, and utilize it on their site along with all of the elements involved in each, that are achieving success on the search engines at a reasonable cost.
Let's define the terms before continuing.
Search Engine Marketing:
The act of marketing a web site via search engines, whether this is improving rank in organic listings, purchasing paid listings or a combination thereof, along with other search engine related activities. (Source: SEMPO.org)
Search Engine Optimization:
The act of altering a web site so that is does well in the organic, crawler- based listings of search engines. Also called "SEO." (Source: SEMPO.org)
Paid Search Media:
Advertising programs where listings are guaranteed to appear in response to particular search terms, with higher ranking typically obtained by paying more than other advertisers. Also called "Paid Placement," "Pay Per Click" and "Cost per Click." (Source: SEMPO.org)
It is important to understand that there is no less value in performing Search Engine Optimization because of the rise in popularity of Paid Search Media and Pay Per Click (PPC) programs offered by companies such as Overture and Google (Adwords.) If anything, it has increased the importance of optimizing your web site, namely due to the fluctuating costs of PPC programs.
The following tips will enable you to take full advantage of Search Engine Marketing. They will also assist you in achieving your online goals as rapidly as possible, and at a very reasonable cost.
1. Understand your online business
There are a lot of business owners that believe their offline business is the same as their online business; that the two mimic each other. Usually, this is only partially correct. This is especially true when it comes to competitor analysis. Many times the companies you compete with offline are markedly different from the ones you compete with online and visa versa.
To begin understanding your online business, simply write a description of your company. Have your colleagues, family and friends do the same. If you own a brick and mortar business, ask your customers to describe your business for you. Most will be happy to provide feedback. You may find that many of the descriptions are similar, yet different.
Next, go online. Search for your competitors' sites and pay careful attention to how they are promoting and positioning themselves in the marketplace. Use the information you've already gathered about YOUR company and refine it to ensure you are properly differentiating yourself. Take the time to integrate your own identity, as you now understand it, and based upon feedback from others.
2. Understanding your online customer
Frequently, your online customer's profile WILL be similar to your offline customer. You should use this information when performing optimization to your website and when buying pay-per-click keywords.
It is important to understand that much like traditional, brick and mortar customers, there are different types of online customers. These customers will search very differently and can sometimes be segmented by gender, race, and income level. It has been proven that men search differently than women and further, older men and women search differently than younger men and women do.
Two excellent studies have been produced recently that discuss the different types of searchers. Those studies are:
Inside the Mind of the Searcher
(free download registration required) is a first of its kind study covering the types of searchers using search engines, what search results caught their attention and what enticed them to click on results.
Search Engine User's Attitudes
(free download) is an in depth study that reveals the relationship between profession, age, education, race and sex and how that influence a persons' searches.
These studies will provide you with valuable insight to help you understand your customer base better. Once you have a thorough understanding of how your customers search, you will be better positioned to apply that knowledge to choosing the right keywords.
Conversions & Keywords Research >>>
This article is copyrighted and has been reprinted with permission from FirstPlace Software.
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