Internet Advertisement Explained : Part 2 What is Search Engine Marketing ?

Search engines are primary vehicle for getting web-site traffic. A visitor arrives at a web-site through any of the following four ways:
  • Search Engines and Directories

  • Following an external link (other than search engine or directory)

  • Bookmark

  • Direct navigation (typing web-site URL in browser)

It has been found that for most web-sites - search engines and directories account for about half of total "unique visitors". But in reality, this figure is much higher as visitors who use bookmark or direct navigation might have used a search engine to learn about the web-site in first place. Obviously, search engines play a major role in driving traffic to your web-site and consequently success of your business over Internet.

What is Search Engine Marketing ?

For most people Search engine marketing starts and ends with high rank in search engine. However, in reality - its far wider in scope. Search engine marketing is an amalgamation of a complex set of activities that result in more number of relevant visitors to a web-site.

The amalgamated activities include following processes:
  • Organic Placement

  • Targeted Advertisement

  • Paid Inclusion

Organic Placement

This refers to submission of web-site to various search engines. The rank of submitted web-site depends entirely on how the search engine measures its relevance and importance in respect of given keywords. There's stiff competition among web-sites and the submitted web-site must have the quality to beat others to occupy the top slot.

In this process, a few keywords are selected that describe the web-site's business or products to be promoted. Next, web-site is 'optimized' for these keywords and finally submitted to various search engines and directories. At no stage does the web-site pays to search engine, though it may have paid to SEO professionals for optimization or other services.

Organic submission is successful when a visitor finds the web-site at the top of search result while searching with given keyword(s).

It should be noted here that any web-site that occupies top slot in a search result solely does so by virtue of its own merit. In other words, the search engine must have found something very relevant and impressive in the web-site to place it at the top of search result.

Anybody claiming to place any web-site at the top of search engine through organic placement can do so either by injecting really good content in the web-site so that search engine picks it up for top rank or by fooling the search engine to 'think' that the web-site has tremendous content though in reality it does not have so.

There are many articles on optimization and submission in previous issues of FAIDA. Interested readers may visit FAIDA Archives for more information.

Targeted Advertisement

Most Search engines (Yahoo!, Google, Overture etc.) accept small text advertisements that are positioned at the top or alongside search results. In this mode, advertiser selects keywords and buys position for his/her text ad in search result for those keywords.

So, if your web-site deals with 'readymade garments' - you may select relevant keywords like apparels, garments, cotton garments, ladies dress etc. (for information on how to select relevant keywords - please read earlier issues of FAIDA). Whenever someone searches with any of these keywords - your small text ad will appear at the top or on right hand side of search result. This way, you bypass rigorous organic placement route and attract customers to your web-site. Unlike organic placement, your web-site does not have to pass a test for relevance to appear at the top of a search result.

As the text ads are displayed only against selected keywords - this type of promotion is called "targeted advertisement"

The position of a text ad in targeted advertisement depends upon how much one is willing to pay. If there is more than one advertiser for a given keyword (which normally is the case) - advertisers bid for top position. The more you bid - higher will be the position of your text ad.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is a popular type of targeted advertisement where advertiser pays for every click that his/her advertisement gets. This is one of the easiest and most effective methods available for marketing your web site. Google Adwords and Overture Precision Match are the most used of these programs.

Paid Inclusion

Getting listed in well known directory type search engines (such as Yahoo, DMoz etc.) is extremely difficult as thousands apply for inclusion everyday. Being directory, these can accept only a handful from thousands of aspirants - making inclusion that much tough and time consuming.

Some directories accept a fee for rapid inclusion, others charge a fee for shortening examination time to few days (but no guarantee on inclusion, listing on merit only) while still others do not charge any fee where all inclusions are free and strictly on merit only.

Paid inclusion can ensure listing of a new web-site in select directories at the shortest possible time - thereby increasing its PageRank (PR) value and consequently higher rank in search engines.

How Successful is Search Engine Marketing ?

Success of search engine marketing can be gauged by various surveys and user responses. Most Internet surveys now point out that visitors seldom go beyond third page in any search result and chances of a click in first page is as high as 58%. No wonder, there is a mad rush among web-sites to rank higher and higher in search engines.

But what about targeted advertisements. How successful is it ?

Success of search engine marketing can be estimated from advertiser response. I place here only one fact for you to ponder:

Google has become bigger than Coca-Cola in only a few short years. 99% of Google's revenue comes from search advertising.

Happy and Productive Surfing

Dr. Amit K Chatterjee

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Source: FAIDA - Newsletter on Business Opportunties from India and Abroad Vol: 6, Issue 27 ; April 21' 2006

Author : Dr. Amit K. Chatterjee As Featured On Ezine Articles
(Amit worked in blue-chip Indian and MNCs for 15 years in various capacities like Research and Information Analysis, Market Development, MIS, R&D Information Systems etc. before starting his e-commerce venture in 1997. The views expressed in this columns are of his own. He may be reached at )

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