- Category: January - February 2009
A simple log on, getting registered and then receiving a lot of visitors is unrealistic. But still today a lot of search engine marketing service providers try to attract users with such a promise. Unfortunately, this simply doesn’t work anymore.
In the early days of search engines, registration was really often enough. However, the market has fast developed and goes through big changes over and over again. We are seeing a consolidation of companies, including those who have built up good brand names such as Infoseek. At the same time there is growing interdependence and dependence on search services, despite the fact that search services keep changing their business models. Earlier free services are complemented with paid "premium services" or lose out. Only those who take into consideration the changes and adapt themselves to reality can nowadays pursue successful search engine marketing.
The development of online marketing: A shift to measurable achievements
Clearly defined goals form the basis of every marketing strategy - like strengthening of the brand, production of new customers, or customer relationship are well established in the traditional marketing:
- Branding can be achieved with an image campaign.
- New customer production can be guaranteed by below-the-line-activities or direct marketing.
- Customer relations can be obtained, for instance, by bonus programs or customer magazines.
Today, however, online marketing is still mainly restricted to the application of TKP-based banner campaigns. This measure has its strength primarily in building up brand awareness.
But in times of lean budgets, the attention of the advertisers is increasingly focused on cost-effective advertising results which lead measurably to new customer production and sales increases. Hence, sensible supplements and alternatives in the online marketing mix, for example search engine marketing, affiliate programs, or sponsoring gains increase in meaning.
Search Engine Marketing - simply be found
More than 80% of all Internet users exploit search services to look online for information on products or services. The primary purpose of search engine marketing is to forward as many advertisers’ offers as possible and lead interested Internet users to the appropriate Web site -as nothing is better than to be simply be found!
Practically all common, successful procedures of search engine marketing are based on the principle of page ranking. Ranking pages are special for search engine created sites, which are optimized on well-chosen keywords and registered by the search engines. If a user finds such a hit in the result lists of the search engines and clicks it, he is taken directly – without perceiving it – to the Web site of the advertiser. Internet users that find the Web page of the supplier through search engines are of particular value. With their search enquiry, they demonstrate their clear defined interest and are then passed on directly to the relevant advertiser’s Web site. Besides, strays are nearly excluded. The chance to win such visitors as new customers is high accordingly. This self-developed selection of the target groups makes search services the ideal platform for efficient and lasting online marketing.
A job only for experts
The principle is simple and plausible, but the successful conversion has become difficult. Technology and environment of search services are subject to an unbelievable dynamism and generate more and more complex dependencies. The reasons for the complexity lie in the growing interdependence of every single search service. An entry in the right index improves the position in certain search engines. A good position in the right search engines leads as well to a better presence in meta-search services. Without specific knowledge of this complexity, search engine marketing is like sailing without knowing the direction of the wind.
The time of generally free registrations is over, too. More and more account models push for the market: Fees for registration, or positioning, for quick or preferential treatment, with fixed prices or per 1000 insertions, per single click or per position and new offers constantly pop up. But not everything makes sense.
Nowadays, maybe only experts with a lot of experience can still judge exactly which price is reasonable for which achievement and which ones they should steer clear off.
Some search services offer special liabilities to pay costs programs for preferential registration or for well-chosen partners’, even special interfaces to register sites. Due to these developments, search engine marketing has become a job for specialists which can barely be pursued by ambitious Web masters.
Business activities of search engine marketers
As an advertiser you should expect the following from a professional:
Experts select for the advertiser, according to a need analysis, suitable measures and account models – including special registrations. At the same time it’s important that the service provider has access to all special programs of the big search engine suppliers due to its contacts. The service provider supplies the advertiser with a tailor-made vocabulary of concepts for a precise addressing of the targeted group and a maximum of traffic.
The well-chosen measures should be maintained by the service provider during the whole term and be optimized. To the market, changes have to be adapted. Only in this way can lasting success be guaranteed. Of advantage is the handling of the whole process as well as the billings by the service provider. It saves the customer valuable resources and time.
The results of all measures should be monitored the whole time with transparent and clear reports for the advertisers. Because if you want to compare the different offers by yourself, you will find out that it’s as tedious as checking out an appropriate insurance. An ideal scenario would be the representation through an online customer centre, which you as a customer can contact any time.
Serious service providers generally offer in addition tracking links to control the success of the measures and to be able to determine conversion rates. Be assured that the achievement of professional search engine marketing is something to be proud of.
Pay-per-click search engines: Auction of search words is the new trend
A new form of search engine marketing establishes itself fast with a pretty simple principle: Each advertiser can ask for his individually important keywords and order it. Who offers for a search word the highest price gets the first place on the result list. The following offers appear on place 2, 3 etc. So, the order of listing is determined by the price you are willing to pay for a search word. Nevertheless, the advertiser only has to pay when a user clicks on the advertisement link in the result list and becomes in this way a visitor of his website. To guarantee the quality of the results the employees of the pay-per-click search engines check every relevant order – i.e. it is checked whether the website of the advertiser keeps what it promises in the hit lists of the search engine. (see list of PPC companies pg. 4 ). Pay-per-click search engines are special not only due to their auction model but because of the broad reach the advertiser can achieve as the auctioned positions are showed not only on the pay-per-click search engine, but also in the result lists of the partner search engines. It can be forecasted that search engine marketing in general and especially pay-per-click-search engines will influence the online advertising industry in 2007 decisively.
By Daniela La Marca