Set Your Search Engine Marketing Preferences (1,596 words)
"Search engines have found that a lot of people were doing it," explains Gorgey. "[So] they designed algorithms to actually check if there is any material written in same color as the background. If that's the case, you're spam, and you're black-holed."
So SEO has its drawbacks. But if undertaken with respect for the fact that search engines are trusted by consumers precisely because they are relevant, SEO can be a valuable part of your search marketing mix.
Pay For Play
The search industry is moving toward pay models as companies are seeking a more projectable ROI. While the algorithm method is unlikely to go away, engines like Overture, FindWhat, Sprinks, Inktomi and others offer various paid options that remove some of the guesswork from the process. (Even Google offers paid results.)
"The main focus needs to be in keyword management," says Stuart Larkins, vice president, partner services, for Performics, a Chicago-based performance-based online marketing services company.
Companies buy or bid on keywords with various search engines. So if your company sells, say, hockey equipment, you'll want your site to be listed when a surfer types "goalie masks" or "waffle pad" into a search engine.
There are several ways to go about this. There are paid-placement models and paid-inclusion models.
Paid-placement is similar to banner advertising in that when your company buys placement, it's basically paying for its link to be called up each time a specific keyword is typed.
The advantage with paid-placement is "you only pay when we perform, when someone clicks through to your site," explains Karen Yagnesak, director of marketing and communications at FindWhat. You bid a certain amount per click (the higher you bid, the higher you appear in search results) and that's the amount you pay for each clickthrough.
Overture, FindWhat and Sprinks are among the biggest players in this market, providing sponsored results to their extensive distribution networks. Google has added sponsored links to its results as well. There also are many other engines, such as SearchFeed, ePilot and Kanoodle, providing results to the thousands of companies on the Web offering on-site search functions.