Set Your Search Engine Marketing Preferences (1,596 words)
So what are the pros and cons involved in choosing between a big site and a smaller site? It comes down to traffic and cost.
"The big search engines have the traffic, the small ones don't," says Larkins. "You see the conversions and your ROI change dramatically from search engine to search engine. It's not a specific science that search works the same everywhere."
The bigger engines tend to cost more per keyword, however, which can mean a good deal to a smaller company that might not be able to outbid larger competitors. So while a smaller engine might not deliver the traffic a large engine does, a smaller engine can provide more targeted and cost-efficient traffic.
"We go out and find vertical-type, or regional search portals, or even larger search portals that have existing traffic in a specific niche," says Bill Loss, president, SearchFeed. "From the advertiser's perspective, we're trying to offer the most targeted lead available."
When using keywords, it's vital to keep track of which words work.
"The number one thing you need to do is have conversion tracking, or have ROI tracking ability down to the keyword level," emphasizes Larkins. "Without the ROI tracking you could be wasting thousands of dollars and not focusing your efforts toward a keyword that you wouldn't think converts but really does."
Companies in very large, competitive spaces would probably do well to ensure they have some paid-position advertising in their mix.
Companies with very specialized products, or with very large product databases, might not need to make that investment, and could opt for another paid model: paid inclusion.
According to Kenneth Norton, director of product marketing and strategy at Inktomi, a major paid-inclusion player, "You can view paid placement as being analogous to the yellow pages and paid inclusion to the white pages. … Unlike paid placement, paid inclusion does not artificially affect the ranking or placement of content."