How Friendly Is Your SEM?
Search engine marketing, both paid and natural varieties, is an ever-changing landscape. Not in the least, because as more people go online to search out solutions for their challenges, marketers are shifting ad dollars to better their products' and services' chances of being found and purchased.
According to the 2007 State of the Market survey developed by the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO), spending on SEM in North America is projected to reach $25.2 billion by 2011; this follows a banner year in 2007, during which the North American SEM industry grew more than 20 percent to hit $12.2 billion in spending.
Because results are dependent on the number of participants and their behaviors-regardless of whether the behaviors are smart or wasteful-practitioners must be on their toes to guard against overspending and to derive the most profit from their activities. And the future, at least for paid search, indicates that prices are expected to go up.
According to a statement that Gordon Hotchkiss, SEMPO chairman and president of Enquiro Search Solutions, released with the survey data, "While [cost-per-click] inflation has slowed, marketers are finally beginning to recognize the value of search, and we expect search prices will hold and may even continue to move upward based on survey data."
As costs increase, firms will do well to break their bad search marketing habits. For example, says Mark Simon, vice president of industry relations for Rockville, N.Y.-based search marketing firm Didit, a tactic to drop is going after pay-per-click competitors to try to push them out of the top rankings for specific terms. "Marketers wind up fighting the wrong battle," he states. Instead, they should be fine-tuning their targeting efforts to optimize conversion.
On the search engine optimization front, half the battle is knowing where to focus your content-generation efforts, and the other half is making sure that information has been prepared properly for both people and search engines.