Search Engine Optimization

SEM: Make the Right Connections
December 1, 2006

When we talk about the World Wide Web, it’s easy to use the metaphor that has become part of its name: a web of pages connected together. That metaphor focuses more on the links between the pages than the pages themselves. When we start thinking about building traffic to Web sites, it’s often easy to also focus more on the links than those pages. That may be a mistake. The Web is filled with links, and with many opportunities to link to others and have them link to your site. Before you start asking Web site owners for links, or building material you hope they

The Branding Byproduct of SEM
November 29, 2006

Search engine marketing is about getting your rankings increased, working your way to the top of the search engine results, and boosting your number of qualified leads. Branding is about making your company’s name a household word, getting customers to react instinctively to your product, and engendering trust. Two completely separate marketing campaigns, right? Not if you’re smart, says Michael Stalbaum, CEO of UnREAL Marketing, a full-service marketing and advertising agency based in Narberth, Pa. “If you think about it, branding is nothing more than getting your company’s name associated with an action,” Stalbaum says. “In the case of SEM, you want that action to

Six SEO Basics You Must Know
November 15, 2006

While SEO might seem more attractive than paid forms of search engine marketing, it still takes considerable work to consistently perform well on the keywords that deliver profitable traffic to your Web site door. At last week’s ad:tech conference and exhibition in New York, two leading experts in the field shared their tips on where to put your effort in the session, Organic SEO—Fireside Chat With the Experts. Among other insights, Bruce Clay, renowned search guru and president of SEO and Internet marketing consulting firm Bruce Clay Inc., and Dana Todd, executive vice president of full-service interactive marketing agency SiteLab, offered attendees the following

Avid Technologies’ Christina Howe on Implementing SEO Recommendations
November 8, 2006

Here’s a jaw-dropping statistic: 64 percent of companies that outsource search engine optimization (SEO) duties don’t bother to follow up on the recommendations of the SEO experts they contract. This according to a study conducted by Jupiter Research and commissioned by iProspect, a search engine marketing firm based in Watertown, Mass. His team wasn’t surprised at the findings, says iProspect President Robert Murray. “Sixty-four percent is a very high number,” he says. “But the pressing question is why so many marketers fail to implement the recommendations of their outside SEO firm. There’s a lack of understanding of the costs involved, a lack of commitment by

Search Engine Marketing: Test Those Keywords
November 1, 2006

You’d never run the same mailing with the same list, but there are a number of marketers who never change keyword buys or landing pages. Use the same rigorous testing online as you would offline. What kind of testing you do depends on what kind of data you’ve got and what your resources are. You want to focus on areas that have the greatest yield with the smallest investment. If you have keywords that could be higher in the results if you could afford it, these are the ones to test optimization first. If you continuously test the most important things, you may never

Conversion Tactics
October 1, 2006

E-commerce sales can make marketers look good by raising top and bottom lines alike. We’re understandably pleased with ourselves. Yet we’re not satiated—we want more sales and speedier growth. But you’re mistaken to assume that today’s party-like conditions will last forever. In general, marketers are becoming entirely too dependent on today’s online media for low-cost, high-volume traffic to maintain growth. Meanwhile, they continually miss opportunities to convert more of the traffic they already have by not optimizing their content. For decades, the marketing battle has been fought over traffic and impressions. For brand marketers, the more people exposed to your marketing, the better. For direct marketers,

Be Worth the Trip
October 1, 2006

Direct marketers, like their advertising counterparts, are plenty guilty of creating nonsensical buzzwords to sensationalize industry trends. But I’m gonna defend Jeff and Bryan Eisenberg to the hilt for their characterization of marketers addicted to online traffic: “crackvertisers.” Besides the fact that it’s just plain fun to say, the term aptly describes those companies that are so focused on traffic volume they’ve forgotten that buying more visitors is not the only way to make money from a Web site. When keyword prices spiral—and they will, Jeff promises in his article about the future of SEM (turn to page 101)—these traffic junkies will be facing

Optimizing Paid SEM? Think Strategically
September 1, 2006

How do you get the most out of your paid search engine marketing (SEM) budget? Rather than purely focus on getting a top position at any cost, Kevin Lee, executive chairman and co-founder of Rockville Centre, N.Y.-based search engine marketing consultancy Did-it Search Marketing, recommends relying on the right mix of analytics and a well thought-out strategy. Presenting at DM Days New York Conference & Expo earlier this summer, Lee set out the following tactics that can make your paid search engine efforts more effective: 1. Base SEM success metrics on the business realities of your operation. Factor in your cost per order; cost per

Four Overlooked Natural Search Tactics
August 30, 2006

If most consumers don’t discern between paid search and natural search listings, as many studies of online behavior by Forrester, Jupiter and Pew Research Center suggest, then marketers might want to be careful not to fixate on paid search tactics. According to Stuart Larkins, vice president of search for Performics, an online marketing services and technology firm based in Chicago, “we’re really catching wind with synergies between natural search programs and paid search programs.” He explains that marketers can get enhancement from both sides of search marketing by working on these programs in lockstep, with the same methodologies or practices from a product and

Fast Fact: Tracking SEM ROI
August 1, 2006

Search engine marketing (SEM) is a booming industry. Paid placement, contextual ads, paid inclusion, search engine optimization and the rest of the SEM suite combined for an estimated $5.75 billion spend in 2005—with paid placement accounting for the largest slice of the pie at about $4.77 billion—according to a recent study of SEM marketers and agencies by the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO). That number is only expected to climb as the rise of local and niche search, increased broadband use and escalating cost-per-click rates drive the channel’s growth. SEMPO estimates the industry will ascend to more than $7 billion this year and