Search Engine Marketing: SEO and PPC

Search Engine Optimizing and Media Advertising

The entire process of getting listed on search engines so consumer can find you is called search engine marketing (SEM). There are two basic aspects of SEM: Search Engine Optimizing and Pay-per-Click. The focus of this paper is investigating the relevance and uses of the non-traditional media of search engine optimizing in advertising and media planning.  The principle purpose of Internet marketing and advertising is to drive traffic to the targeted media.  Advertisers want to attract visitors to their brochure sites or e-commerce sites for branding and sales purposes and may use online and offline methods to generate traffic.

SEO tools and advertising work together in business media planning to promote online content. Therefore, it can never be either one or the other. Advertising involves a “call to action” giving the viewer cause to follow the advice in the advertisement and businesses must compete in the online search engine market for advertising and brand visibility, attention, and product placement.  A media planner should use SEO tactics for driving traffic to a site with advertising content to gain traction with consumers on coupon codes, subscriptions, promotional offers, and white paper content.

SEO’s require no out-of-pocket cost to pay for as placement, but there is a cost to design a site to optimize for a natural search but well worth it in the end.  While websites take longer to set up and implement, if monitored properly, it can have a positive long term effect.  To do this the company needs to understand their target market, developing keywords to reach that market, defining and developing their site around those keywords.  It’s always a good idea to do market research and ask customers how they search for their product.  Monitoring social media conversations is another way to determine how to pick appropriate keywords to monitor both paid and SEO.  As a marketer you want to be where your consumers are and to participate in the conversation to engage and keep customers, by doing this you can expand their search profiles on social media accounts.  In 2010 a recent study by business.com indicated that top performing companies were using social media to enhance their natural search engine efforts with websites

 

“Search is the new Yellow Pages” from a Burke 2011 report:

76% of respondents used search engines to find local business information vs. 24% who turned to print yellow pages.

67% had used search engines in the past 30 days to find local information, and 23% responded that they had used online social networks as a local media source.

Search engine technology relies on the metrics of relevance and importance, and they measure those metrics by tracking what people do: what they discover, react, comment, and link to. So, you can’t just build a perfect website and write great content; you also have to get that content shared and talked about. Therefore, SEO is not a media message vehicle but in fact a supporting media tool for brand exposure.  Search engine optimizing is about your media advertising content being viewed online with search engines and those with the knowledge and experience to improve their website’s ranking will receive the benefits of increased traffic and visibility.

Search marketers as a community have come to understand many of the basic operations of search engines and the critical components of creating websites and pages that earn high rankings and significant traffic. The trend towards search engine usage and dependence has continued to grow. United States Internet users performed 75 searches per month, with an expected growth rate of 2%. SEO guides your submitted content URL to directories, social bookmarking sites, social networks, forums, Blogs, Q&A sites, guest blogging, video blogs, and more forms that are being created everyday though online culture. The most dominate search engine website is currently Google.  With around 85% of search engine traffic in 2016.

In 2016 research, StatCounter reports the top 5 search engines sending traffic worldwide:

  • Google sends 80.62% of traffic.
  • Yahoo! sends 3.78% of traffic.
  • Bing sends 3.72% of traffic.
  • Ask Jeeves sends .36% of traffic.
  • Baidu sends .35% of traffic.

An August 2011 Pew Internet study revealed, that the percentage of Internet users who use search engines on a typical day has been steadily rising from about one-third of all users in 2002, to a new high of 59% of all adult Internet users.

The overall objective of SEO marketing strategies is for your website to appear in the first page of organic search engine results because that is when your website has the best opportunity to create an impression or inspire a call to action.

A 2011 study by Slingshot SEO reveals click-through rates for top webpage results:

  • A #1 position in Google’s search results receives 18.2% of all click-through traffic. The second position receives 10.1%, the third 7.2%, the fourth 4.8%, and all others under 2%.
  • A #1 position in Bing’s search results averages a 9.66% click-through rate.
  • The total average click-through rate for first ten results was 52.32% for Google and 26.32% for Bing. (Moz)

Search engines are answer machines scanning millions of webpage links using automated robots, called “crawlers” or “spiders,” to reach billions of interconnected documents on the web. Search engines find these pages, they decipher the Index code from them and store selected pieces in massive databases, to be recalled later when needed for a user’s search query.  Indexing means associating words and other definable tokens found on web pages to their domain names and HTML-based fields. The associations are made available for web search queries and the index helps find information relating to the query as quickly as possible.  Therefore, if you want your page to have a chance of ranking in the search results for “dog,” it’s wise to make sure the word “dog” is part of the Indexing or crawlable content of your document. 
Search Engines Design and Propose

The search engine has scanned billions of documents and does two things: first, it returns results that are relevant or useful to the searcher’s query; second, it ranks those results according to the popularity of the websites providing the information. It is both, relevance and popularity that the process of SEO is meant to influence. Popularity and relevance aren’t determined manually by users. Instead, the engines employ mathematical equations or algorithms. These algorithms often comprise hundreds of variables referred as “ranking factors.”

Search engines websites conduct three types of searches for users:

Transactional Searches – Transactional Queries: I want to do something, such as buy a plane ticket or listen to a song. Identifying, a local business, making a purchase online, or completing transactional searches don’t necessarily involve a credit card or wire transfer. Signing up for a free trial account at Cook’s Illustrated, creating a Gmail account, or finding the best local Mexican cuisine (in Seattle it’s Carta de Oaxaca) are all transactional queries.

Navigational Searches – Navigation Queries: I want to go to a particular place on the Internet, such as Facebook or the homepage of the NFL.  Visiting a pre-determined destination or sourcing a specific URL. Navigational searches are performed with the intent of surfing directly to a specific website. In some cases, the user may not know the exact URL, and the search engine serves as the White Pages.

Informational Searches – Informational Queries: I need information, such as the name of a band or the best restaurant in New York City. Researching non-transactional information, getting quick answers, or ego-searching.  Informational searches involve a huge range of queries from finding out the local weather to getting maps and directions to finding out how long that trip to Mars really takes (about eight months). The common thread here is that the searches are primarily non-commercial and non-transaction-oriented in nature; the information itself is the goal, and no interaction beyond clicking and reading is required.

 

Google has introduced several Panda updates to its ranking algorithm over the years since 2011, significantly changing the way it judged websites for quality. Google started by using human evaluators to manually rate thousands of sites, searching for low quality content. Google then incorporated machine learning to mimic the human evaluators. Once its computers could accurately predict what the humans would judge a low quality site, the algorithm was introduced across millions of sites spanning the Internet. The end result was a seismic shift that rearranged over 20% of all of Google’s search results.

The Importance of Keywords

SEO’s content development strategies help companies and organizations better position their websites messages on the Internet to gain attention and ultimately clicks by users. A foundation of SEO strategy is to create a seamless user experience, and to do this, your SEO will need to communicate with the search engine websites. By displaying your website/pages content to search engine algorithms, they in turn can recommend your website for a user’s relevant keyword search/queries.   Keyword research is one of the most important, valuable, and high in return activities with search engine marketing. They are the building blocks of language and of search. In fact, the entire science of information retrieval, including web-based search engines like Google, is based on keywords. As the engines crawl and index the contents of pages around the web, they keep track of those pages in keyword-based indexes.  In order to know which keywords to target, when your message is targeting multiple keywords or an especially long keyword phrase. Having them in the title tag is essential to ranking and it may be advisable to go longer.  Having the right keywords can make or break your websites visibility on the Internet. It’s essential to understand the demand for a given term or phrase and by researching your market’s keyword demand you can learn which terms and phrases to target with SEO content.

In Moz’s biannual survey of SEO industry leaders, 94% of participants said that keyword use in the title tag was the most important place to use keywords to achieve high rankings.”(Citation).

The search engines’ primary responsibility is to serve relevant results to their users. To perform better in search engine listings, the easiest way to ensure that the words and phrases you display to your visitors are visible to search engines is to place them in the HTML text on the page, anchor texts, and relevant titles with descriptions are displayed.  SEO looks for performance of the website that has steady uploads and downloads while working properly with links from one page to the next. Having a high webpage authority indicates that your site has good enough content to link to, and having other authoritative sites using your website as a reference or site the information available contributes to a higher Page Rank with search engines. A friendly user experience allowing the site to look appealing, easy to navigate from the home page, appears and actually is safe for users, and has a low bounce rate. Search for sites like yours by using keywords and phrases directly relevant to your business. When you locate sites that aren’t directly competitive, email them, use their online forms, call them on the phone, or even send them a letter by mail to start a conversation about getting a link.

SEO Media Strategies

A search engines optimizer is looking for content that is determined or judged by a theme that is being relevant to the user’s keywords.  Implementing a keyword strategy with that theme is not only important to implement on-site, but it should extend to other off-site media platforms to link in your media planning campaign.  Getting customer to link to your advertisements, when you have partners who you work with regularly, or loyal customers that love your brand, you can capitalize on this by sending out partnership badges—graphic icons that link back to your site (like Google often does with their AdWords certification program). Just as you’d get customers wearing your t-shirts or sporting your bumper stickers, links are the best way to accomplish the same feat on the web.

SEO can connect users to your message through coordination of a Multi-channel platforms including links to networking media sites like Facebook, twitter, Instagram, and linkedin. A 2011 research study revealed, that social media marketing and vertical search inclusion are mainstream methods for conducting multimedia search engine optimization.  Being consistent with keyword phrases within those platforms will not only help your marketing buzz and branding efforts, but also train users and consumers to use specific phrases you’re optimizing for.  It is important that your target phrases are embedded regularly throughout the page in question.  Remember to include the phrases in the headline, high in the body copy and again at the bottom, as engines like Google like the standard thesis approach to page layout.  White hat SEO techniques are condoned by search engines. (Larson & Draper, 2015).  White hat practices include webpage element such as keyword optimized content, good site architecture and internal linking.  Other white hat techniques are guest blogging, link baiting, quality content, internal linking, and site optimization” (Darell).

Using black hat SEO technique is when something is created intentionally to increase a website’s ranking (Larson & Draper, 2015). Black hat SEO is when a company uses frowned upon techniques deemed by google algorithms like hidden links, texts, and keyword stuffing.  Having too many hidden anchor text’s, doorway and cloaked pages, link farming, hidden texts and links, blog comment spams that are unrelated to the website purpose or function is a form of a Black Hat techniques being use to generate view traffic.   Black-hat techniques are also tactics that will lead to punishment such as a temporary shutdown of a webpage.  There are some very obvious risks when a company uses a black or grey hat SEO.  Staying in compliance with the terms and conditions set by the online browser/engine you are using will be in the company’s best interest when competing online for relevance to a consumer’s problem.

The term “grey hat” refers to a computer security expert optimizer who may sometimes violate Google’s policy or typical ethical standards, but does not have the malicious intent typical of a black hat hacker. Grey Hat involves techniques like, “cloaking, purchasing old domains, duplicate content, link buying, and social media automation and purchasing followers.” (Butters, 2014).

A SEM Manager should stay within the boundaries of rule and regulations enforced by governments.  They should also have ethical conduct when using SEO tactics to having their webpage be relevant for searching users on the Internet.  We want to have an understanding of what people are interested in or what they are looking for when accessing the internet.  And standard practices are not always effective and may not always be relevant, adopting or trying SEO tactics outside the white and into the grey is possible but only if it helps users to find what they are looking for or that a problem exists in the system be to revealed

 

Target Marketing and Visibility

An important aspect of SEO is making your website easy for both users and search engine robots to understand. SEO plays a large part in finding information that is relevant to users. Once you grasp what your target market is looking for, you can more effectively reach and keep those users and understanding which websites already rank for your keyword gives you valuable insight into the competition.  Typically, many display search ads like banners means a high-value keyword, and multiple search ads above the organic results often means a highly lucrative and directly conversion-prone keyword.

The title tag is a new visitor’s first interaction with your brand and should convey the most positive impression possible. Creating a compelling title tag will help grab attention on the search results page, and attract more viewers to your sites advertisement. Highlighting that SEO is about not only optimization and strategic keyword usage, but the entire user experience.  Search engine “website link” results must include a Meta tag, in the Meta description tag that helps to attract clicks by viewers reading the results page, as the Meta description becomes the snippet of text used by the search engines.  Display advertisers utilize Meta tags with cookies and browser history to determine users’ demographics and interests so they can target relevant ads to those browsers. “One of many lessons search marketers have learned is that long tail keywords often convert better, because they catch people later in the buying/conversion cycle. A person searching for ‘shoes’ is probably browsing, and not ready to buy. On the other hand, someone searching for best price on Air Jordan size 12.” (Drapier) You can gain targeted online marketing through measurement methods like patent analysis, experiments, and live testing.

An example of how search engines connect business to consumers with SEO, assume your search ad generated 5,000 impressions in one day, of which 100 visitors have come to your site, and three have converted for a total profit of $300. In this case, a single visitor for that keyword is worth $3 to your business. Those 5,000 impressions in 24 hours could generate a click-through rate of between 18-36% with a #1 ranking which would mean 900-1800 visits per day, at $3 each, or between 1 and 2 million dollars per year and therefore businesses should love search marketing.

Engagement Metrics and Link Building

When a search engine delivers a page of results to you, it can measure the success of the rankings by observing how viewers engage with those results. Link building requires creativity, hustle, and often, a budget. No two link building campaigns are the same, and the way you choose to build links depends as much upon your website as it does your personality. Below are three basic types of link acquisition.  If viewers click the first link, then immediately hit the back button to try the second link, this indicates that they were not satisfied with the first result. Search engines seek the “long click” – where users click a result without immediately returning to the search page to try again. Taken in aggregate over millions and millions of queries each day, the engines build up a good pool of data to judge the quality of their results.

SEO success comes when you see increases in search traffic, higher rankings, more frequent search engine crawling and increases in referring link traffic. If these metrics do not rise after a successful link building campaign, it’s possible you either need to seek better quality link targets, or improve your on-page optimization.  By examining the backlinks (inbound links) of a website that already ranks well for your targeted keyword phrase, you gain valuable intelligence about the links that help them achieve this ranking. Using tools like Open Site Explorer, SEOs can discover these links and target these domains in their own link building campaigns.  However, link building should never be solely about search engines. Links that send high amounts of direct click-through traffic not only tend to provide better search engine value for rankings, but also send targeted, valuable visitors to your site  This is something you can estimate based on the numbers of visits or page views according to site analytics.  As a general rule, it’s wise to build as vast and varied a link profile as possible, as this brings the best search engine results. Any link building pattern that appears non-standard, unnatural, or manipulative will eventually become a target for advancing search algorithms to ignore.

 

Spreading the Word

Build a company blog is a valuable, informative, and entertaining resource. Blogs have the unique ability to contribute fresh material on a consistent basis, participate in conversations across the web, and earn listings and links from other blogs, including blogrolls and blog directories.  Create content that inspires viral sharing and natural linking and in the SEO world, we often call this “linkbait.” Each leverages aspects of usefulness, information dissemination, or humor to create a viral effect. Users who see it once want to share it with friends, and bloggers/tech-savvy webmasters who see it will often do so through links. Such high quality, editorially earned votes are invaluable to building trust, authority, and rankings potential.  Be newsworthy because earning the attention of the press, bloggers and news media is an effective, time-honored way to earn links. Sometimes this is as simple as giving away something for free, releasing a great new product, or stating something controversial.  It takes time, practice, and experience to build comfort with these variables as they relate to search engine traffic. However, using your websites analytics, you should be able to determine whether your campaign is successful.

 

Citations

 

Larson, J., & Draper, S. (2015). Internet Marketing Essentials. Retrieved March, 2017, from library.stukent.com

 

Darell, R. (2013). SEO Tactics: A Comparison of Black, Grey & White Hat SEO. In Bit Rebels. Retrieved March 22, 2016, from http://www.bitrebels.com/technology/seo-tactics-legality-infographic/

 

Butters, K. (2014, January 7). Grey Hat SEO Techniques: Should You Use Them? – Positional Blog. Retrieved from http://positionly.com/blog/seo/grey-hat-seo-techniques, March 30, 2017.

Ohye, Maile. “SEO for startups in under 10 minutes” Webmasters, Google https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=El3IZFGERbM

https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo/measuring-and-tracking-success

 

Beck, B. (2016). Introduction to SEO. Stukent.com. Retrieved from: https://www.stukent.com/expert-sessions/introduction-to-seo/

Dean, B. (2016, April 12). Googles 200 ranking factors, the complete list. Backlinko.com. Retrieved from: http://backlinko.com/google-ranking-factors

Jawadekar, Waman S (2011), “8. Knowledge Management: Tools and Technology”, Knowledge Management: Text & Cases, New Delhi: Tata McGraw-Hill Education Private Ltd, p. 278, ISBN 978-0-07-07-0086-4, retrieved March 20, 2017.

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