A few years ago, search engine placement was
arranged by your average Web designer and/or Webmaster.
The Webmaster would simply submit a site to search
engines manually or use rudimentary software that
was widely available.
Keyword relevance was largely a matter of link
popularity and the Webmaster assigning a simple
keyword meta-tag to each page of your site. The
system used to work reasonably well, or so it
seemed. That is no longer the case.
Today, submission to the major search engines
like Google is largely irrelevant, although there
is a complex mix of PFI (pay for inclusion) and
PFP (pay for performance, sponsored links, PPC
ads) that require complex submission of details.
In today's Internet economy, sophisticated and
complex programs - called spiders - surf the Web
looking at the source code of Web pages. They
sort through the complex web of formatting tags,
programming script, multi-media, page titles,
and content that the user may or may not see,
to ascertain how to rank each page of your site
for each and every word and word combination that
These spiders index the words of each page found
and add it to the engine's database, making them
available as keywords for search engine searchers.
In this new environment, sophisticated software
programs that analyze the various search engine
algorithms and how they rank selected pages have
moved to the forefront of search engine placement.
This has spawned a large industry of SEO (search
engine optimisation and marketing) experts and
specialist SEM firms.
What Does Keyword Based Marketing Offer?
If implemented correctly, SEO can offer a higher
return on investment than nearly any other marketing
strategy (online or offline). Placing high in
the search engine ranking positions (SERPs) is
a great way to attract first time visitors. Placement
in the search engines can largely determine the
"reach" of your online marketing strategy.
The stakes in this battle are being raised all
the time as the number of users going online increases
- which in the U.S. alone approaches 100 million
- with over 60% of those users spending some 48
BILLION dollars per year for online shopping (Greenspan,
With broadband prices in Australia falling rapidly
and the rate of Internet takeup extraordinarily
high, the Australian consumer is showing similar
enthusiasm for online sales. Unfortunately, many
potential buyers - some say as many as 70% - give
up because they cannot find the good sites to
shop at, because they are poorly keyword indexed
or the actual site has poor navigation and design.
When any business is making plans to improve
their Search Engine positions, they need to understand
that optimisation of your site for the Search
Engines is not a one-shot job. It requires ongoing
monitoring and tweaking in order to keep ahead
of both the competition AND the changes the Search
Engines make to how they rank sites.
Any comprehensive Web marketing plan should:
(1) Promote your web site based on the (optimised)
content of your site and knowledge of the relevant
(2) Utilise data of how the average search engine
user actually looks for information on your site
- including alternative terms, synonyms, common
(3) Include internal and external link building
with relevant sites and relevant keywords;
(4) Regular reporting of search engine positioning,
general Internet visibility and actual visitor
statistics/analytics and recommendation for improvements.
Every serious Web site owner should be on a Web
marketing plan that is definitely more than just
a submission or reporting service. Set a monthly
budget and take action.
We've seen many of our clients benefit from the
ongoing relationship we have developed with them
through our web marketing plans. Plenty of page
1 rankings on Google, Yahoo, MSN are not uncommon
over time, as we monitor and tweak their sites
for the Search Engines.
However, in almost all cases, those clients would
have never achieved and then maintained those
high rankings if they had not had someone in the
know keeping track of how their site is ranking,
and making changes where ever needed.
It's like advertising in the Yellow Pages really.
If you don't pay to have your ad included, you
don't get an entry in the book, and eventually
the calls to your business start to drop off as
people update to the newest edition.
Search Engine Optimisation / Marketing is the
same. The Internet is NOT static - it's always
changing and evolving, and in order for your site
to get and maintain good rankings around the keywords
that are important to you, you have to keep someone
on the job on a regular basis who knows how to
react to the changes happening.
The Return On Investment (ROI) for good SEO/SEM
services is very high, compared to traditional
advertising and marketing. According to Google's
statistics, Search advertising is up to 20 times
CHEAPER per lead, compared to (for example) Direct
Mail. For any company spending money on advertising,
this statistic should be of EXTREME interest!
After all, what company doesn't want to reduce
their cost of customer acquisition?
That's what SEO/SEM companies are supposed to
be about! Well, at least at our company, we are
- I can't speak for our competitors. Before you
hire an SEO/SEM company, ask what their plan is
for the ongoing optimisation of your site. If
they don't have a plan, run, don't walk, to the
nearest exit and hang onto your money.
About the author:
Charles Ryder is the CEO of WCR Internet Marketing,
a specialist Australian Search Engine Optimisation
company. For a free site analysis, visit www.wcr-internet-marketing.comau
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