“Build it and they will come” script quote Field of Dreams 1989 – Kevin Costner
"but that only works in the movies" - Tony Sobers
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Pay-per-Click (PPC) advertising are often confused with each other. In the simplest terms the former affects the likelihood of people searching their way to your site, the latter relates to your business paying to have potential customers directed to your site from a search engine.
Both are valuable if implemented in a sensible fashion and both are forms of Search Engine Marketing. Search Maketing is about making your web presence more visible to your potential clients and customers. Read on to get an idea whether your Search Marketing needs are best served by Search Engine Optimisation, Pay-per-Click or both.
At the end of those descriptions you may be thinking you need an SEO consultation or a PPC campaign or both. Pick up the phone and give us a call.
Search Engine Optimisation or SEO should always be considered when a site is being built but of course this may not have been apparent at the time. Your web agency may not have considered Search Engine Optimisation a priority or possibly they used development techniques or tools that had an adverse effect on searchability, for older sites this isn’t uncommon.
A correctly optimised site will naturally have a higher standing when it comes to being listed on a search engine. A poorly optimised site may not show up at all. The SEO effectiveness of your site is the result of a combination of things, the way the actual content is written, the way the site is coded and inbound links from the rest of the web amongst others. There are tools we can use to check your site performance.
So why should that be important to you? As a business you wouldn’t make a conscious decision to put a website on-line knowing people couldn’t find it. If site effectiveness is an issue then you should consider some kind of optimisation. We’d be happy to carry out an assessment for you. One last point here, the methods for SEO have evolved over the past years. As developers have learnt how to make their sites more visible, search engines have become smarter at spotting them, you should revisit your site every so often to check it is following current best practice.
Who should be thinking about Search Engine Optimisation? Certainly if you have a business that relies on people finding you when searching for a specific product or service then you should definitely check the SEO performance of your site. And if you don’t sell online, definitely consider SEO before any kind of pay-per-click campaign. Not-for-profit organisations that rely on the web as a communications medium should definitely check their SEO performance.
PPC (Pay Per Click advertising)
Pay-per-Click advertising or PPC allows advertisers to place targeted ads in front of users searching for products or services through search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Lycos et al. It's called Pay-per-Click because that's exactly what it is.
Because the ads are targeted, and assuming you’ve targeted them well, you can begin pulling valuable punters directly to your website at which point you could convert them into a sale. Many businesses successfully use this form of advertising whilst others are confused as to the benefits and the economics of it.
If you are unsure then as a business consider these four questions.
- Do you have a service or product that can be sold online or sold as a direct result of online activity and a customer base that regularly researches the web for those products?
- Are you also able to accurately assess the number of people who visit your website and the proportion of visits that lead to a transaction or successful sales lead?
- What is the value of an average sale?
- If you can answer the first three questions then you should be able to quantify the average value of each visitor to your site. If you can, then you should ask yourself the fourth question.
- How much on average is each visitor to your site worth and can you afford to spend a fraction of that value to attract potential customers online?
If you can answer this last question positively then you could be considering Pay-per-click advertising as a way of driving sales, look into it further. First, read the next section to see how it works.
So what is PPC and how does it work?
Whoever you are talking to, it helps to know their language. And if you’re online it helps to be in tune with the language your audience is using, especially if you plan to spend money on online advertising.
Pay per click advertising is available through search engines and specialist portals. Search engines collate the content of the web so that users can more easily find pages and sites of interest to them, they’ve become a vital part of our web experience. It makes sense that businesses would advertise here and they do.
Using Google as an example. When users type in a term and conduct a search the results are divided into two types. Natural search results are listed to the left, paid-for result listings are on the right. It’s the right-hand list that’s of interest.
The list on the right is generated from a list of paying advertisers. Each is prepared to pay a sum for web users searching the term or parts of the term you've used to be diverted to their website. How much they've paid depends on the popularity of the term and the competition for it.
The ones at the top of the list have probably paid a bit more than the ones at the bottom and almost certainly more than the ones on the next page. The reason is simple, users are more likely to click on items towards the top of these lists and a measurable number can be converted into customers.
So you can see that if you could answer the previous four questions and we can tell you what it would cost to get your company on the search list (and given the proviso that you are an advertiser at the moment) then you may have a case for looking at this form of advertising. Advertisers can further fine-tune the effectiveness and targeting of their ads by carefully examining their keyword strategy. The key is to know how customers search for and describe the product which once understood, will greatly enhance the accuracy of ad delivery.
Search Marketing or Search Engine Marketing is the process of first developing and then implementing your online marketing strategy. Whether you decide that a paid search approach is what you need, or organic listing visibility through search optimisation you need a plan to make it happen.
That is where themediapractice can help with your needs. We can look at your online requirement and advise on the best way to make it happen. We'll manage all the aspects of site optimisation, submission, campaign development, advertising, affiliate programs or whatever is right for you.
Give us a call and see how we can help.