Article written by Tiffany Guarnaccia for Searchfeed.com Corporate Communications
Synergy, defined as “the working together of two things to produce an effect greater than the sum of their individual effects,” is a concept that should be implemented in search engine marketing (SEM). There are three main areas of search engine marketing: Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay-per-Click (PPC) and Paid Inclusion. The individual effects of these search engine marketing processes are proven to be beneficial to online advertisers, Internet users and Web site owners. But, when they are combined, the results are much more powerful.
In this article, two parts of search engine marketing SEO and PPC will be examined individually, noting strengths and weaknesses. Then, we will examine the positive effects of using both SEO and PPC together, and how together these processes create a stronger SEM campaign.
The Individual Search Engine Optimization Process
In SEO, Web sites are ranked according to the amount of relevant content they contain, link popularity, and a variety of other criteria that typically vary from search engine to search engine. Optimization is based on the idea of appealing to search engine spiders that read HTML code, emphasizing on specific keywords based on a Web site’s target audience. A Web site’s ranking within search results is typically determined by the amount of correlating keywords found by the spider and other metrics which are included in a search engine’s specific algorithm.
SEO is an important first step in having a successful online marketing campaign. It helps create a Web site that’s easy to navigate and creates a site that usually has a higher placement amongst organic search results.
But, there are some drawbacks to the SEO process. For example, since the spiders’ method of reading HTML code is always changing, so there is no guarantee for permanent placement. And, since each spider relies on a different algorithm, a site can perfect its placement results for one algorithm but still not be placed by another’s standards.
In comparison to SEO, Pay-per-Click (PPC) search engine marketing does not rely on spiders or specialized HTML coding. PPC is important in getting guaranteed exposure on industry specific Web sites. It is derived from an auction-based model where advertisers determine the value of each visitor by placing a cost per click for a specific keyword. An advertiser can determine the ranking of their listing depending on bid amount. The higher the bid, generally the higher up a Web site’s listing will appear within a set of search results.
Online advertisers benefit from PPC because it is a cost-effective way to receive Internet visitors almost immediately, and it allows the specific targeting of select keywords or visitor interest. It also provides an alternative search engine marketing strategy for Web sites with different advertising budget levels. By gaining greater control over a campaign, advertisers generally receive highly targeted leads that convert more often into sales. Web sites that partner with PPCs integrate sponsored results into their search function, ultimately increasing user satisfaction and improve visitor retention.
But, PPC marketing also has its drawbacks. As PPC becomes more popular, and more Web sites bid for top placement within search results, cost per click is steadily on the rise. Additionally, since placement is based on revenue, it’s important to work with a PPC provider that places a strong emphasis on maintaining high traffic quality and a concern for its advertisers.
By using synergy, two parts become stronger as a whole. This concept can be applied to search engine marketing. Combining SEO and PPC offers an overall stronger search engine marketing campaign and encourages a well thought out Web site with more relevant content, pleasing graphics, and ultimately higher visibility among the major search engines.
To combine these two processes, it is important to consider key areas of both processes and how they can complement each other to create a stronger search engine marketing campaign. To complete this process, there are a few main components that include design, navigability and organization, and content.
The overall design of a Web site needs to be taken into consideration to make it appealing to Internet users and search engines. During the SEO process, graphics might be seen as poor use of valuable real estate, therefore SEO relies heavily in text. If little text or keywords appear when a search engine spider is evaluating the content of a Web page, the search engine may place little weight on the Web page’s relevancy among other Web documents.
On the other hand, PPC focuses on a quick visual experience for visitors to increase a site’s retention rate. A combination of these two design approaches would be to incorporate text to graphics by using an ALT-Tag or Meta-Tag, which provides related text when a user mouses over an icon. A Web site’s design should incorporate both good use of text as well as graphics that help support its theme or message.
Navigability and Organization
Historically, the word navigability was used in reference to the suitability for the passage of a ship or aircraft through water or air. American Admiralty Bureau’s Commentator Vol.4: “A Common Highway”, Comments on Navigability and Public Rights on the Navigable Waters of the United States, Raymond F. Bopllinger discusses the publics’ rights to “navigable waters of the United States.” He concludes that the public has certain rights to clearly defined navigable waters.
In similar terms, just as fishermen and maritime experts have the rights to navigability of ocean waters, all Internet users should be able to find what they are looking for while surfing the World Wide Web. All users have certain rights of navigability, and there is no replacement for the ability to readily locate important information. Sound navigation is vital because a Web site that is difficult to navigate can act as a deterrent to the average Internet user and can be the cause of high frustration and hours of wasted time looking for hidden information.
An SEO approach to this topic would be to structure a site so that is has defined links for users. PPC focuses more on a clear and simple way to buy products and services. To combine these two ideals, a Web site should have established links that connect Internet users to channels or specific areas of interest.
In the SEO process, a Web site is evaluated on overall content. For example, when using SEO recommendations, certain consideration is given toward text content and selecting appropriate words, which help various search engines determine a Web site’s relevancy. Since PPC also focuses on the selection of appropriate keywords, it is important to consider popular terms, which accurately reflect a Web site’s product or service offering. Therefore, it is important to include as much useful and relevant content as possible. If a Web page is full of non-relevant terms and useless jargon, without a clear understanding for the average Internet user, neither SEO nor PPC will provide significant value.
SEO and PPC are two individual processes that have overlapping topics such as design, navigability and organization, and content. When these topics are addressed in a combined manner, a stronger and more complete marketing method is born.
Overall, the field of search engine marketing is enhanced when the key processes of SEO and PPC work hand-in-hand to create a stronger form of search engine marketing.