Search Engine Marketing
The following notes are by synopsis of the presentation given by Aidan McCarthy at Brookvale TAFE Friday March 8th.
Internet Marketing (IM) = all marketing efforts on the net including web, email, search, social…
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) = “the business of marketing on search engines” it therefore includes both paid and free (organic) listings. The term is often used to mean only the paid listings type of SEM, particularly in Australia, though Wikipedia and Search Engine Land (who popularised the term) currently use the broader meaning.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) = increasing visibility in organic search listings
Pay Per Click (PPC) = paying by the click (i.e. for each visitor) for search engine traffic
Internet Marketing Growth
Internet marketing continues to grow both organically and in scope. Some interesting stats from Hubspot.com last year:
- The average tablet user spends about 14 hours per week on it
- 27% of TV sets shipped in Q1 2012 had internet connectivity
- 91% of online adults use social media regularly
- 64% of smartphone owners are using their mobile devices to shop online
- 20% of Facebook users have purchased something after seeing ads or comments there
- By 2016, more than half of the dollars spent in US retail will be influenced by the web
Let’s remind ourselves of the Search Engine’s function:
- to present the best answers to the query i.e. the most relevant & authoritative ones it knows of
- Relevance meaning is this a good answer to the query?
- Authority meaning is this a trustworthy source?
How the Search Engines Make Money:
Presenting ads from relevant websites/advertisers along with the other search engine results. All those clicks add up Google’s Ad Revenue was over $43 Billion in 2012!
Pay Per Click Features
PPC can also be used to get ads shown on other websites, a bit like display advertising in a magazine but for today we’ll concentrate on the search engine aspects.
- A user bids for position on relevant search queries and pays only if a visitor clicks on the ad
- Fixed Daily Budget
- Fast results / search engine listings on demand
- Control geographical showing
- Control ad scheduling for days of week and/or time slots
- Ads can be paused and resumed as required
- Precise keyword targeting or broad targeting as required
- Highly measurable, the clicks, the costs and conversions are all easily tracked
- It costs! Costs can vary from cents per click to several dollars per click depending on the industry involved.
Keyword Match Types
One of the keys to using PPC programs like Google’s AdWords program are having a good understanding of how your selected keywords can be matched to the various search queries used by search engine users. For example for keyword ‘accommodation hunter valley’
- Broad match = ‘hunter valley hotels’
- Modified broad match = ‘accomodations in the hunter valley’
- Phrase match = ‘cheap accommodation hunter valley’
- Exact = ‘accommodation hunter valley’
- Negative = ‘-camping’, ‘-caravan’, ‘-motel’
Negative matching is vital when using broad or phrase matching options.
Pay Per Click – Where it Goes Wrong
- Overbidding (putting ego before profitability)
- Underbidding (not achieving exposure to gain traffic)
- Not understanding matching options for keywords
- Not understanding negative matching
- Not understanding the value of a conversion
- Not maximising lead follow-up
- Not testing different ads and landing pages
Search Engine Optimisation Features
- Organic (free) listings on relevant search queries
- Local listings sometimes shown
- Can take considerable effort and time
- Ranks can fluctuate due to algorithm changes and competitors SEO efforts
SEO – Where it Goes Wrong
- Not having good content
- Trying to cheat with ‘hidden’ text (css positioning, colour, size )
- Thinking ‘meta-keywords’ help – they don’t!
- Getting links from ads offering “hundreds of links from $5”
- Not getting links at all!
- Thinking “I must blog because Google loves fresh content”
- Aimed at businesses serving local area clients
- Go to Google Maps and search for your business, follow the links and instructions to ‘claim’ it (if it is already there)
- If your business is not already listed go to Google Places and follow the instructions for setting up an account
- Ensure Name, Address and Phone (NAP) info in Google is correct and the same as on the website (preferably every page)
- Make entry as complete as possible with photos, video clips etc
- Get the same NAP info showing on Truelocal, Yellowpages, Hotfrog, Aussieweb etc
- Build on SEO Authority
Components of Good SEO
- Good Relevant Content = “great content that meets the need expressed in the search query… as good as, or better than, the competition’s”
- Authority & Other Quality Indicators = Links from other websites, citations (mentions of your brand/website elsewhere), User experience and social mention can all be used as potential indicators of quality.
- Search Engine Friendly Structure = the right URL’s, Page Titles, Headings, Alt Tags, Internal Links etc.
- There are well over 200 factors involved in the Google algorithm
- Content includes text, images, video and links to other pages. Think about comprehensive mixed media content when trying to rank in competitive markets. Pages with comprehensive text, images and video tend to rank well.
Authority (& Other Quality Signals)
- Backlinks -Links from other good websites to yours
- Citations – Mentions of your website or brand on other websites
- Social Signals – Whether others are sharing your content and mentioning you in social media
Why Backlinks are Important
- Good backlinks are like a ‘vote’ for your site
- What Others say about You: is more Unbiased and Trustworthy… than what You say about Yourself!
- Domain Authority is a function of:
- Pagerank – how‘important’ the pages linking to the target domain are (and how many of them)
- Trustrank – How ‘trusted’ the pages linking to the target domain are
- Domains with high authority tend to rank easily
What Makes a Good Backlink?
- The best backlinks are from other relevant, authoritative websites, probably already ranking themselves for similar search queries
- Backlinks from other trusted sources can also be useful to help build authority even if not topically relevant.
- Good backlinks are ‘Follow’ type links
What is ‘noFollow’? – the noFollow attribute tells search engines to ignore the link (i.e. do not count it as a ‘vote’ for the linked page)
Typical Website Footer link:
- The link goes to the most relevant page or homepage
- The code does not contain a ‘noFollow’ attribute
- The anchor text (clickable text) is relevant but not over-optimised
Search Engine Friendly Structure
- Crawl-able and index-able website
- Appropriate use of urls, title tags, headings, alt tags, meta description, etc.
- Appropriate navigation, category structure and interlinking
- On-site Optimisation
- No robots.txt restrictions
- No ‘noindex’ restrictions in html code
- Fast loading pages
- Search engine bots can see the links to other pages (e.g. Avoid flash navigation)
- Text is text (and not in images)
- Use the target keyword phrase in the page title and url
- Use the keyword phrase in the meta description with a call to action
- Don’t worry about keyword density but have the keyword phrase included naturally in your page text
- Try to use the keyword phrase as an alt tag at least once on the page
- Try to link from other pages using the keyword phrase as the anchor text
- Note that the meta description does not help rankings but may be used as the snippet of text that appears on results pages so make it attractive and/or include a CTA.
- Concentrate on great content and don’t force target keywords in for ‘keyword density’
- Forget about meta keywords – this is not 1999
Choosing Good Keywords
- Volume – a good number of monthly searches
- Competition – not too highly contested by others, pick a fight you can win, then pick a tough fight after many such wins
- Value – are these keywords likely to be used by real customers or tyre-kickers?
- Target ranking for the right search queries, see choosing good keywords above
- Differentiate your site from the others, give users a reason to notice and remember you
- Have a good looking website – be professional, correct spelling and grammar
- Be competitive – users will check out other websites too
- Show testimonials and guarantee / return policies
- Use a Call to Action – prompt visitors to do something!
Internet Marketing – Where is it Going?
- More personalised Search Engine Results may make it harder to get widespread exposure
- A move towards PPC rather than free listings? PPC sidesteps much of the personalisation
- The influence of Social Media to increase? Quality signals based on social media sharing and liking of your material may become a larger component in the algorithms
- Quality benchmarks will only get higher as everyone competes for position
- Brand/Authority signals to be more important
- It’s going mobile – websites need to be mobile friendly