When a user types a keyword such as “courier service Sydney” into Google or Bing, the results on the right hand-side (and also sometimes at the top marked as sponsored links) are paid advertising.
Pay Per Click is a form of paid advertising where the advertiser pays the search engine only when someone clicks on your advert associated to a specific keyword that you want to target (eg “courier service Sydney”, “hotel accommodation Sydney”, “iPod accessories” etc.).
Pay Per Click is all about striking when the iron is hot – getting a customer’s attention when they’re sitting at the computer in the act of looking for the product or service that you can provide.
The BIG BENEFIT of Pay Per Click is that you only pay for the ad once a potential customer clicks on it. This is very different to other marketing channels (like a newspaper or radio ad) where you have to pay upfront even though you don’t know how many people will notice your ad.
Pay Per Click can be extremely successful in generating traffic to your website and you can get your business on to that list within just a few hours.
There are one billion internet users worldwide and 14 million users in Australia alone – this is a huge marketplace and as a business, it’s a market you’d be crazy to ignore. Even if your products or services aren’t suitable for selling online, millions of users use search engines to research and compare products, and buy offline.
The internet has about 12 billion web pages, and search engines are quite simply the easiest and fastest way to find what you’re looking for. 85% of internet users use search engines like Google, Yahoo and Ninemsn to buy or research the products and services they’re looking for.
But just having a website is not enough. The saying “Build it and they will come” doesn’t apply here, as there are thousands of websites competing for your customers’ attention. You need to make sure that your website can be found on the internet by your potential customers – this is the process of search engine marketing.
Search engine marketing (SEM) is the process of making sure your website can be found using search engines like Google, Yahoo and ninemsn.
Your potential customer types a keyword into the search engine query box (eg “courier service Sydney”) and the search engine produces a list of what it deems as relevant results. The customer then chooses from this list. If you provide courier services in Sydney and you don’t appear in the first page of the list, you’re missing out on a HUGE opportunity!
Considering the number of potential customers that use the internet to find and research products and services, search engine marketing should be a critical part of your overall marketing strategy, done in conjunction with the other traditional forms of marketing activity (like newspaper advertising, direct mailing, etc).
SEM consists of two parts: Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Sponsored Listings (often referred to as Pay Per Click).
When a user types a keyword like “courier service Sydney” into Google, Yahoo or ninemsn, the search engine produces two lists of results.
The list on the left is called the “natural” or “organic” listing. It’s based on what the search engine deems a relevant match to your customer’s search request.
The list on the right (and sometimes at the top on the left) is paid advertising – called Sponsored Listings or Pay Per Click (PPC).
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the actual process of getting your website as high up in that list as possible. AdWords and good SEO go hand in hand.
The 3 most important factors in determining a high ranking are:
1. Highly relevant web copy: Content is definitely king when it comes to search engine optimisation. You need lots of highly relevant content (in the form of web copy, articles, etc) that relates to your chosen keywords.
2. Search-friendly HTML code: HTML is the programming language behind your website. Optimisation of your HTML source code is one of the most important elements of search engine optimisation.
This process makes your web pages “crawler-friendly”. Search engine crawlers (such as Google) can only follow the most basic HTML code. Most websites that do not appear high in search engine results were built with poor HTML code. Once rectified, they go a long way towards improving search engine rankings.
Ensure your SEO provider follows internationally accepted coding standards (W3C) so that the pages of your website are easily indexed by the search engine spiders.
3. Links to your site are votes for your site’s popularity: The more important the referring site is, the more important the search engine thinks your site is. A link from the New York Times is worth more than a link from your neighbour’s baby’s home page. So, the popularity of the site that links to you is important.
Beware of services offering 1000 links for $20 or any automated software that promises unbelievable results as this is worthless and could get you banned from Google.
The submission of articles, press releases and blogs are also valuable tools in obtaining important links back to your website.