Fredrick Marckini’s article, Three Roads to Riches, in the latest issue of CMO Magazine discusses how search engine strategies work best for marketing when integrated. This information may be valuable to communication professionals who are often part of the team involved in handling company websites.
The search engine strategies referred to by the author are:
- Natural Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Pay-Per-Click (PPC) search advertising
- Paid Inclusion (PI) listings and shopping feeds
Marckini asserts that data provided by each strategy could inform and enhance the results of the others especially if a single team manages the integrated efforts.
The author defines Natural Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as “the practice of making changes to a website in order to attain a higher ranking in a search engine’s algorithmic or ‘natural’ results.”
He explains that when every page of a website is properly optimized and, therefore, indexed by major search engines such as Google, Yahoo and MSN, it will produce a “long tail” of potential keywords including not only those intentionally targeted but also keywords and combinations hidden in the pages. This, he says, often produces the greatest increases in traffic and visibility that can result in conversions for long periods.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising, according to Marckini, is the placement of text ads as “Sponsored Listings” in search results, with the position of the ad determined by bidding or click-through rate. This, he says, provides the most information that could be used for other search engine strategies.
Paid inclusion (PI), on the other hand, is, according to the author, a structured, automated feed of web pages directly into the Yahoo index, in which you pay whenever anyone clicks on your listing. There is, however, no guarantee on the positioning in the actual search results pages.
Among the relevant data to be gleaned from these search engine are:
- Conversion rate by keyword, engine and position
- Conversion rate by URL
- Traffic volume by keyword, position and engine
- Landing page conversion rate information related to keyword and engine
- Time-of-day impact on conversion rate and traffic volume
- Impact of seasons on conversion rate and traffic volume
- Geo-location impact on conversion and volume (e.g., more conversions in Kentucky than Ohio)
Failure to integrate these search engine strategies will, in Marckini’s opinion, result in added costs in managing several search engine marketing vendors and losing the “potential multiplier effect of shared results information.”
This is, therefore, something that communications professionals should also look into to maximize web-based campaigns.