A few years ago, search engine placement was arranged
by your average Web designer and/or Webmaster. The Webmaster
would simply submit a site to search engines manually
or use rudimentary software that was widely available.
Keyword relevance was largely a matter of link popularity
and the Webmaster assigning a simple keyword meta-tag
to each page of your site. The system used to work reasonably
well, or so it seemed. That is no longer the case.
Today, submission to the major search engines like
Google is largely irrelevant, although there is a complex
mix of PFI (pay for inclusion) and PFP (pay for performance,
sponsored links, PPC ads) that require complex submission
In today's Internet economy, sophisticated and complex
programs - called spiders - surf the Web looking at
the source code of Web pages. They sort through the
complex web of formatting tags, programming script,
multi-media, page titles, and content that the user
may or may not see, to ascertain how to rank each page
of your site for each and every word and word combination
that it finds.
These spiders index the words of each page found and
add it to the engine's database, making them available
as keywords for search engine searchers. In this new
environment, sophisticated software programs that analyze
the various search engine algorithms and how they rank
selected pages have moved to the forefront of search
This has spawned a large industry of SEO (search engine
optimisation and marketing) experts and specialist SEM
What Does Keyword Based Marketing Offer?
If implemented correctly, SEO can offer a higher return
on investment than nearly any other marketing strategy
(online or offline). Placing high in the search engine
ranking positions (SERPs) is a great way to attract
first time visitors. Placement in the search engines
can largely determine the "reach" of your
online marketing strategy.
The stakes in this battle are being raised all the
time as the number of users going online increases -
which in the U.S. alone approaches 100 million - with
over 60% of those users spending some 48 BILLION dollars
per year for online shopping (Greenspan, 2002, cyberatlas.com).
With broadband prices in Australia falling rapidly
and the rate of Internet takeup extraordinarily high,
the Australian consumer is showing similar enthusiasm
for online sales. Unfortunately, many potential buyers
- some say as many as 70% - give up because they cannot
find the good sites to shop at, because they are poorly
keyword indexed or the actual site has poor navigation
When any business is making plans to improve their
Search Engine positions, they need to understand that
optimisation of your site for the Search Engines is
not a one-shot job. It requires ongoing monitoring and
tweaking in order to keep ahead of both the competition
AND the changes the Search Engines make to how they
Any comprehensive Web marketing plan should:
(1) Promote your web site based on the (optimised)
content of your site and knowledge of the relevant marketplace;
(2) Utilise data of how the average search engine user
actually looks for information on your site - including
alternative terms, synonyms, common phrasing, etc;
(3) Include internal and external link building with
relevant sites and relevant keywords;
(4) Regular reporting of search engine positioning,
general Internet visibility and actual visitor statistics/analytics
and recommendation for improvements.
Every serious Web site owner should be on a Web marketing
plan that is definitely more than just a submission
or reporting service. Set a monthly budget and take
We've seen many of our clients benefit from the ongoing
relationship we have developed with them through our
web marketing plans. Plenty of page 1 rankings on Google,
Yahoo, MSN are not uncommon over time, as we monitor
and tweak their sites for the Search Engines.
However, in almost all cases, those clients would have
never achieved and then maintained those high rankings
if they had not had someone in the know keeping track
of how their site is ranking, and making changes where
It's like advertising in the Yellow Pages really. If
you don't pay to have your ad included, you don't get
an entry in the book, and eventually the calls to your
business start to drop off as people update to the newest
Search Engine Optimisation / Marketing is the same.
The Internet is NOT static - it's always changing and
evolving, and in order for your site to get and maintain
good rankings around the keywords that are important
to you, you have to keep someone on the job on a regular
basis who knows how to react to the changes happening.
The Return On Investment (ROI) for good SEO/SEM services
is very high, compared to traditional advertising and
marketing. According to Google's statistics, Search
advertising is up to 20 times CHEAPER per lead, compared
to (for example) Direct Mail. For any company spending
money on advertising, this statistic should be of EXTREME
interest! After all, what company doesn't want to reduce
their cost of customer acquisition?
That's what SEO/SEM companies are supposed to be about!
Well, at least at our company, we are - I can't speak
for our competitors. Before you hire an SEO/SEM company,
ask what their plan is for the ongoing optimisation
of your site. If they don't have a plan, run, don't
walk, to the nearest exit and hang onto your money.
About the author:
Charles Ryder is the CEO of WCR Internet Marketing,
a specialist Australian Search Engine Optimisation company.
For a free site analysis, visit www.wcr-internet-marketing.comau