Paid or Unpaid Search Marketing?
When you search on any of the major search engines, you always find them listed in numerical order 1..10 and upwards. The main aim of any company with a website is to get maximum coverage, in turn visitors, who will convert into paying customers. Therefore, the goal of getting on the first page of search results or at worst the second page 20 -30 results is important. There are two main ways of doing this; Organic Listings and Sponsored Listings, otherwise known as Pay Per Click (PPC) / Cost Per Action. (CPA)
If you look at the graphic above, I have highlighted the two areas which seperate the two versions of listings. I will explain, briefly, the main differences and processes of each.
An Organic Listing is the way the search engine company interpret the importance of the page dependant on its relevancy to the users search query (keywords). This is organic in nature by the fact that it is due to the natural way of how relevant the content is, how many other websites link to the page, the overall theme of the website, how old the pages are (older pages must have more value as they have been around longer), the density of the keywords on the page are the most important criteria with some other less important factors. Many website owners try to optimise the relevancy for any given search phrase by adding regular content, linking with other relevant websites, posting articles about their expertise which attract links back to the page. Recently, RSS (Rich Site Summary) feeds, send out your latest content which gets used by other websites and in turn links back to your web page. All the above is considered a "natural" process, hence Organic Results.
Sponsored Listings ,Adwords, Pay Per Click, Search Marketing....it`s all the same marketing model. Basically this method allows competiting companies to bid for keywords that are advertised on the search results pages. The highest bidder on any given keyword gets prominent position on the first page of search results. The first page (1-10), are the pages which get the highest click throughs or visits hence more chance of a conversion into a sale. This is a high revenue income for the companies like Google and Yahoo and thats why Google is now a $10 Billion value organisation. Every time an advert is clicked, the company takes the value of the bid as revenue. Therefore, if you have a bid of £.80 per keyword and in one month you get 2000 click and visits to your site that equates to £1600 of advertising expenditure for your company.
Most these companies offer additional services where you can research keyword effectiveness, popularity and competing bids on the keywords. This enables advertisers to look at the overall cost analysis per keyword and thus cost effectiveness. Google also offer Google Analytics, a web site tracking program which allows business to check which pages are popular and receive vists and those that are not viewed at all. Very important when estimating what words you need to be bidding on. Another approach is to set your marketing budget limit, display adverts at pre set times i.e. evenings only. This allows a business to target a product but retain some control over expenditure
For in depth information on PPC advertising, follow the link Google Adwords
Organic or Sponsored?
Organic marketing is time consuming but quite cheap and very effective. It`s certainly something a company can do themselves without incurring large costs. But, like anything, you really have to know how and where to focus you efforts. Sponsored marketing is a direct approach which doesnt need any website optimisation techniques and puts your business up along the top search results - at a cost. Bear in mind here that you could also be amongst some of the really big boys of advertising like Ebay or Kelkoo on some keywords bids, and a small business would not have the financial clout to compete. I have it on good authority that a certain local Kent company spends £800,000 per annum on Sponsored Listing marketing. Howevever they turn over around £12 million in sales each year. Advertsing, whether Organic or Sponsored, has to be considered if you wish to be successful online.