How to Think About Search Engine Marketing

how to think about search engine marketingMany B to B companies are just getting started with search engine marketing.  If you’re one of them, you’ll want to know the difference between two basic types of programs:  “paid” & “organic” search.

But first, how big is search engine marketing?  U.S. and Canadian advertisers spent $5.75 billion on it in ’05  — and it could reach $11 billion by 2010.  About 83% is spent on paid search and 11% on organic search.  And another report says that 40% of companies from 2-19 employees and 30% of companies from 20-99 employees were running local search ads in 2005.

Enough stats.  Here’s how companies use organic & paid search:

Organic search: When your prospects enter a keyword or phrase into Google or Yahoo!, the organic results are displayed in the main body of the page.  When those prospects are searching for solutions you can provide, you want to be there so they’ll visit your site, contact you & buy.

Search engine optimization” techniques help you improve your ranking for important search terms and phrases (“keywords”).  SEO takes time to implement and pay off, but it can return a handsome ROI.  Techniques include:

    • Building valuable inbound links to your site so search engines know your site is important and rank you more highly
    • Structuring your site to help search engines read your content and rank you for your chosen “keywords”
    • Strategically writing your content with keywords in the most important spots

Paid search: You can buy listings in the “sponsored” area of a search engine.  There are a variety of paid search programs, but the most common is called pay-per-click (PPC).  Since business users dramatically prefer Google, the Google AdWords program is the best place for B to B advertisers to start.  And you can launch a campaign and start generating traffic a few hours later, making it a great option for new businesses and time-sensitive offers.

So how can search engine marketing help your business?

Studies show that most businesspeople research their problems, potential purchases and vendors online and use a search engine in the process.  And the higher the price of the product/service, the earlier they search.

You can use search marketing to find the interested prospects when they’re raising their hands and saying “I’m interested.”  Use it to

  • Generate new leads
  • Sell products
  • Build their brand
  • Divert traffic from your competitors

How do you get started with search?

Here are a few tools that can help.  Here’s an excerpt from a guidebook that offers more info about the subject and key steps for getting started.

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