In fact many of our clients have very little understanding of how to approach these two very important marketing vehicles. And a SEMPO study (Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization) reveals this confusion is far reaching. It reports that while four out of five companies engage in organic search engine optimization (SEO), only 11% of the $11 billion dollars spent in this area goes to SEO (totals include payments to search engines and search-related media companies, search engine marketing agencies and in-house expenditures in support of such programs).
The reason is obvious. Pay-per-click (PPC) search engine marketing is relatively easy—with immediate results that can be measured and tweaked. Organic search engine optimization is a long, never-ending process that takes a lot of thought, discipline, and effort.
Still, 11% is paltry. And, considering that most search activity results come from the organic links (over 70% of the overall clicks), it is also backwards.
Given this lack of understanding, we thought we'd share the first steps we think you should take with SEO/SEM:
1) Start with SEO. At this point you understand why, but the how may be what eludes you. This is not an "if you build it, they will come" type of scenario. This is heavy lifting work,there is just no way to sugar coat it. However, if you start with these areas you'll be well on your way.
- Page Content- You must optimize every page on your site. This includes careful consideration of the page titles within the code, the page URL name itself, the header of the page, the body text, amongst other content points.
- Press Releases- While press releases aren't what they once were to reporters, they are an excellent SEO vehicle. This is simply due to the access to Internet news portals the end user now has (Google News, etc.). So be sure to utilize this tool to drive traffic to your site.
2) Use SEM for Content Conversions. Pay-per-click (PPC) can be quite fruitful for driving traffic to your site particularly for content oriented offers. In fact for offers such as Article/white paper downloads or Site Registrations (for newsletters, etc.), SEM acutally outperforms SEO. For that reason, we recommend you first start your SEM efforts in this area. When choosing which engines to go with, certainly Google and Yahoo are the dominant players. Still MSN, AOL, and Ask Jeeves fall in line right behind them and should not be ignored.
SEO and SEM can be complicated, it's true. But if you start with an SEO focus and use SEM first in those areas where it outperforms SEO, you will find it much more relevant to your sales and marketing success.