For many Internet marketers and advertisers, pay per click ads are a double-edged sword.  While their prime placement within the SERPs is ideal, the cost of PPC campaigns can be problematic for some smaller businesses with lower advertising budgets.  However, a balance can be found within most PPC campaigns that is optimal for virtually any company, regardless of budget constraints.

The Benefits of PPC
Pay per click advertising is undoubtedly the easiest way to reach the top of the SERPs, in a manner of speaking.  While there is a definite distinction between organic rankings and paid advertisements in search results, PPC is still an effective platform.  In fact, experts anticipate search advertising spending to increase by as much as 15% by the end of 2012.  Additionally, paid search provides results more quickly than organic SEO efforts and often offers a consistent ROI.  Despite all of these advantages and numerous PPC success stories, some feel that the inherent cost of PPC campaigns is a drawback that greatly diminishes their value.

A Perfect Balance
Although many small to medium-sized businesses may feel the cost of PPC advertising limits its viability on a long-term basis, some companies have seen success with short-term campaigns.  It is important for businesses to prepare and adhere to an advertising budget and monitor PPC campaigns carefully to ensure that no extraneous spending occurs.  By balancing PPC and organic SEO efforts, even smaller companies can see long-term, successful results in the SERPs.

 

Are you happy to read me; or, do you have a case of the Mondays?  I know I got some people to smile with the Office Space reference.  We maintain things of interest or necessity in long-term memory.  Ingraining company-related sentiments into consumer minds is branding.  Focus on building a brand is a cornerstone of marketing.

Think about it.  As competitors struggle to best one another in all verticals, leveraging the ‘next best’ search engine optimization tactic, focusing on sought keywords and phrases, your brand can begin creating positive associations to your brand, ‘owning’ your name and related associations.

Remember a while back when Stephen Colbert asked his followers to make him the “Greatest Living American”?  I saw another SEOmoz post today related to branding a group of people.  The idea of marketing is to increase traffic to your brand, correct?  Ideally, keywords related to goods and products would not mean (as) much if your brand received a healthy, regular flow of traffic, correct?

Think about it.  If your brand is enjoying traffic and exposure and releases a new product or service, a smaller ad budget is warranted regarding ‘ranking’ for those terms; your brand is already ‘ranking’ with consumers.  New and ongoing information may only need intense marketing through social media accounts, home pages, newsletters, blog posts, etc.

Rather than leverage immediate rankings (some brands, with great rankings in mind from the start, are getting mauled by Panda as of late), impress consumers with a solidly-built community.  I know.  The process takes longer; but, the company is in business to provide value rather than make money, right?  We all need money; but, don’t underestimate the perception of consumers.  We observe the difference; and, we have plenty of options…

Pay-per-click management garners short-term exposure, allowing a brand to take presence in the SERPs while focusing on branding, raising awareness about the company, the site, executives, workers, philosophies, and so on.  PPC can be the rental home of your marketing pursuits; but the never-ending process of branding (Don’t allow for stale branding.) is how your business settles in a niche, making a home for itself along with a community of followers.

Joanna Lord wrote a post a while back on leveraging inbound marketing.  There are great insights in the post regarding building a brand community with a variety of content.  I celebrated the idea, making the connection between branding and online success:

I think a brand can’t go wrong in making further connections with customers and strengthening current ones.  In a time when there is so much competition in all verticals, branding helps consumers view your brand as unique, distinguishable from the competition.  Talk about savings on marketing costs…’optimize’ branding efforts, get browsers to come to you through brand-name searches and  ’favorite bar’ clicks, those are the kind of ‘rankings’ branding can get.

The time to start branding is was yesterday.  Rather than going cuckoo for keywords and rankings, possibly collecting wrist slaps from the Panda, go cuckoo over your customers and building a lasting brand.  I saw Rand Fishkin wearing this shirt in the latest White-Board Friday post.  I want one; the message is loud and clear and relates to products, services, and branding…

 

 

It’s March 20; spring is springing.  Have you planned a vacation?  What about a break from organic search?  Have you moved on down the pay-per-click road yet?  I like to think of PPC as the vacation-rental home of search engine optimization; high costs and needed diligence usually limit longevity of accounts; yet, brands find the experience effective in achieving exposure and increased revenue.

You MUST have heard about changes on the Google horizon.  Rather than panic and take novice action, I suggest brands steer attention to reliable SEO consultant sources, professionals who can clearly explain the situation, in your terms.  Unfortunately, anxiety leads to novice action, which leads to poor (ironic) results; this is a dynamic influencing many SEO beginners.  It doesn’t have to be you!

The Bad of Organic
There’s good and bad observations to be had on just about any topic.  Search engine optimization is celebrated because it helps brands increase exposure, helping companies find desired markets.  It also helps consumers field desired goods and services.  However, natural search is ultimately judged by search engine algorithms.  Modifications, updates, and penalties take place; some think these changes are fair while others entertain different views.

To truly understand the dynamic between search engines (like Google), brands (SEO clients), and users (all of us), please read Chris Countey‘s blog post on search; he does a very good job at succinctly explaining the industry and its effectiveness.

The Good of Organic
Yes, the process is slow, not entirely static and sometimes unexplainable; but, natural search engine optimization works in creating more exposure.  I write about branding a lot, the overall impression created by a company upon its market and beyond.  SEO (and more exposure), facilitates branding in many ways:

-          It introduces key executives to the public

-          It gives a brand a voice and personality

-          It enables introduction and proper instruction regarding services and products

-          It ingrains brands in respective target markets’ long-term memory (IMO – the ultimate goal of natural search is to create brand-centric habits; what’s better, vying for keywords or having an informed target market come straight to your site for needs?)

But, like buying a home, it takes some time to settle in, to engage in a community.

The Vacation of PPC
Take a vacation from anxieties and concerns connected to organic results; consider implementing PPC management into your overall online marketing campaign.  As referenced above, it does demand diligence and dollars (depending on your vertical).  Many brands celebrate the notion due to an easy-to-trace ROI.  Three Deep wrote a good post on working dollars recently; the post strengthens suggestions relayed here.  Can you run a business leveraging pay-per-click alone?  I’m not sure about that; it would definitely make sense to include natural optimization (you eventually ‘pay off’ that home; you’ll always have to rent your PPC vacation home).  Continue interest in natural SEO, but definitely inquire about mixing in pay-per-click management as well.

 

Do you have questions about upcoming Google changes, natural search engine optimization, or pay-per-click services?  Please contact WebiMax; we’re here to inform and help.  Continue to read our SEO blog for regularly-updated SEO information.

Microsoft Advertising adcenter is evolving, and the latest changes move the platform closer to Google Adwords in an effort to make terminology and functionality similar to what marketers are using with Google. Ultimately, this is a good move for Microsoft, paid search, and those marketers managing pay per click campaigns and it shows that Microsoft is realistic in their understanding of adcenter’s place in paid search. The reality is that Microsoft’s advertising platform is second to Google’s Adwords, and acknowledging this allows Microsoft to use this fact to their advantage.

Aligning their functionality to that of the industry standard (Google Adwords) allows marketers to utilize both platforms without the need to learn new methodologies and applications. However, once familiarity and a degree of comfort are achieved by its users, Microsoft, in time, can introduce new features that differentiate it from Adwords in an effort to widen their offerings and slowly gain market share.  Microsoft has nothing to lose aligning their methods to Adwords at the moment as differentiation can happen in time.

What Exactly Has Changed?
We’ve discussed the Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance and the adcenter before as Todd Bailey touched on its formation and the rolling out of the platform in the UK, France, and Ireland in an SEOServices.com piece from mid-January. Now, individual targeting options take the form of “language” and “target location” and the distribution channel “market” is being removed. Tina Kelleher in her adcenter blog post outlining the changes (complete with screenshots of the new features), details that marketers can receive a greater amount of relevant volume from the target location option that is now standard.

Marketers will be able to target users in a physical location as well as those that have intent to “do business in your target location areas.” This intent element widens the advertising opportunities but also allows for more focused pairings of pay per click with SEO campaigns that optimize on and off-site content to drive targeted traffic.

Those that have intent to do business in your target location area show it by the location detail they enter into their queries. Optimized content utilizing international SEO practices then become a central issue here. Further, marketers can choose all the countries where the selected language is spoken, “bundles” of countries, one specific country, and a certain state, territory, or city. Partnering with an SEO company to design a coordinated marketing effort that capitalizes on organic search of these queries as well presents additional opportunities. Doing so enables advertising companies to maximize their targeting goals.

 

smartphone and tablet

We touch on the mobile market from time to time, largely because of the overt SEO and paid search potential that exists with the mobile internet and search. Mobile computing, encompassing that which is done on both smartphones and tablets is growing at a high rate across the world. In markets from the UK and Europe to Asia and the Middle East, smartphone adoption is high. Penetration of the devices is 33% in both the Netherlands and Spain, 30% for the UK, 31% for the US and Israel, 37% in Australia, and 35% for both Hong Kong. These figures on a whole represent the positive trend in the amount of people switching to smartphones opening up their mobile internet use and search for growth, thus making SEO and paid search that much more important.

Now, with new figures put out by Cisco, we may have our first look at the future landscape of mobile around the world. Cisco predicts 10 billion smartphones and tablets to be in use globally by 2016, which is 2.7 billion more than the earth’s United Nations projected population of 7.3 billion for that year – which equates to 1.4 mobile devices per person. This is a staggering thought and a real eye-opener about where how people will be using the internet and search in a few short years.

Thus, it is expected that the percentage of overall searches and hours spent on the mobile internet will increase, significantly changing the way companies are going to have to deliver SEO and pay per click management to target audiences and drive traffic. That is to say they will have to gear much of their SEO and paid search practices to the growing segment of mobile web-users. An additional element here is that the experience of mobile search is inherently different as many of the searches have a local focus, thus geo-targeting will be a large part of the optimization that companies will look for. Further, many companies do not fully take advantage of optimizing for local as I discuss in this IB Times article, and thus it would need to become a priority.

This impacts markets around the world and thus an SEO company that offers international SEO services will need to adapt and evolve their practices to allow for more optimization geared towards mobile. In the end, businesses and the SEO company they partner with may not have a choice, optimizing for mobile will be a necessity.

Google released details on their official blog that the company has developed interactive ads compatible on smartphones and tablets.  The new rich media ads are designed to engage the user and create a deeper experience.

The Company announced “65% of consumers who own tablets use them at least one hour per day. Consumers are embracing them as the third digital screen in their lives.”  Apple, alone has sold over 240 iPads, with other consumers owning similar devices from Samsung and others.

The new interactive ads act as sort of a cross between mobile-ap development and pay per click management services.  Google released this video to demonstrate:

Ad formats are available through AdMob and “tablet-targeting” functions in AdWords.