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.

When business owners hear the term “online marketing,” many people immediately think of the more overt advertising that they see when surfing the web. Banner ads, PPC links on search results and pop-up ads are certainly all very common tools used by internet marketers. Yet many companies have been relying on more SEO-oriented techniques to get their brand’s name recognized by internet users. This change of pace isn’t due to lackluster results from PPC, but rather a repurposed focus on trying to elevate organic search results over paid efforts.

The popular internet advertising mindset these days is to reduce the amount of direct marketing a company does in favor of building traffic and conversion rates more naturally. SEO companies have adopted traditional paid links as supplemental components to more robust organic campaigns, and for good reason. While PPC and banner ads can certainly bring in visitors to a website, they generally tend to give SEO firms more to worry about in the long run. Some of the more common reasons for marketing firms preferring organic links over inorganic ones are as follow:

The Daily Barrage of Ads, Ads, Ads
The biggest issue with most marketing is the way it’s perceived by potential customers. Sure, an advertisement here or there can get people to notice a company, but a flood of ads simply upset people. We’ve all been in situations where seeing the same banner or video ad ends up only making us annoyed at the piece of marketing in question or the company responsible for it. This ultimately achieves the exact opposite of what the marketing was intended to do – bring a person to a company’s site.

High Cost for Short Term Payoff
While pay per click advertisements are very effective at bringing in traffic, they can be costly. More popular keywords and ad networks can quickly become financial sinkholes if a marketing firm is not careful. Even if these ads are approached correctly, sometimes the amount of resources put into the project is too demanding overall. PPC ads are an excellent investment when done right, but the resulting traffic often drops off sharply once the campaign ends. It’s because of this that many SEOs are hesitant to rely too greatly on paid links for their clients.

Organic Marketing has a Higher Retention Rate
Despite all the issues that may arise with direct marketing, it’s really the strength of organic linkbuilding that matters most to a SEO firm. Organically-focused marketing campaigns succeed by strengthening a company’s online properties so they show up high up in the SERPs and bring in traffic without unnecessary financial investment. The conversion rates obtained through organic links are less resource-intensive and also benefit from previous work done to webpages and social media listings.

All these reasons add up to one inevitable conclusion: organic SEO efforts should always be the primary focus of any company’s online marketing efforts. Should readers have any questions about organic SEO vs. paid links, I can be reached at jwerists@webimax.com.

When new venues for internet advertising go live, every online marketing firm and PPC company takes note. Just a few days ago, Google announced the launch of its AdWords for Video program which it claims places more ad control into the hands of small and medium-sized businesses (SMB). Putting its money where its mouth is, the company is also giving potential SMB clients an incentive in the form of over $50 million in account funds to new AdWords registers. Those companies that sign up for AdWords for Video will be working with a free $75 in ad credits from which to drive their PPC campaigns.

Of course, the prospect of free money and a strong marketing venue is sure to entice any company. In addition to the Google-fueled fiscal motivation, there is also an ease of use that comes with the new AdWords for Video system. Companies that already have existing videos in their YouTube channel can simply select these clips to become the video ad for their PPC campaign. Targeting an appropriate audience is also made surprisingly straightforward through the setup process. Google has also created a very simple step-by-step video guide for AdWords for Video to help get SMB owners started.

Getting the Most out of the new Video Advertising Program
Besides familiarizing themselves with the ins and outs of the system, SMB owners will also want to brush up on their pay per click knowledge and practices before committing any considerable effort to AdWords for Video. At its core, the new video marketing program operates similarly to existing PPC programs from networks such as Microsoft adCenter and Google AdWords proper. As such, there are a number of steps one should take prior to getting started:

  • Always take the time to seek out trending or popular keywords that may be relevant to your business. Knowing what terms your potential audience is looking for will help you improve your PPC’s click-through rate dramatically.
  • Determine what sort of budget you will be working with well before you set up your ad campaign. YouTube’s TrueView Pricing system ensures that you will only be paying cost per click when site users actually sit through the bulk of your video advertisement. This helps keep the cost of video PPC campaigning manageable.
  • Direct your efforts on the right networks. While Google for AdWords Video allows you to select the full range of websites and Google properties for your campaign, focusing your ads on fewer networks will keep costs down and ads consolidated. This means that you’ll show up more often to users on a particular network than if you simply selected all possible markets for maximum exposure.

While the new YouTube advertising system is still in its infancy, there’s plenty of potential already available for would-be PPC campaigners. Should any small business owners have any additional questions or would like some advice on their PPC efforts, I can be reached at jwersits@webimax.com.

The current prevalence of social networks in our daily lives is not to be underestimated. Although some sites such as Facebook have been showing a generally downward growth trend as of late, the medium that we refer to as “social media” is stronger now than it’s ever been before. With nearly a billion users to be found between Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, it’s clear that there is no end in sight for social networking. This, of course, bodes well for social media companies that handle business marketing. What may surprise many readers, however, is how the constant growth of social media may continue to cement the relevance of SEO as a whole.

Just last week, a report was released by Social Media Examiner that delved into the activities of over 3,800 social media marketing companies (SMM) the world over. As these social network-focused internet marketing firms answered the annual site survey in droves, everyone got a chance to see the breakdown of their efforts. Although one might assume that SMMs focus most of their efforts on PPC campaigning, it turns out that less than half do so and instead favor SEO in their campaigns.

Really it’s the SMM preference of SEO-related activities over pay per click advertising and event marketing that is a real attention getter. Out of the nearly 4,000 social media company representatives polled, 65% of them admit to relying on search engine optimization over a mere 38% who claim they use PPC ads. In an additional inquiry, the polled companies were asked if they intend to use more SEO or PPC services in the future. 68% of the surveyed marketing firms stated that they will be using more SEO methods through the year, while a significantly lower 43% intend to redouble their PPC efforts.

Social Media Marketers both Need and Want SEO

In spite of the recent concerns being voiced by key members of the industry, social media companies certainly have a great deal of confidence in the future of SEO. With Google’s massive Panda overhaul being released shortly, it’s a reassuring thing to see that online advertising firms haven’t lost faith in the current state of internet marketing. For all the doomsayers and alarmists currently speaking out against Google, some small business owners may be tempted to ignore organic link building in favor of paid advertisements. It’s reports such as the one published by Social Media Examiner that offer concrete truths in uncertain times.

The results of the survey show that the biggest social media marketing firms realize that search engine optimization is here to stay. While Google Head of Webspam Matt Cutts has warned the SEO community against sites using “heavy SEO,” the fact remains that smartly designed optimization efforts will continue to prove beneficial for business owners of every shape and size. While any SEO company worth its weight knows that less is more, what also matters is how the work is implemented. For social media companies, that means creating quality content for both networks and destination pages. It’s because of reliance like this that SEO will be along for years to come.

 

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.

The SEO and social landscapes continue to evolve, and this reality will never change. What does change though is the how – how social users connect with one another and how that can be leveraged for SEO gain. As a result, regarding this relationship SEO evolution usually, but not always, comes in response to changes in the social space. Once new platforms are used and understood, marketing potential is realized and put into action. Enter Pinwheel, the new soon-to-be-launched map-based social networking site that has gotten people talking this week. In his blog post today on SEOServices.com, JWersits introduces the site, its basics, and gives us a look at the sponsorship system that Pinwheel is looking to use for companies to gain exposure through the platform. Here, I’ll continue where he left off and look at how SEO companies could potentially use the platform for marketing gain once it emerges from beta and is fully rolled out both domestically and internationally.

Immediately, it is clear there is the SEO potential JWersits touched on for the companies that will look to utilize the platform to promote their business through the sponsorship system being put in place and by becoming “followed” by customers and encouraging engagement like possible feedback on customer experiences. Additionally, it can be used to drive targeted traffic in the same ways as other sharing sites and social media platforms. Notes and photos appear to be the main elements of the platform, so they can be optimized similarly. An SEO company can use targeted keywords and create fresh, quality content that reinforces other efforts of the overall campaign.

Wallet, Passport, Phone…Pinwheel?
It’s unclear at this point what industries will jump in to use Pinwheel. Early winners could be all things travel though, both domestically and internationally. It stands to reason that one of the most applicable uses of a map-based social networking site in an ever-shrinking world is to learn more about places you will be visiting by seeing photos and reading information regarding the very sites, attractions, and businesses that make the particular place what it is. According to information put out by Pinwheel itself, they plan to have functionality for the entire globe which opens up the platform to the international travel market. Travelers can look for notes and pictures from others who have been where the future travelers want to go. Suggestion can be given and great advice can be attained.

Further, businesses can promote themselves and what they offer to travelers in terms of restaurants, concert halls, theaters, attractions, menus, sites, and other points of interest. There is room here for travel companies to package virtual tours or lists of places and sites that their various tours go to or the attractions they recommend. Given the visual and categorical nature of the platform’s interface, there is great potential for unique functionality that would bring such lists or promotions to life for customers, providing them substance and real value.

The challenge is whether or not there will be enough information supplied by users and companies to keep people interested and coming back to learn and share. Businesses who want to target those in other countries want to employ international SEO (ISEO) practices keep in mind the language of their target audience(s) to optimize the content of their notes and make sure it works in conjunction with their other SEO, social media, and ppc (paid search) efforts. We will see if it takes off, but given its unique interface, it could make a fun one to work with.