Monday, January 28, 2008

A Beginner’s Guide to Pay Per Click Marketing By Kalena Jordan

Pay Per Click (PPC) search engine marketing refers to a specific type of advertising where you pay a search engine every time a potential customer clicks on your ad. These ads appear on search engine results pages and sometimes on sites within a search engine’s network of associates.

How do Pay Per Click Ads Work?

If you look at a search engine results page (SERP) carefully, you can generally distinguish between search results that are regular algorithmic or “organic” search listings and PPC search results which are actually paid advertisements. The latter are generally listed under the headings “sponsored results” or “featured listings” and consist of specially designed text, image or video ads that are triggered to display when your target keywords are used in a search query. The PPC ads generally appear on the right hand side and/or at the top of the search results pages.
To appear in the PPC results, advertisers sign up for the PPC program of their choice and create short text ads, image ads or videos describing the product or service available on their site in a way that will best entice searchers to visit it. During the program setup, an advertiser will decide which trigger keywords/phrases they wish to bid on and how much they are willing to pay when a visitor clicks on their ad. Generally, the higher the bid, the more likely their ad will show above their competitor’s.

The Origins of Pay Per Click Marketing

The PPC industry was pioneered by (later re-branded as Overture before it was purchased by Yahoo! in July 2003). Despite their enormous success, GoTo’s PPC model was met with a lot of skepticism in the industry following their IPO in 1999. Their eventual purchase by Yahoo put to rest any doubts that pay per click advertising was here to stay.

In October 2000, Google which was eventually to become the world’s most popular search engine, launched their own keywords advertising model (Google AdWords), blending algorithmic search results with pay per impression ads.

In 2002, in an attempt to compete more successfully with Overture, Google expanded AdWords to include the pay per click pricing model we are familiar with today. This model proved both more popular and more successful and eventually replaced the pay-per-impression model as the default system.

By 2002, GoTo (by then rebranded as Overture), had distribution deals with an impressive range of search engines including Yahoo!, MSN, AltaVista, InfoSpace and a number of meta search engines including MetaCrawler and Ixquick. Overture’s powerful distribution network guaranteed advertisers placement of their ads in front of a LOT of eyeballs and it became clear that many were willing to pay big bucks for the privilege. Other major search engines also formed successful distribution partnerships with PPC providers during this time, noticeably AOL, AskJeeves and MSN with Google AdWords. The pay per click industry had officially arrived.

Scores of PPC search engines began to spring up following Overture’s lead, however the PPC industry continued to be dominated by the two big PPC players, Overture and Google AdWords, while Yahoo!, MSN, AOL and Google fought it out for dominance in the general search market.

In July 2003, in a move that shocked the industry, Yahoo! purchased Overture to enable them to better compete with market leader Google. In April 2005 they rebranded the PPC engine as Yahoo! Search Marketing and in 2006 they launched a revamped version of the service, code-named Panama.

Meanwhile, in October 2005, Microsoft quietly launched their own PPC service called MSN adCenter. An official launch in the US, together with a name change to Microsoft AdCenter occurred in May 2006. In May 2007, Microsoft revamped AdCenter with new features and rolled it out to advertisers worldwide.

Currently, Yahoo and Google continue to dominate the PPC landscape, although Microsoft AdCenter is beginning to make an impact. Second tier PPC engines such as MIVA (formerly Espotting and FindWhat) and Kanoodle are fast catching up to the majors.

There are now hundreds of PPC search engines worldwide, servicing global, regional and niche markets, but only a few that have achieved a significant market share of advertising revenue. A summary of the majors are listed below.

Yahoo! Sponsored Search

Yahoo! Sponsored Search is the current name for what was originally called Overture Precision Match. Yahoo! Sponsored Search prominently displays your site in search results on some of the top U.S. search properties that Yahoo! collaborates with. With Sponsored Search, you set the price you’re willing to pay for each customer who clicks on your listing.

Your ads appear at the top, bottom or right hand side of Yahoo search results pages under the heading “Sponsor Results”. Your ads are triggered on search result pages when searchers enter the keyword combinations that you’ve bid on. Your ads can be targeted by language and country.

If you create a keyword campaign and you use the ContentMatch option, your bid also buys you top listings on Yahoo’s allied sites AltaVista, InfoSpace, eBay, CitySearch, AllTheWeb and a range of news and content portals, such as USAToday, National Geographic, iVillage and NBC.

Google AdWords

Google AdWords gives web site owners the ability to promote their site when particular keyword or phrase searches are conducted at Google and associate sites. Your ads appear at the top or on the right side of search results pages in a “call out” box under the heading “Sponsored Links”. Your AdWords text, image or video ads appear on search result pages for the keywords you buy, and can be targeted by language and country.

With Google AdWords cost-per-click (CPC) pricing, you pay only when a customer clicks on your ad, regardless of how many times it’s shown. Google adjusts your bids automatically to keep you ahead of your competition at the lowest possible price. Google AdWords results appear on Google search results pages, Google’s distribution sites, Google Gmail, and numerous content sites which are syndicated through the Google AdSense program.

Microsoft AdCenter

Microsoft adCenter is the newest kid on the Pay Per Click block. It includes the ability to target your ads to MSN Live Search users who match your target regional and demographic criteria.

Microsoft adCenter allows you to submit base bids for keywords or phrases you associate with your ads. This base bid is the maximum amount you are willing to pay if any Live Search user searches for one of your keywords and clicks your ad. You can also increase your bid in order to reach specific audience targets, which help increase the chance your ad will appear for a user who fits your buyer profile.

Targeted bidding in the Campaigns tab allows you to add amounts to your base bid to increase the possibility that your ad will show to searchers who fit your optimum buyer profile. You can use your bid amounts to influence your ad’s position in the Live Search results. In general, the more you bid, the higher the position your ad will have.

You can use Microsoft’s Intelligent Targeting feature to adjust your ads to match these variables:

* Geographical location
* Age and gender
* Day of the week
* Time of day (morning, afternoon, or night)

Interestingly, Microsoft pitches the ability to “build brand awareness” with their PPC program, due to the continued exposure of your ad and brand to a large market, regardless of whether that ad attracts clicks. This is an important feature of all major PPC programs but one that is rarely promoted by Google or Yahoo!

Perhaps brand-building is adCenter’s Unique Selling Proposition (USP) because Microsoft claim to reach more potential eyeballs than their competitors: over 99 million people per month have access to their Live Search tool across MSN and Windows Live.

The Advantages of Pay Per Click Advertising

The growth of the search industry worldwide has created a huge market for paid search advertising and most search engines and directories now have some type of Pay For Performance or Pay Per Click (PPC) element to them.

Pay Per Click advertising:

* Enables webmasters to target geographical and niche markets more precisely via specific search queries.
* Enables webmasters to have their page URL displayed at the top of the search engine results pages without having to figure out complex search engine algorithms or pay an SEO expert to tweak their site for higher rankings.
* Enables webmasters to receive new traffic instantly.
* Enables a website or offline store to be found by search engine users even if no site exists or the site is not search engine compatible.
* Enables small businesses to operate globally and compete on an equal footing with much larger competitors.
* Enables instant sales and more measurable ROI via conversion tracking.
* Enables more precise visitor pathways to be plotted (e.g. by leading visitors to specific landing pages).
* Enables campaigns to be switched on and off on-demand to meet specific needs, search trends or specific events (e.g. Christmas sale)

About The Author
Article by Kalena Jordan, one of the first search engine optimization experts in Australia, who is well known and respected in the industry, particularly in the U.S. As well as running a daily Search Engine Advice Column, Kalena manages Search Engine College - an online training institution offering instructor-led short courses and downloadable self-study courses in Search Engine Optimization and other Search Engine Marketing subjects.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Web Traffic : 20 Simple Ways To Get Massive Traffic To Your Web Site

Starting on an Internet Marketing campaign doesn’t have to be hard, tricky, or complicated. Learn these few simple ways how you can easily implement to get tons of traffic to your site right now!

1) Write articles: believe it or not this is an incredible tool for driving traffic. Well-written, relevant articles can net quite a bit of activity to your web site. Don’t forget to add your URL in your byline. Articles should be 500 to 2,000 words in length. You can send articles to sites like: Article City, GoArticles, Submit Your Articles and Ezine Articles.

2) Social bookmark *everything* - and I do mean everything - you can bookmark each page of your site and each blog entry you post. While this might seem tedious, it’s worth it. You’ll see a strong increase in traffic if you social bookmark each page on your site and each of your blog entries.

3) List yourself in the best directories – you’ll have to pay for this but since most people don’t do this (since everyone’s looking for a freebie) you could really enhance your traffic by getting a listing: dir dot yahoo dot com, business dot org, botw dot org.

4) Get yourself listed at: DMOZ dot org – it’s not easy to get listed there, but worth the effort.

5) Review: if you can review hot new products or books within your market, head on over to Amazon and start positioning yourself as an expert. In order to do this effectively you’ll want to create an Amazon profile and make sure and sign each review with a reference to your URL (your web site). You can also go to Epinions and Revoo to review products as well.

6) Offer a freebie on Craig’s List: you’ll be amazed at how much traffic you get from a single Craig’s List ad. The key here is to send people to a page on your site and make sure they have to sign up for something (like your email newsletter) before they can grab their freebie. That way you’re not just getting traffic, you’re also building your list.

7) Create a “recommended by” list on your Delicious page – you can do this by logging on and creating an account and there and then tagging articles, blogs and other content you think is important to your readership. Then offer this page as a resource site. You can add a link to this page in your email signature line or on your web site.

Continue to read more..

20 Simple Ways To Get Massive Traffic To Your Web Site

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Top 10 Search Engine Optimization Strategies For Your Website!

Although the concept of search engine optimization can be somewhat complex, there are a number of basic search engine optimization techniques you can use to improve your organic search results. Keep the following in mind when trying to achieve top rankings for your website.

1. Meta Tags.

Meta tags are simple lines of code at the top of your web page programming that tell search engines about your page. Include the title tag, keyword stag, description tag, and robots tag on each page.

2. Create and update your sitemap.

Developing a site map is a simple way of giving search engines the information they need to crawl your entire website. There are plenty of free software packages on the web that can help you generate a sitemap. Once you create a sitemap, submit it to Google and Yahoo.

3. Ensure that all navigation is in HTML.

All too often, navigational items are in the form of java script. Even though navigation technically still works in this format, it’s not optimized. Create your navigation in HTML to enhance internal links throughout your website.

4. Check that all images include ALT text.

Your image’s alt text is spidered by search engines. If you’re not including your keywords in alt text, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity for improved search engine result placements. Label all of your images properly.

5. Use Flash content sparingly.

Content generated through java script or flash is a big no-no. Some webmasters like to use flash because of the presentation. If you must, use it sparingly, but only after your site has been properly optimized with basic search engine optimization in mind.

6. Make sure that your website code is clean.

Keep in mind when optimizing a web page crawlers are basically only looking at your source code. When programming your web pages, having W3C compliant code can make all the difference. Run your code through a W3C validator before promoting.

7. Place keywords in your page content.

Search engines scan your website and web pages for keywords. Shoot for a keyword density of between two and eight percent. Google likes your page to be at the lower end of this scale and Yahoo at the upper end.

8. Submit your website to search engine directories.

It’s always a good idea to let large search engine directories know that you’re out there. Submit your website URL to directories like Google, Yahoo, and DMOZ.

9. Build links to your website.

Consider building a link exchange program or create one-way links to your site using articles or forum posts. All major search engines value the importance of your website based on how many others websites are linking to it.

10. Learn the basics.

Learning to optimize your website for search engines takes time and patience. Start by applying basic search engine optimization principles. If you’re new to website optimization, or even a well seasoned veteran, begin by prioritizing which pages are most important to you and go from there. Soon you’ll find yourself moving up the rankings.

About the Author: Michael Fleischner is a Marketing Expert and Search Engine Optimization Specialist. He has more than 12 years of marketing experience and had appeared on The TODAY Show, Bloomberg Radio, and other major media. Visit for further details and more marketing articles.

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Monday, January 07, 2008

SEO: 20 Things You Need to Know Before Optimizing a Web Site

One of the most important aspects of a search engine optimization project is also one of the most overlooked – preparation! There are some important steps to take in advance of optimizing your site that will make sure your SEO is successful.

Before You Start

Before you start any search engine optimization campaign, whether it’s for your own site or that belonging to a client, you need to answer the following questions: 1) What is the overall motivation for optimizing this site? What do I/they hope to achieve? e.g. more sales, more subscribers, more traffic, more publicity etc.

2) What is the time-frame for this project?

3) What is the budget for this project?

4) Who will be responsible for this project? Will it be a joint or solo effort? Will it be run entirely in-house or outsourced?

Answering these questions will help you to build a framework for your SEO project and establish limitations for the size and scope of the campaign.

Ready: How Search Engine-Compatible is the Site Currently?

Something I find very useful before quoting on any SEO project is to produce what I call a Search Engine Compatibility Review. This is where I carry out a detailed overview and analysis of a site’s search engine compatibility in terms of HTML design, page extensions, link popularity, title and META tags, body text, target keywords, ALT IMG tags, page load time and other design elements that can impact search engine indexing.

I then provide a detailed report to potential clients with recommendations based on my findings. It just helps sort out in my mind what design elements need tweaking to make the site as search engine-friendly as possible. It also helps marketing staff prove to an often stubborn programming department (or vice versa!) that SEO is necessary. You might consider preparing something similar for your own site or clients.

Steady: Requirements Gathering

Next, you need to establish the project requirements, so you can tailor the SEO campaign to you or your client’s exact needs. For those of you servicing clients, this information is often required before you are able to quote accurately.

To determine your project requirements, you need to have the following questions answered:

1) What technology was used to build the site? (i.e. Flash, PHP, frames, Cold Fusion, JavaScript, Flat HTML etc)

2) What are the file extensions of the pages? (i.e. .htm, .php, .cfm etc)

3) Does the site contain database driven content? If so, will the URLs contain query strings? e.g., (containing “?” symbols), or does the site use parameter
workarounds to remove the query strings? (the latter is more search engine friendly).

4) Are there at least 250 words of text on the home page and other pages to be optimized?

5) How does the navigation work? Does it use text links or graphical links or JavaScript drop-down menus?

6) Approximately how many pages does the site contain? How many of these will be optimized?

7) Does the site have a site map or will it require one? Does the site have an XML sitemap submitted to Google Sitemaps

8) What is the current link popularity of the site?

9) What is the approximate Google PageRank of the site? Would it benefit from link building?

10) Do I have the ability to edit the source code directly? Or will I need to hand-over the optimized code to programmers
for integration?

11) Do I have permission to alter the visible content of the site?

12) What are the products/services that the site promotes?(e.g. widgets, mobile phones, hire cars etc.)

13) What are the site’s geographical target markets? Are they global? Country specific? State specific? Town specific?

14) What are the site’s demographic target markets? (e.g. young urban females, working mothers, single parents etc.)

15) What are 20 search keywords or phrases that I think my/my client’s target markets will use to find the site in the
search engines?

16) Who are my/my client’s major competitors online? What are their URLs? What keywords are they targeting?

17) Who are the stake-holders of this site? How will I report to them?

18) Do I have access to site traffic logs or statistics to enable me to track visitor activity during the campaign?
Specifically, what visitor activity will I be tracking?

19) How do I plan on tracking my or my client’s conversion trends and increased rankings in the search engines?

20) What are my/my client’s expectations for the optimization project? Are they realistic?

Answers to the first 10 questions above will determine the complexity of optimization required. For example, if the site pages currently have little text on them, you know you’ll need to integrate more text to make the site compatible with search engines and include adequate target keywords. If the site currently uses frames, you will need to rebuild the pages
without frames or create special No-Frames tags to make sure the site can be indexed, and so on.

This initial analysis will help you to scope the time and costs involved in advance. For those of you optimizing client sites, obtaining accurate answers to these questions BEFORE quoting is absolutely crucial. Otherwise you can find yourself in the
middle of a project that you have severely under-quoted for.

The remainder of questions are to establish in advance the who,what, where, when, why and how of the optimization project. This will help you determine the most logical keywords and phrases to target, as well as which search engines to submit the site to.

For those of you optimizing web sites for a living, you might consider developing a questionnaire that you can give clients to complete to ensure you tailor the web site optimization to their exact needs.


So now you are clear about your motivations for optimizing the site, you know more about the target markets, you know how compatible the existing site is with search engines and how much work is involved in the search engine optimization process. You’re ready to tackle the job.

Article by Kalena Jordan, one of the first search engine optimization experts in Australia, who is well known and respected in the industry, particularly in the U.S. As well as running a daily Search Engine Advice Column , Kalena manages Search Engine College - an online training institution offering instructor-led short courses and downloadable self-study courses in Search Engine Optimization and other Search Engine Marketing subjects.

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Optimizing Your Site for Both Google and Yahoo!

Search engine optimization techniques for Google and Yahoo are quite different. Many websites rank well in one search engine but not the other. This is the direct result of each search engine having its own unique ranking algorithm. For example, the Google algorithm predominantly values the anchor text of in-bound links. Yahoo places more emphasis on keyword density and meta tags.

The primary reason for the difference in ranking algorithms is that Google owns the patent on Page Rank (PR), named after Google’s founder Larry Page. As a result of owning this patent, other search engines need to place more emphasis on different optimization factors including website URL, keyword density and so on.

What are the greatest differences in search engine algorithms?

Google places a significant amount of emphasis on inbound links to your website. The value of these inbound links are measured based on their Google PR. The more links you receive from high Google PR web pages, the better your search result placements will be for a given keyword or search term.

Yahoo places emphasis on website URLs, meta tags, and keyword density. These factors can be analyzed on any website with a limited amount of effort, allowing Yahoo to quickly and easily rank websites properly.

How you can optimize your website for both Google and Yahoo!

The challenge all website owners face is making the most of their optimization efforts. When thinking about search engine optimization, you need to cover all the bases. To do so, pay particular attention to the following guidelines.

Keyword Targeted URL. If your website URL doesn’t contain your keywords, consider purchasing a new one or creating a new page off of your root directory (ex: Having your keywords in the URL helps improve both your Yahoo and Google search results. Yahoo weighs the website address as an important ranking factor. Google values a keyword rich URL when third party websites place a link to your site using nothing but a web address.

Meta Tags. Although not as important as they once were, Yahoo still uses meta tags to help align search engine rankings and appropriate website pages. Make sure that your meta tags are complete and include your keyword phrases in the title, description, and keyword tags.

Keyword Density Between 6 - 8%. Although much has been written about the importance of keyword density remaining between 2 - 3%, Yahoo looks for sites with keyword densities as high as 8%. Don’t be afraid to include your keywords throughout your webpage content. Make sure however, that your keyword density is not more than 8%.

Link Building. This is the most important factor for increasing Google search result placements. Develop a link building campaign and give other sites a reason to link to your site. This may include free downloads, tools, or other valuable resources.

Site Map. Publish a sitemap. This makes it easy for search engines to spider your website and access all of your most important web pages. Site maps should be accessible from your home page and kept up-to-date.

Optimizing for both Google and Yahoo can be challenging. Following basic seo principles and working to develop incoming links can help you reach the top of the largest search engines. Apply these techniques regularly to see the greatest results.

About the Author: Michael Fleischner is a marketing expert with more than 12 years of Internet marketing experience. Learn how to improve search engine rankings with his latest ebook, The Webmasters Book of Secrets at

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