How a Non-technical Person Can Make Good Search Engine Marketing Decisions

  • Where are you now?
    • Domain names
      • Who is the registrar?
      • Whose names are on the record?
      • Who has the administrative login for the registrar’s website?
    • Website hosting
      • Which ISP is the host?
      • What are the FTP username and password?
    • Statistics
      • How many people are visiting now?
      • Where do they come from?
      • How do they find the site?
      • How much are you spending on paid online advertising now?
    • Website design
      • Is it right for my prospects and clients?
      • How does it compare to my competition’s sites?
  • Where are we going?
    • The purpose of SEM is to increase qualified traffic to your website.
    • You want to convert the increased qualified traffic into sales. It is important to remember that SEM does not perform sales for you. Your business needs to close sales in every possibly way: telephone, email, fax and even postal mail. Your client records should record the way that the leads come in.
    • You want the site to appear on the front page of Google for the search term(s) that are most effective for your business. It is sometimes possible to get it on the front page up to three times for a single search phrase. Because Google makes changes more slowly to the organic results than other search engines we will be likely to see results at the other search engines more quickly.
    • You will will want to create and launch an optimized pay-per-click campaign that will get qualified traffic quickly at the lowest possible cost per click. This campaign will also be used to accurately determine the exact search phrases that most people used when looking for what your business offers.
  • How can we get from what you have to what you want?
    • The search terms that people are using will be determined from your website statistics and results the pay-per-click campaign on Google.
    • Changes will be made to your site’s content and structure to match to what people are looking for.
    • The optimized site will be submitted to hundreds of sites to create helpful inbound links that will improve your site’s search engine return placement.
  • What do I do if something seems to be going wrong?
    • Write down what the problem is.
      • When did it occur?
      • When was it noticed?
      • Are there any related other problems?
    • Write down what you can do about it.
      • Determine who can diagnose and fix the problem properly.
    • Decide what you are going to do.
      • What do I do if there is a difference of opinion between advisors?
        • Unfortunately there will be times when your technical advisors disagree. To sort this out you need to be clear about each advisors area of expertise. All aspects of technology knowledge may seem to blur together but, in fact, are very separate without much overlap. Someone who is very knowledgeable about setting up and maintaining web servers isn’t necessarily an expert about search engines although they may have very strong opinions.
        • Get your advisors to talk to each other and see if they can find common ground. You may want to set up a conference call so that you can listen in and referee if necessary.
    • Act on it.
  • How can I get the best possible work from your SEM consultant?
    • Don’t believe that search engine marketing is black magic.
      • In a lot of ways SEM is a way of delivering precise “elevator speeches” to people who are already interested.
      • It is different from other marketing because people pull in your information because they are actively looking for it.
      • Media like TV, radio and print push out messages to everyone regardless of interest level.
    • Ask lots of questions.
      • You need to understand what’s happening to the fullest extent that you can.
    • Don’t jump to conclusions.
      • It is easy to see a problem and assume that it was caused by an action that preceded you noticing the problem. You need to make sure exactly when the problem occurred before you can determine what may have caused it. Frequently it is a better use of resources to fix problems rather than trying to figure out why it happened and we are very good at finding and fixing problems.
      • Search engines play by rules. Some are well defined others are kept a closely guarded secret that can only be guessed at over a period of time and a lot of experience. Sometimes it is difficult even for an expert to distinguish between the two possibilities.
        • Since Google’s organic results change so slowly it is valuable to use AdWords to test pages. AdWords gives you results in a matter of minutes rather than the weeks or months that Google’s organic results take to react to changes.
        • Yahoo! And MSN may show results more quickly than Google but usually represent far less qualified traffic over the long run.
      • Understand the meaning of the reports of the increased traffic to your site.