What is Search Engine Marketing?

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is the process of improving the ranking and increasing the visibility of a website in a search engine’s paid search results. This is different from Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) which is improving the ranking and increasing the visibility of a website in a search engine’s natural (organic) search results.

SEM can include paid keywords such as Google AdWords and other forms of direct payment to search engines and other firms to ensure high rankings for selected keywords.

Here is a quick checklist to consider before you commence an SEM campaign:

  • Do we have the expertise to manage an SEM program in-house?
  • If we are going to outsource SEM, how will we evaluate the supplier?
  • What keywords are important to us and are most likely to produce the highest quality traffic and conversions?
  • How will we cull and distill the long list of potential keywords into a concise, potent and manageable shortlist?
  • What are the current search frequency, demand, competition, pricing and value of our preferred keywords?
  • How will we manage the keyword bidding and budget?
  • Who will analyse and report on the effectiveness of our campaign?
  • Who will monitor and adjust the campaign as keyword effectiveness changes over time?
  • How will we track traffic and evaluate the success of the campaign?

What would you add to this list?

Contributor:

Michael Field, Managing Director for Michael Field Pty Ltd.

What is Search Engine Optimisation?

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving the ranking and increasing the visibility of a website in a search engine’s natural (organic) search results. This is different from Search Engine Marketing (SEM) which is paying for your website to rank on the first page for prescribed keywords.

SEO techniques can be classified into two broad categories:

White Hat

These are techniques that search engines recommend as part of good design and produce meaningful search results for consumers. These techniques include keyword rich copy, hyperlinks and user-friendly navigation. These techniques are Google-compliant and produce results based on relevance.

Black Hat

These are techniques that are designed to ‘game the system’ in the hope of producing a high page rank regardless of the search term. These techniques include link stuffing, keyword cloaking and hidden pages. These techniques are illegal/non-Google compliant and will result in the offending website being black-listed by Google – meaning your website would be lucky to be found on page *9,376 on your preferred search terms.

* Not an actual statistic but indicative of the severity of the punishment meted out by Google

Contributor:

Michael Field, Managing Director for Michael Field Pty Ltd.

Smart Signage

This is a guest post by Hollie Azzopardi from Stolen Quotes.

Last Friday, we attended AIMIA’s Smart Signage Event ? a forum exploring modern-day signage usage, including the use of interactive displays to enhance a brand, and the future of signage as technology progresses.

If you’re thinking signage of the future is all about QR Codes, you are mistaken. Smart signage is much more complex than scanning a sign and pulling up information. Think Minority Report. There are now tracking tools that can track your emotion, age and gender, simply through skeletal and emotional recognition. Scary? Yes. Exciting? Yes.

There are already examples of businesses taking advantage of the technologies available in the signage space.

US donut chain Dunkin’ Donuts introduced an interactive menu that can be updated in-store by the manager via iPad. Menus are able to be adjusted according to what specials the manager wants to promote that day, are synced with the social media activity occurring live and can even recommend a drink according to the outside temperature at the time. This interactive signage was also successful in eliminating the businesses reliability on cardboard and paper menus, ultimately saving them money in wastage costs as menus became dated.

Another interesting concept was vending machines using smile-detection software to encourage people walking by to approach the machine ? the bigger your smile, the greater your chance to win a free ice cream.

While options are almost limitless when it comes to how your brand or company could incorporate smart signage into your marketing strategy, there are a number of things that should first be considered:

- Do you have the right people on board to implement a successful smart signage piece? Consider that it is perhaps not the role of the marketing team ? is it the IT team’s job? Should consumer psychology be considered? Smart signage is more than just marketing. It requires appropriate data, testing and a balance of the consumer connection and technology at play.

- How will ROI be measured? Do you expect the signage to increase sales, or is it a publicity stunt? What are you offering the consumer other than an experience ? free product? Discounted product? Vouchers? Nothing?

- As Executive Producer of Boffswana, Robert Stock, said ? just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Consider the sign’s purpose and cost. If it is not likely to produce the results you or your client is after, reconsider. There will always still be a place for simple signage. Unless you’re thinking about creating an interactive dancing bear sign ? apparently those are a hit!

Contributor:

Hollie Azzopardi, Account Manager at Stolen Quotes.