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.

Is the Annual Report a Marketing Document?

Annual Report season is finally over and accountants and auditors can now rest after a frantic few months.

While there is no doubt that the main objective of an Annual Report is to provide information on company performance and growth plans to shareholders and potential investors, it is also one of the most under-utilised tools a company has at its disposal.

For many, the Annual Report is purely a financial document that carries regulatory and reporting obligations. For others, it is a financial document with limited benefits such as attracting new investors or reporting on staff engagement and corporate social responsibility.

The Annual Report is one of the most important marketing documents their company will produce all year. The importance lies in the following reasons:

1. An Annual Report is the major document presented to the investor community. Every time you put information in front of people who make decisions about your brand as well as your financial performance, you are marketing. Therefore, it is important how you choose to present your results.
2. An Annual Report is monitored by key customers and suppliers to get a gauge on the entire businesses performance, not just its financial performance.
3. An Annual Report provides businesses with the opportunity to present their brand and ‘sell the benefits’ of their products to their customers.

The marketing potential of the Annual Report is enormous. How important is your Annual Report to your business?

Contributor:

Michael Field, Managing Director for Michael Field Pty Ltd.