Is Search Engine Marketing Dead

Thursday, January 27, 2011
A recent article from an online marketing agency, OOm (Click here to download) discuss on this topic.

Summary of the articles as follows (those highlighted in Blue are my comments):

Define Search Engine marketing (SEM) and Search Engine Optimization
A normal search displays a few pages of information. Links or information related to your search may pop out at the side of the pages, giving you extra clues or links to other sites.

How can we measure and improve on the profitability of our ad campaign?
The real goal is to connect your business to the right searches, engage them, and turn them into paying customers.

“What if you could come up with a way to advertise on the same page as web search results – without annoying people and achieves measurable results at the same time – a form of advertising that targets potentially interested customers, yet doesn’t bother people needlessly?”

This is the underlying premise of Pay-Per Click (PPC) Marketing, leveraging on Google Adwords, Yahoo! Search and Bing and why you should considering it as part of your campaign.

Five Key Takeaways
Using KAPLAN as the case study,

There are at least 5 takeaways from this case study.

  1. Landing page and website quality are increasingly important
  2. Related to the first point, there is increasing evidence that Google engineers think about similar relevance issues in paid search as they do on the organic side. One example in this case study was a strong effort we put into information architecture (which included keyword – rich page titles, headings, and well-formed URLs) for the KAPLAN site. This effort seems partly responsible for the high initial QS. = lots of spamming words messed up search quality 
  3. The principles of tight targeting and granular campaign organization are borne out by this success story.
  4. The little extras in terms of segmentation and granularity – in this case, targeting one particular local area within campaigns that mention the city in the ad copy (in this case, it’s only Singapore) and on the landing page – seem to be advantageous = a “narrow” geographical location is easier to manage, compared to branding “worldwide” 
  5. All the above points to be value of a cautious, two-stage account buildout process. Building loosely at first and then tightening up later is bound to give you a poor account history that will reflect on your whole effort going forward. A strong, tightly relevant campaign will, by contrast, give you the firm foundation that will allow you to gradually search for ways to expand your ad distribution without incurring a whole lot of extra cost

I personally find SEM & SEO the minimal for any online campaigns. Yes, do let other people find you. But with internet, there's whole lots of information online and more being added each day. We are overwhelmed with so much info that there may be the search results can turn out irrelevant. Of course, the internet search engine giants such as Google and Yahoo are doing their very best to minimize such.

Yes, it does help if you know how to go about it. But will it generate the ROI with "heightened" awareness?

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