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The Importance of a Well-Rounded SEO Campaign
By Andrew Gerhart - January 31, 2002

It is our job as professionals in the search engine optimization industry to promote the optimization service to potential clients and to believe in the power of search engine optimization as the most powerful online promotional tool. It is no secret that SEO is the most powerful, cost-effective, and results-yielding website promotion tool, but if your optimization service provider or webmaster is cutting the online campaign off at SEO, then they are losing out on other potential sources of traffic. In this article I will discuss what other avenues of online marketing and promotion are of value and worth pursuing and in what instances they are worth pursuing.

The pay-per-click search engines have become the enemy of a lot of search engine optimization professionals who fear that the PPC engines, such as Overture.com, will take over the SEO industry and leave the industry in the cold with no where to turn. I have expressed my feelings and predictions about this situation in past search engine articles. I do not see the PPC model as an overwhelming threat to the search engine optimization industry, but instead I think that we, as professionals, should capitalize on the growth of PPC and use it to our optimization and online advantage. A strong SEO campaign should always be reinforced by other forms of promotion and marketing, and PPC is one of the additional avenues to pursue. Just as you should research and analyze the market before beginning an SEO campaign, you should scope out the PPC market before diving in and spending too much money without getting the estimated results or getting a return on investment. One of the reasons that a PPC campaign can assist in your online efforts is the broad reach of Overture.com. Currently Overture's results are displayed at the top of the listings on AOL, MSN, Yahoo, Alta Vista, Excite, and Lycos. A good way to use PPC to your advantage on these other sites is to target the more defined and refined keywords. For example, look at the three listings below:

1) Web hosting - $6.80 per click - 40,9497 searches in Dec.
2) Web hosting company - $5.70 per click - 12,638 searches in Dec.
3) Web site hosting services - $4.41 per click - 7,175 searches in Dec.

If you were to bid on these keywords to be in the top 3, you would end up paying a lot of money, and in most cases you will not see a return on investment. Now, look at the three examples below:

1) Quality web site hosting services - $1.11 per click - 2,343 searches in Dec.
2) Professional web site hosting services - $1.17 per click - 2,246 searches in Dec.
3) Professional web site hosting - $2.08 per click - 2,573 searches in Dec.

By refining the search terms you can define the audience you are targeting and make a return on investment. The key to using Overture as a supplement to your optimization campaign is to use the Overture keyword suggestion tool to refine your keywords and refine your target audience.

There are many forms of online advertisements that companies can choose from on the Internet, but there are only a small number that are effective and produce the results desired without spending too much. One of the online advertising avenues that can be useful to an optimization campaign is Google Adwords. This advertising medium uses a Cost Per Impression pricing model, but there are pros and cons to this advertising. One of the pros to Google Adwords is that Google is currently one of the largest sources of Internet traffic, and is known by everyone to provide the best results. This means that a large portion of your target audience will see your advertisement. One of the cons to the Google Adwords system is that it is notorious for having low click thru rates. Of course, the low click thru rates are not true in all cases, but the positioning of the advertisements on the search engine results pages, on the far right hand side of the pages, makes it somewhat difficult to grab the users eye. This is especially the case as most of Google's users realize that the actual search results that Google returns are in most case excellent and the most relevant to their search.

Another way to increase your site's exposure online is to find other directories, mostly market specific, and websites that will list your site but for a cost. This form of promotion ties in with link popularity and increasing your site's Page Rank in Google. If you submit your site to the right websites and directories, you can effectively increase your link popularity, Page Rank, and the amount of targeted traffic to your site.

For example, I searched for "web hosting" on Google, and within the listings are a number of directories and websites that you can submit your site to increase exposure and accomplish the goals mentioned above. Within the first 20 listings for the search term, there are a number of websites that offer listings for web hosting companies. Most of these sites offer free listings, almost all of them offer advertisement space, and some of them offer sponsored links. For the high-ranking sites, the most effective one to choose is the sponsored links, as there are numerous benefits to them. Having a link on the homepage of a top-ranking site will bring targeted traffic to your site, increase your link popularity, and also strengthen your Page Rank.

Also within these listings were the Yahoo and ODP categories for this market. The Open Directory Project is free to submit to, although to be listed in the directory can sometimes take a long time. Yahoo costs $299 a year to submit to, and they also offer sponsored links that appear at the top of the category listings. Yahoo's submission price is warranted, as the directory remains to be one of the leading sources of traffic on the Internet. This form of increasing online exposure is needed and usually included in a good search engine optimization campaign or maintenance package.

These are all ways of increasing your site's audience online, while not spending your yearly budget in one month. There are other forms of online marketing and advertising, but some of them require that your monthly budget for the campaign be in the tens of thousands.

Accompany your search engine optimization campaign with one of the methods above, all of the methods above, or more, and you will see a noticeable increase in targeted traffic and sometimes ranking.

Check the Top Site Listings SEO Interview to read Andrew's and Eric Lander's analysis of these methods and more.