Benefits of Sponsored Search

Sponsored search requires significant management and controls to achieve the results you need. Yahoo Search Marketing is one of the leading providers of sponsored search traffic. Two examples of sponsored search case studies conducted by Yahoo Search Marketing are quoted below:

  • Fairmont Hotels has been able to achieve an average cost-per-sale (CPS) of 3 percent within its Yahoo Search Marketing campaign. Fairmont increased its revenue by a whopping 57 percent, and its brand awareness went from 2 percent in 1999 to 17 percent in 2003 to 26 percent in 2004.
  • EverythingHome, formerly EverythingBagel, is an online retailer that offers hundreds of home-related products. They wrote customized titles and descriptions that attract interested buyers to their site. EverythingHome's search listings grew to nearly 5,000 so did their business. Consistently, EverythingHome has seen results as they have achieved almost a 50 percent ROI while generating close to $500,000 in sales.

Imagine the pleasure your top management would have with these results. However, in both cases, it took a lot of time and money to acquire these results, and it was no easy walk-in-the-park. Yes, it can be done. No, it's not just a matter of signing-up and counting the clicks. There are dozens of granular issues to address with sponsored search. But thats for another article.

Virtues of Organic Search

With organic search, your search engine results page (SERP) translates into the real estate mandate for "Location, Location, Location!" Type in a search query at Google for "Fraud Protection" and you may see the following SERP with listings in the Golden Triangle (the F-shaped area on SERPs where websites appear for optimal search engine visibility in both paid and natural listings).

A primary factor to consider in organic search is user preference for organic links, illustrated in the chart below on Internet User Behavior.

Studies suggest that B2B Internet users prefer natural (organic) search results when presented with a choice. As shown in almost every instance, users chose organic over sponsored search results. Other studies indicate that B2C and B2B2C Internet users mirror B2B user behavior in similar percentages. Couple the Golden Triangle eye tracking results with user preference for organic links, you can begin to appreciate the value of being listed in the top three organic search results for your industry.

Reinventing Your Business

Once you integrate web analytics with your website functionality and achieve a good balance of organic and sponsored search links, you will have reinvented your business with improved website performance. Installing analytics and search on your dashboard will require the completion of several prerequisites, including site architecture, page construction, content and linking. Your site architecture will be a thematical vault of valuable data. Your page construction and content will match up with the science of relevance. And popularity, as others link to you, will be yours to have and to hold.

In the process, you will develop a superior site and will be presenting yourself to the world as the subject matter expert. Your competitors may try to take you down, but it can take them years to catch up. And when budget time comes rolling around, you'll have plenty of proof to show value to your decision makers.

Your next step will be to set-up a perimeter, define additional objectives, add new features to the dashboard and continuously improve performance. You'll be strong and centered with support from the basics that got you there.

Before signing off, I have one tip for you: Get a methodology document from your search marketing vendor or agency. Read it and understand every detail; study it as you would study the manual to your new 60" plasma screen or Bentley Arnage T.

Last but not least, remember to keep that shovel in the manure pile, letting your company leadership know the value of search marketing and its amazing impact on the firm's bottom line.

Discuss this article in the Small Business Ideas forum.

March 28, 2006

Paul J. Bruemmer has provided search engine marketing expertise and consulting services to prominent American businesses since 1995. As Director of Search Marketing at Red Door Interactive, he is responsible for strategizing and implementing search engine marketing activities within Red Door's Internet Presence Management (IPM) services.

Search Engine Guide > Paul Bruemmer > Search Marketing for C-Level Managers - Part 2