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Search Engine Marketing - Frequently Asked Questions
If you have a question about search engine marketing or related services that you would like us to answer send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: What is search engine marketing or SEM?
A: Companies and individuals define the term "search engine marketing" or "SEM" in different ways, and they often interchange them with other terms such as "Internet marketing," "web marketing," and "pay per click management". For MWI's purposes, we define SEM as "all activities performed to optimize the results of a pay per click or PPC advertising campaign." Thus, at MWI the term search engine marketing means more than just setting up and managing your PPC campaign. It includes examining clients' websites and performing conversion analysis, wherein we recommend or perform modifications to those websites in order to better funnel the traffic generated by the PPC advertising campaign in order to increase sales and leads.
Q: What are the pros and cons of search engine marketing vs. search engine optmization?
A: The pros of SEM are that it's easier to manage (and therefore generally less expensive to purchase services from a consultant), and it's fast. You can be up and running in 20-30 minutes and driving traffic to your website, whereas with SEO you might wait months to start seeing significant results. The downside of SEM is that you have to pay for all those darn clicks. Every time somebody clicks on one of your ads, you pay a fee, whereas with SEO someone can click on your link 10 million times and you don't pay a dime other than what you had to pay a consultant to get you ranked in the search engine. If you need immediate results and have the money, the SEM is the way to go in the short run, as SEO is more of a long-term strategy. However, in most cases we recommend clients do both. This is because some people click on SEM ads, and some people click on the natural search engine results generated by SEO. Studies show the ratio as being about 30% for SEM vs. 70% for SEO. Some people would look at that and put their money into SEO, but doing just one or the other means missing out on the other, and 30% is still a significant amount of traffic.
Q: Why should I be doing search engine marketing?
A: The Internet is quickly replacing printed phone books, newspapers, and magazines and is more effective dollar for dollar compared to TV, radio, print, or outdoor advertising. Internet marketing isn't just for Internet companies, it's for everyone, including traditional businesses. The business that can't benefit from Internet marketing is becoming more and more rare and more and more people turn to the Internet, not just to make online purchases, but to research offline purchases as well. Law firms, universities, car dealers, realtors, manufacturers, architects, home builders, and offline retailers have benefitted from SEM and so can you.
Q: How do search engines work?
A: A search engine tries to guess what you are looking for when you type in a certain keyword or keyword phrase. This is tougher than it sounds. For example, one person who types in "utah search engine marketing" might be looking to hire a search engine marketing firm in Utah, while another who types in the same phrase is looking for a job with a search engine marketing company in Utah, and yet another is trying to sell something to search engine marketing firms in Utah. The goal of any search engine is to provide relevant search results for the greatest number of people possible. Search engines do this by creating an algorithm by which websites are ranked. A website shows up in the #1 spot for "utah search engine marketing" or any other keywords in Google because Google's algorithm has determined that website is what the majority of people want to see when they type in their search terms. Of course that may or may not be the case and you may find that in a majority of the searches you do you don't find what you want, but seeing as how Google is the #1 search engine by a long shot you can be sure they're doing a better job than any other search engine out there, which leads us to the next question and answer...
Q: Which search engines matter?
A: The ones that will bring you the greatest return, and that usually means Google. Google is the king of search engines and owns almost half the search engine market, with Yahoo and MSN taking distant 2nd and 3rd places. All other search engines combined make up such a small percentage of searches they are generally not worth considering unless there is a special niche search engine that happens to service your industry. But for the vast majority of our clients, Google is the #1 focus because it has the most users, the most searches, and therefore produces more leads than any other search engine.
Q: How do search engines make money?
A: Primarily off of search engine marketing. If you sign up as a PPC advertiser, then you pay a fee every time someone clicks on one of those sponsored ads on the top or right hand side of the search engine results, and that goes straight into the search engine's coffers.
Q: What is the SEO process?
A: Although the specific techniques we use differ depending on each client's situation, there is a general set of steps we go through. These steps are repeated on a regular and frequenty basis, generally monthly, although often with greater frequency.
Q: Is MWI really a search engine marketing firm? I thought you did a lot of other things.
A: MWI did not start out as a search engine marketing firm which is a distinct part of our advantage. We started in 1999 as a web design and development firm, designing high-end websites and developing web applications like content management systems. Because of our substantial experience designing and developing websites, we not only are able to help our clients do well when it comes to search engine optimization and search engine marketing as far as driving traffic to their websites, but we are able to make or recommend modifications to the website itself in order to increase the number of visitors who turn into customers. Although we still offer web design services, SEO and SEM are our primary services and make up a majority of our revenues.
Q: How are you different from other search engine marketing companies?
A: No long-term contracts, and a results-oriented approach. If we don't achieve the results you're looking for you can fire us at any time, and we know it and we work hard to make our clients happy.
Q: Why should I use MWI to market my website online?
A: Results and integrity. We're good at bringing your website traffic but that's only part of the equation. What kind of traffic is it? Are you making more money from it? We'll get you results or we'll fire ourselves.
Q: Do you only provide search engine marketing services to companies in Utah?
A: Although MWI is a Utah based search engines marketing firm we have clients nationwide. Our online project management system allows us to stay in constant contact with clients regarding the status of their campaign and we don't hesitate to travel when needed.