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What is Search Engine Marketing?

Jul 29, 2008
Search engine marketing is a relatively new form of marketing that uses search engines to promote websites and increase the number of visitors to them. This is done in several ways, the main way being getting a website a first page ranking (or preferably first place ranking) on various search engines. By doing this it is thought that visitors are more likely to click into a website that has a high ranking as it is seen to be more relevant to the search that they are performing.

As with any type of marketing there are different ways in which search engine marketing can be utilised - here are some of the methods used to market a website online:
* Search engine optimisation or SEO. This is one of the most popular forms of search engine marketing and works by using tools firstly to determine which are the most popular keywords for what your website is about, and then including those words on your website. For example if you were trying to market a website about cats you would find all the best keywords relating to cats that are popular in internet searches and include them on your website. By using these words at a certain density (usually between 2-5% as anything more could be considered a black hat method and make your website rank poorly) you will increase the rank of your website. Many website owners fail to use this method and as a result wonder why they are not getting the ranking they believe they should for their sites. Using this form of search engine marketing is useful as it not only is relatively easy to use SEO on your website but it is also easy to change.

* Paid inclusion or paid placement. This is the method of paying a search engine fees in order for a website to be included in their results pages and search index (SERPS, search engine results pages)most of the biggest search engines allow this, apart from Google. Paid inclusion can be a useful method of search engine marketing. However many people believe that as websites pay to be included it can result in rankings that are not entirely relevant to a search as they have paid to be there. For this reason some people do not like to use certain search engines as they contain a high percentage of these paid inclusion sites.

* PPC or pay per click. This is similar to paid inclusion however it is a method whereby an advertiser will pay a fee each time a user clicks onto their advertisements on search engines. These advertisements are placed by the advertiser bidding on keywords that are relevant to their adverts and when a person puts one of these keywords into a search engine their advertisement will be shown, usually at the side of the SERPs. If the person searching then clicks into the advertisement the advertiser will have to pay a fee to the search engine. The more popular the keyword that is being bid on the higher the bids and vice versa, so some PPC's can be quite costly for the advertiser but they can bring in a high amount of revenue if the website is selling something and people click through to it and make a purchase.

These are just a selection of the methods that are used in search engine marketing and there are, of course, other methods that can be used but these are the most popular. Search engine marketing is a useful way of driving traffic to a website and can be highly profitable.
About the Author
Adrian McLean is Head of SEO and SEM at Search Engine Optimising Ltd. Put your website first with search engine marketing from the leading uk internet marketing agency.
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