Search engine marketing is the major current opportunity in online marketing, which, given the increasing popularity of search engines for researching products, services and organizations, is hardly surprising.
Search usage is continuing to rise among consumers, professionals and self-employed internet marketers who are using Google, Yahoo and many other sources to find what they're looking for.
In February, in the U.S. alone, there were 13.5bn searches which is estimated as only 10% of the worldwide total.
The main challenge is to tap into the search behaviour of your audience and find out which keywords you need to focus on. This requires great skill, and,in addition, you need to secure top ranking for your selected keywords. Anyone who has tried SEO will know how difficult this is.
Constant innovations from rival search engines and increasing activity from your competitors means that your approach and tactics have to be very good if you are to rank well.
The major risk in SEM is that algorithm changes can seriously damage your traffic, and we've all heard the tales about being top one day and nowhere the next. In addition, you have to manage the risks of your pages not being included in the search engine or being barred for breaking their rules. So how can you ensure this doesn't happen to you?
In my next few articles I'm going to try and provide some of the answers to try and enable you to maximise your opportunities and minimise your risks.
You always have to remember that web users love to search in the constant desire to acquire information and you need some idea of the type of information they're looking for. Now this obviously varies from person to person. They could be looking for information on products, entertainment news, seeking to compare vendors and services, looking for love or a second hand car or a myriad of other things. But all these goals usually start with a simple search enquiry.
The use of keywords or keyphrases helps users find exactly what they want and modern search engines are designed to deliver relevant results to users. Relevance is the target of all search engine engineers.
So it is vitally important that all marketers understand the importance of keyphrases because a search engine such as Google will attach most relevance to a specific phrase which matches a user's search term. Search engines also assess other occurrences of keywords and synonyms on a page and also websites and pages linking to a page.
A final point in this article. The number of searches being made is still increasing massively; in 2006 there were 183 million per day and by now that figure has increased significantly so it is easy to understand the importance of this subject.