First, let’s get the jargon straight. People often confuse Search Engine Optimization with Search Engine Marketing. While SEO seeks to garner traffic for free — SEM requires an ongoing expenditure for every visit. Search engine marketing comes in many forms. It may involve a Google AdWords pay-per-click campaign, banner ad on a popular website, or sponsored link in a heavily subscribed email newsletter. These kinds of paid efforts can be useful under certain circumstances:

  1. The launch of a new product or brand.
  2. The launch of a new domain.
  3. Achieving visibility for keywords which are too competitive to achieve organically.
  4. As a method for discovering valuable keywords to utilize in SEO efforts.

Paying for visits gets you actively “out in traffic“. It allows you to “sprint” into visibility where people are searching, rather than waiting for the “marathon” of search engine optimization to take hold. The challenge is managing the race well. As the following articles illustrate, SEM requires a significant investment of staff time (yours or ours). We have had clients who have set up campaigns on their own and have waisted tens of thousands of dollars before coming to us for help.

The Science of Managing Search Ads (NY Times Dec 2009)

Real Life Lessons in Using Google AdWords (NY Times Oct 2009)

Let us guide your SEM efforts. We’ll help you manage the expense in a targeted, effective way.