SEM SEO Expert by Nima Asrar Haghighi: October 2008 - Toronto SEO, SEM, SMO, Web Analytics Consultant .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

SEM SEO Expert by Nima Asrar Haghighi

SEM SEO Expert” is a blog written by Nima Asrar Haghighi. Nima is an Internet Marketing Specialist with expertise in SEM (PPC Advertising), Organic SEO, RSS, Social Media and Web Analytics (Google Analytics IQ Certified). Nima holds an MBA in marketing, B.Eng. in Electrical Engineering, Project Management Certification, and CIW (Certified Internet Webmaster) in E-commerce. Contact: nima @ sem seo expert.com.

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Welcome to Nima Asrar Haghighi's blog covering Internet marketing topics such as search engine optimization, search engine marketing, Web Analytics, RSS and online marketing industry as a whole.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

SEO vs. PPC Promotion Strategies

Marketing SEO vs. PPC Promotion StrategiesSEO or SEM? This is a question you might have asked yourself. You have the budget to allocate either to SEO market your products and services or take advantage of PPC advertising to promote your website.

When deciding on your marketing strategies, there are many factors that you need to take into consideration.On the first look, SEO seems to be the perfect answer as it could attract as much as 70% of the searchers whereas your PPC promotion could draw only 30% of the search volume. Search Engine Optimization has other benefits as well.

SEO Benefits
• Once you have a high rankings on search engines, you can start getting traffic without directly paying for that traffic.
• Generate Possibly higher CTR.
• Gain more credibility among searchers.• Once you rank high organically, more people find your site and link back to you.

However, there are some challenges with SEO. First off, there is no guarantee that your site get first ranking even if you implement all your SEO strategies. Secondly it usually takes a while to be able to gain high rankings on search engines results pages (specially on Google, Yahoo and MSN). Thirdly search engines algorithms could change and impact all your SEO efforts. Fourthly, you have less control over messaging and the selection of landing pages. Fifthly, A/B or multi variant testing would be way more complicated.

PPC Benefits
By incorporating Pay per click advertising into your website promotion strategy, you will be able to put your message in front of your audience at the exact time they are looking for. Some of the benefits of pay per click advertising are:

• Quick time to market.• Flexibility in changing messages.
• Quick measurement of response.
• Easy A/B or multi variant testing of ad copies and landing pages.
• Ability to target audience in specific locations by geo-targeting.
• Set and control daily budget.

The challenges with SEM (PPC) advertising is that you need to keep paying for the traffic. As mentioned before it also only attract about 30% of the traffic.

So, let’s ask the question again. Should you allocate your marketing budget to organic SEO or sponsored PPC ads? The answer is both. Depending on what your objectives are or how urgent your marketing needs are you might decide on how to allocate your budget.

No matter which strategy you are using it is important that you track their performance by designing KPIs to measure the success of your SEO and PPC initiatives utilizing your Web Analytics application.

In most cases, when SEO and PPC are used together as part of an integrated marketing strategy they could create a great synergy that could create your company with competitive advantage.

SEO Benefits from PPC
As I mentioned in my post on SEO and Personalization, SEO can indirectly benefit from PPC advertising. By getting more visibility through PPC advertising, you increase the chances of getting backlinks from your audience which in turns helps improve your PageRank and SEO ranking in the long run.

In addition, by analyzing your PPC campaign you will get a better understanding of what keywords contribute to your ROI best. Then you can use those keywords to optimize your website for.

PPC advertising also create more awareness and branding for your site which in turn could help you lift your response rate.

Having multiple listings on the first page of search engines you can further reinforce your message and build credibility for your business.

PPC Benefits from SEO
When your website ranks high on search engines such as Google, Yahoo and MSN, your ads could start getting higher CTR as people find your site more credible.

Additionally a well optimized page could help improve your Quality Score for your PPC ads. This is getting more and more important as SEO and PPC are getting more and more interconnected.

Before spending time and budget to invest in your SEO strategies, you can run test PPC campaign to identify the pest performing phrases.

Both PPC advertising and SEO are excellent strategies for marketing your website. However, to be successful in a competitive industry you need to utilize the synergy between PPC and SEO. The key is to know when to emphasize on one and when to rely on the other or when to employ both. SEO is most effective when you are trying to reach long term objectives whereas PPC is most effective when you need immediate traffic.

Nima Asrar Haghighi, SEM SEO Expert

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Google AdWords & AdSense Pay Per Click Fraud Detection

Just heard the latest news on Google PPC Click Fraud Detection and Prevention. Click Forensics announced that Google will be accepting click-quality e-reports generated by the Click Forensics’ Fully Automated Click Tracking Recognition (FACTr). This means that Google AdWords advertisers can now submit click fraud reports to Google in an automated fashion through FACTr click fraud auditing service.

Click Fraud Definition
Click fraud is a type of Internet fraud that occurs in pay per click search advertising (e.g., Google AdWords, Yahoo Search Marketing – previously Overture) when an individual, a group of people or an automated script (click bot) imitates a legitimate user by clicking on an ad, for the purpose of generating a charge per click without having any interest in the offer advertised in the clicked ad.

Types of Click Fraud

a publisher may try to profit from AdSense ads being clicked.

Competitors of advertisers: A competitor may wish to harm another competitor who advertises in the same market by clicking on their ads on Google, Yahoo or their content networks. The objective here is to increase the cost to competitor as advertiser has to pay for irrelevant clicks. This could potentially cause the competitors ads go dark if their budget is limited.

Competitors of publishers: A publisher’s competitor may want to terminate the relationship between the publisher and the pay per click programs by making it look like the publisher is clicking on its own ads to generate revenue. The objective is to dry the AdSense source of revenue for competing publishers.

Click Fraud Detection & Tracking
Pay per Click advertising networks such as Google AdWords or Yahoo try to put fraud prevention technologies into place to prevent click fraud by all parties; however, it is difficult to detect which clicks are legitimate and which ones are fraudulent.

Click fraud – or invalid clicks as Google likes to call it – is not and should not be liked by any parties. Advertisers do not want to spend their valuable marketing dollars for invalid or fraudulent clicks. Publishers resent having to pay refunds for clicks that are not initiated by them. Google and other search engines, even though could have short term monetary gains, are also trying to stop click fraud as it could diminish their revenue in the long term if advertisers lose faith in the pay per click system.

That is why search engines are trying to build click fraud detection and prevention software and reporting systems that help track possible invalid clicks and reimburse advertisers for the invalid clicks.

The pay-per-click industry has been lobbying for tighter laws on the click fraud issue. Some companies have developed software for click fraud tracking and detection and are developing relationships with advertising networks. Such solutions fall into two categories:

Analysis of advertisers' web logs – The first approach is the process of analysis of the advertiser's web logs to get an in-depth insight of the source and behaviour of the traffic in order to detect the potential click fraud. The limitation of this approach is that it relies solely on the honesty of the middlemen in detecting click fraud.

Third-party click fraud management services - Third parties such as Click Forensics offer web-based solutions (utilizing single-pixel images, JavaScript or cookies). The objective is to highlight suspicious clicks. However, the problem with third-party solutions is that such solutions see only part of the traffic of the entire network. Hence, they can be less likely to identify click fraud patterns that span several advertisers by click bots. In addition, search engines claim that the third party click fraud management services can be overly aggressive when judging traffic to be fraud.

Click Fraud Rates
Depending on who reports on it, click fraud rate can vary. Google claims that on average less than 2% of all clicks through Google’s systems are click frauds whereas some of click fraud management companies report click fraud rates as high as 20%.

Definition of Click Fraud Rate by Google

Google believes that the majority of invalid clicks are already detected through their automatic and manual click fraud detection technology and team.

Click Fraud Detection and Prevention by Google

The Future of Click Fraud
The good news is search engines are becoming more transparent and now seems to be ready to cooperate with third party click fraud auditing service providers such as Click Forensics. They are also working with other companies to establish industry standards for click fraud protection: Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Click Measurement Working Group.

Nima Asrar Haghighi, SEM Expert

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