Search Engine Marketing

You must have heard a lot about search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO).
You must have also tried ways to find the difference between them. So let me today focus light on Search Engine Marketing (SEM).

Search engine marketing (SEM) is also referred as internet marketing. Actually there can be a number of definitions for search engine marketing, let me give you a simpler one. Strategies and Techniques that are applied on the internet to sell and advertise company’s products and services is called search engine marketing.
There is lot of difference between search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO)., but the main reason that differentiates both of them is the landing page. In SEM you decide which page visitors see, whereas in SEO a search engine decides which page the visitors see. There are lots of ways to promote your product online to meet your company’s goal. Following are some of ways practiced in SEM:-

Search Engine Optimization: – SEO is about understanding the elements a search engine is looking for and to include those elements in your site. So that the search engine includes your sites in top ranked pages when a user searches a term. You have to make your site search engine friendly and at the same time user friendly.

Title and Meta tags: – Make sure your keywords specific to your site should appear in your title and Meta tags. Some of the tools available on internet can be of great help like Google keyword selector and overture keyword selector tool,
ALT tags: =- Images make your site visually attractive and carry great importance in search engine ranking. You must include the keywords in ALT tags as they are crawled by spiders.
What to avoid: – Avoid JavaScript, frames, and flash content in your site. As they are not crawled by search engines. For quick SEO tips please read this article 5 SEO techniques .
Professional SEO help: – If you have the budget, hiring professionals to optimize your site can really make a difference. These professionals charge for the quality they bring to work. You can search for these professionals on Search Engine Guides.

Search Engine Submission: -

After you have done all the hard work on search engine optimization. Now its time to get your site listed in top web directories and search engines.

Search Results: – Submitting to web directories helps search engines to list your site in their databases and search results.
False commitments: – Never be fooled by services that claim that they would deposit your site to 500,000 search engines. That is a complete waste of money.
Services that matter: – If you are hiring professional SEO’s they can be of great help. They develop strategies that will suit your site.

Link Popularity: – Link popularity is the number of incoming links to your site from other sites, directories, and articles. More the number of incoming links to your site the better results you will achieve.

Links to your site: – Deposit your site to web directories. If they accept your site, your site will get a free link.
Exchanging Links: – By exchanging links with potential sites that can be a complimentary to your audience is a good process to increase your sites link popularity.
Good content: – Good content is always the king. Good content can drive visitors to your site.

Paid Inclusion: -

Paid inclusion is another way to include your site in search engines and search directories. In this process you don’t have to wait for the search engine to index your site,

Pay per Click: -

Pay per click is a way to include your site in search results on the keywords you wish your site should appear. You decide how much you are going to pay each time a visitor clicks your sites URL. The higher you decide to pay for each click, the higher the search ranking your site would achieve.

PPC search engines:- There are lots of PPC search engines. The larger the search engine, the more you have pay for your keywords to get to the top of a search result.
Big Players: – Some of the big companies in PPC industry are Yahoo and Google.
Important Points: – Start your investment with low amount and keep an eye on the number of traffic you are getting from PPC and how many of those visitors are converted into payable customers.
Consult: – Better consult a person who has mastered PPC as they can guide you better. The other alternative is to hire some professional SEO.

Traffic Analysis and Log Files:-

Log files enables you to know how many visitors are visiting your site and how many potential traffic you are generating.

Traffic analysis is a way to know on which keywords visitors are visiting your site
How your site is performing.
Which pages of your site is most popular.
The exact or the geographic location of your site.
Which search engines are visiting your site.
Which pages of your site is crawled.
Errors that may have occurred while crawling your site.

Search Engine Marketing Made Easy

Search engine marketing isn’t rocket science, although many seem
to think that getting adequate ranking in the search engines is a
complex and impossible task. Without a doubt, search engine
marketing is one of the most complex types of marketing because
the search engines’ rules and preferences evolve constantly. But,
considering that the majority of website visitors find the
websites they visit through the search engines, search engine
marketing is absolutely the best medium for internet marketing.

Search engine marketing and search engine optimization experts
may talk to you about complex things like algorithms, which are
really nothing more than mathematical formulas that reflect the
website ranking rules of particular search engines. Unless you
are a mathematician and you can get your hands on a search
engine’s current formula, you will never in a million years
understand algorithms, so don’t waste your time trying to. You
can be successful in your search engine marketing efforts without
knowing a thing about mathematical formulas.

Sometimes, the best way to get good ranking in the search engines
is through trial and error. You try different things, see what
works, and run with it. Sometimes, it may be best to hire a
search engine optimization specialist or consultant. Generally,
search engine optimization services are pricey, and because
search engine marketing requires ongoing efforts, they can get
really expensive. However, if you can afford it, hiring a search
engine consultant to get you on the right track is a great idea.

From my interviews with women who own their own internet
businesses, a comment made by one lady stands out in my mind. She
said, “I knew that getting listed in the search engines was
critical to the success of my business. I tried to achieve
ranking on my own, but I got so confused by all the information
about search engine optimization that all I really knew was that
I definitely did not know what I was doing. I couldn’t really
afford to hire a consultant, but I had to redefine some
priorities to get it done. Without the search engine marketing
consultant showing me the way, my business would have never
gotten off the ground.”

Whether you choose to pursue search engine marketing on your own,
or with a consultant by your side, there are a few things you
need to know about search engine marketing:

There is no magic search engine marketing formula for
achieving top ranking in the search engines.

There are a number of different search engines. The most popular
ones are Google, Yahoo and MSN. Each of the search engines has
their own rules for indexing sites, set their own algorithms, and
change them frequently. Be wary of search engine marketing
information that claims to be “the secret” or “the magic formula”
for achieving top ranking in the search engines.

Relatively, also be wary of search engine optimization companies
that guaranty top ranking. If you are offered such a guaranty,
get it in writing and check the company’s references and do some
independent research in regard to their reputation. Doing an
internet search for the company name will likely give you some
good information about their reputation because whether they are
good or bad, they are likely to be the topic of discussion in
internet marketing forums.

You have to submit your website to the search engines.

Search engine marketing requires that you submit your website to
the search engines. The search engines use something called
spiders to index websites and the spiders may incidentally pick
up your website at some point, but to ensure your site is
considered for indexing, you need to submit it to the search
engines. To do that, you need to find and read the guidelines for
submission for each search engine.

Using an automated search engine submission tool isn’t a very
good search engine marketing tactic because they generally submit
the exact same information to every search engine without
considering the individual search engines’ requirements. When you
submit your website to the search engines, you cannot expect
immediate indexing. Sometimes it takes up to six weeks to get
listed.

There are three search engine marketing factors that are
consistently important to achieving desirable search engine
rankings.

Though the search engine marketing rules and relative strategies
tend to change frequently, three factors remain important to
achieving a good rank. They are content, keywords, and links.
Content is important because the search engines cater to those
searching for information, not those providing it. When the
content of your website is relative to the terms a browser is
searching for, your website will be more desirable for indexing.

Keywords and keyword phrases are the terms that people use when
searching for something in the search engines and they are
central to your search engine marketing efforts. For your search
engine marketing efforts to be fruitful and to generate targeted
traffic, you need to do keyword research and find out what terms
your target audience is using. Rather than using the most
popular, competitive keywords, it is best if you can choose niche
phrases that provide targeted traffic but aren’t highly
competitive.

Link popularity, based on the number of links connecting to your
website, and link relevancy, the relevance of those links to your
website, usually tend to play a role in search engine rankings.
Thus, part of your search engine marketing campaign should be to
establish relevant links to your website.

Insurance Search Engine Marketing For Insurance Agent Leads

For many insurance companies and insurance agencies, insurance search engine marketing is a brave new world, filled with a litany of confusing terms and acronyms. Like any emerging field, what might seem confusing at first, is readily understandable after a quick review of jargon and basics. Let’s take a look at insurance search engine marketing and define terms and acronyms along the way.

For the time being, let’s think of insurance search engine marketing (insurance SEM) as it relates to the insurance business, as if we were talking about the printed Yellow Pages phone book of the not distant past. Fifteen years ago, if someone was looking for a business, product or service, they could take a Yellow Pages off the shelf and open the phone book to search for the given product, service or company, flipping pages until they arrived at the relevant phone book pages. For the purposes of this example, let’s say that someone wanted property and casualty insurance, and were looking for insurance agents that they could contact. The person who was searching for the insurance, upon finding the two yellow pages which listed insurance agencies, might scan the insurance agency names beginning with the letter “A”. This is roughly analogous to a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) from Google, Bing or Yahoo. A key difference here is that these search engines display their results by relevancy as opposed to alphabetically. The placement of the names on the SERP relates to organic SEO, or in this case, insurance search engine optimization.

Of course there would also be many advertisements interspersed within the two phone book pages of agencies, both small and large. These ads are roughly analogous to PPC ads (Pay Per Click ads) found today on the search results pages. One notable difference is that in the case of the old Yellow Pages phone book, your insurance agency would pay a flat fee for the ad, whereas with a PPC, your agency only pays when a user clicks on your advertisement. Just for purposes of clarity, there is also something called PPI (Pay Per Impression), where your business would pay for impressions, though for our insurance agency web website optimization discussion, we’re going to stick with our PPC ad analogy. The difference between organic insurance search engine marketing and insurance PPC ads is as simple as having your agency name listed in the Yellow Pages at no charge, versus a display ad in the Yellow Pages at a cost of perhaps $1,000 per month. Thus the appeal of organic web marketing, if your insurance agency can rise to the top of the organic SERP, you are very likely to direct web surfers (read that as insurance agency leads) to your website and reap the benefits without any PPC costs. Think of this in the same way as the old phone book listings with company’s starting their name with “AAAA Auto Parts” or “AAAAA Insurance Agency” to ensure their names would appear first. A SERP offers a better alternative than the printed Yellow Pages name game, in that the agency name is secondary to other, more relevant criteria. This criterion is determined by search engine algorithms which can have over 100 attributes they use to determine relevancy, and subsequently determine if your insurance agency website should be on page one or page ten (SERP Ranking).

A simple explanation of some key terms often associated with insurance search engine marketing (insurance SEM) include:

Back links – Links to your agency site from other internet sites and directories.
HTML – Code used to create many websites.
Keyword Density – The number of times, in terms of percent, that a keyword phrase is used on any given page of an insurance agency website. Divide the number of uses of that keyword, by the total number of words on the page. Experts disagree on the ideal percentage for optimization with all engines, but targeting a number around 5% as of this writing should be effective. An important note, some article directories only allow keyword density of up to 4%.
Keywords – Words typed into a search engine to return a list (SERP) of relevant sites and documents.
Long-tail Keywords – Longer keyword phrases, which yield more specific search results germane to your insurance agency. These long-tail phrases are three or more words bundled together. For example, “insurance agency marketing” is a long-tail keyword where as “insurance” is not.
Off Page Optimization – Content creation, directory submission and back link building used to improve search engine rankings (SERP placement).
On Page Optimization – Modifications made to insurance agency website content and HTML code to improve search engine rankings (SERP placement).
Organic SEO – Page ranking results returned by a search engine based purely on relevancy as opposed to a paid ad placement.
Page Rank – A gauge of the popularity of your site, typically determined by the volume of visitors and links to your site. This was once a preeminent performance measure, but for niche industries like insurance agencies and agents, other criteria is now more important than page rank and back links.
PPC – Pay Per Click where your business posts an ad on a search engine and pays each time a web surfer clicks on your advertisement. These ads are displayed above and on the side of many search terms. Another variation on this is PPI, which is Pay Per Impression, where you would pay a bulk rate for every thousand times your ad is displayed, regardless of the number of times your ad was clicked.
PPI – Pay Per Impression where your agency pays a flat fee per thousand of times your ad is displayed on the Google, Bing or Yahoo results pages.
Search Engine Marketing – The process which is used for insurance companies and insurance agencies to rise to the top of the organic SERP listings, or to place ads that will be posted on page results for selected long-tail keywords.
SEM – Acronym for insurance search engine marketing
SEM – Search Engine Marketing.
SEO – Search Engine Optimization
SER – Sometimes you may see the acronym SER used, which can refer to Search Engine Results, Rankings or even Relevancy.
SERP – Search Engine Results Page
Web Marketing – Insurance agency search engine marketing is a subset of an overall insurance agency web marketing plan.

The goal of insurance search engine marketing is driving qualified insurance agent leads to your agency website. Once these web prospects have arrived at your insurance agency website, you need an effective call to action, which in itself, is the topic for another insurance agency marketing article. Obviously, more qualified agency leads, combined with a compelling insurance agency website and call to action, should yield increased premiums and help grow your agency’s book of business.