Search Engine Guide: Uncommon Sense for Search Engine Marketing Success

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Ever see this in your inbox? Many smart people have been duped and mislead by offers, guarantees and other too-good-to-be-true promises that make no sense. In the search engine marketing frenzy, common sense can easily be lost.


How do you avoid being taken? How do you determine the best search engine marketing practices for your business? Some companies got their common sense early and for years have reaped the rewards that SEM can deliver.


But, as Voltaire said, "Common sense is not so common."


It's not your fault. Though search marketing may appear to have just arrived, it has been evolving for 10 years. There are those with as many years of experience, but relatively speaking it is a new marketing practice that can be confusing and challenging, even for the smartest marketers.


Here is a quick dose of common sense to assist you for a positive, successful search engine marketing initiative:


Beware of guarantees. There is a certain level of predictability to some search engine marketing practices just as there is in other marketing disciplines. A "guarantee" of results however, may indicate that they are either using unaccepted practices that may put your business at risk or deliver worthless results. Some well-known companies have gotten kicked off search engines for what are considered "bad" practices.


If you don't know, ask. Search engine marketing is not magic or a big secret as some might like you to think. It is a marketing discipline, and a search professional should be able to answer questions relating to methodology and process and how their approach will apply to your business without divulging proprietary information.


Avoid temptation if it is not aligned with your business goals. Going directly to Google, paying on a shared-revenue basis and other options may be tempting, but be sure they are aligned with your business resources and goals. For example, these options may be suitable for a highest ROI goal with a restricted budget or for a small business with limited resources. A fee-based agency relationship may drive overall best results for a maximum profitability or business growth goal.


A list of keywords and meta tags is not enough. It's easy to crank out a long list of keywords and slap them up. Recognize the difference in what you are getting and where it will get you. Search engine marketing demands a sound strategic plan. A strategy isn't a list of keywords or meta tags. It's a customized plan for driving value based on your business and objectives.


Expert knowledge in search engine marketing is not all that common. Yet you don't have to be an expert to have common sense about search. Look to the trades and professional search engine marketing newsletters, attend conferences and share experiences with your peers for valuable insight to help develop your sense. Uncommon sense will mean uncommon results.


For more articles from The Direct Marketer's Essential Guide to Search Engine Marketing, visit www.dmnews.com/search .


A PDF of the guide is available at: http://www.dmnews.com/pdffiles/semguide.pdf


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