Monday, June 25, 2007

8 Steps for maximum ROI through SEM, SEO and Web Analytics

SEO, SEM and Web Analytics are interconnected. A business can be very successful if we utilize the 3 skills effectively. Let us consider an example where a business is interested in increasing its ROI based on the SEM expenses. It is a travel website and has bought travel related keywords on Google Adwords. It is paying $2 per click for the keyword ‘air tickets’. So if someone searches for ‘air tickets’, this website will be on the first page of the sponsored listings.
Let us assume that this website got 100 clicks from the SEM campaign with an Acquisition rate of 50% meaning 200 people viewed the ad for this website and 100 users out of the 200 clicked. Now out of this 100, 3 people actually bought tickets worth $200 each. So the SEM expenses are $200 and the ROI in this case would be 600-200/600 = 66% with a Conversion rate of 3%. Note the difference between Conversion and Acquisition. In another case the business is again paying $2 per click on the same keyword with only 1% Conversion and 100 impressions/clicks. This time the ROI is 200-200/100 = 0%. So obviously the first case is better and it is imperative for the business to take immediate measures ensuring that the conversion rate is more and the expenses on SEM are less.
How do we do that? Simple, it is a mix of combining the 3 techniques (SEM, SEO and Web Analytics) effectively. Once you start your SEM campaign and buy keywords, follow the below steps:
1) Focus your attention on all the keywords you bought and specifically on the most expensive keywords like ‘air travel’. Keep track of this data to decide which keywords are getting the most impressions.
2) Prepare relevant and catchy ads in your campaign management tool that will entice users to your website thereby increasing traffic.
3) Always differentiate between Organic and SEM keyword traffic to effectively analyze your traffic. Organic Referring URL for ‘air tickets’ would be For tracking traffic from SEM keywords, you need to manually tag the destination URL with a query string parameter like This will help you differentiate the traffic from Search Engines.
4) Optimize all the keywords you bought and focus most on the expensive keywords. Create new links containing these keywords and make sure that you populate the Meta tags properly. Your Meta tags should always be in relevance to the content of your page.
5) Also use the Overture Tool for the lookout on related keywords to optimize your pages and add content.
6) Use tools like Google Analytics to look at the content performance report and Overall Keyword conversion report to analyze which pages and keywords are getting the most traffic from Organic Google search.
7) Also add Goals in Google Analytics to ensure that the conversion is according to your objectives. Once you know which pages are causing the majority of bounces, then it is up to you to optimize your pages and reduce exit links, introduce A/B testing etc.
8) Finally if you start seeing more Organic traffic on your website than SEM keyword traffic, make sure you lower your bid on the keywords and gradually finish your campaign once your website is properly indexed by Search Engines.

These were some of the steps that might help you lower your expenses on SEM. There is so much more information on the Internet that will help you diminish your cost on your online campaigns. I’ll keep you posted on new techniques and practices to help you lower your cost on online advertising.

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