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Search engine promotion – Low Cost Customer Acquisition.

By Tony Cooper
Posted Thursday, September 16, 2004

The cost of acquiring new customers continually rises. In marketing terms we generally refer to the cost of acquiring a new customer as CPA, or cost per acquisition. Search engine promotion is designed to drive down your cost per customer acquisition

Print advertising, radio and TV advertising, billboard posting and leaflet or brochure production all have a high cost associated with them, however search engine promotion can still be one of the best low cost ways of continually acquiring new customers on a regular basis.

There is no doubt that the competition for top places on the search engines is intensifying every day, however by using some smart techniques you can capitalise on your competitions reliance on pay per click (a method of search engine promotion in which you pay for adverts on the top search engines) and beat them to the cost of customer acquisition.

A good search engine promotion campaign will give you constant traffic to your web site on a daily basis and what’s more, this is traffic that is there for the long run. In my experience many top listings that we have achieved for customers several years ago are still at or near the top of the listings today.

Search engine algorithms may change, but not so wildly that the work you do today is redundant in six months time. Spending some time and effort on your internet marketing campaign will repay itself in the long run and give you a valuable source of new business.

So how do you go about a search engine promotion campaign?

Firstly, you need to take a look at your current web site and see how much content you have available to work with. Search engines will rank pages on the basis of how much information is in the page. For information on how to find keywords and optimise your pages see finding and researching keywords which discusses the process of finding keywords and optimising your pages.

The more content that you have available to work with, the greater chances of a successful search engine campaign. It’s really no good trying to optimise a highly graphical site for search engines, especially if you are in a highly competitive market place. You need content that a search engine can read to be successful.

Secondly, the navigational layout needs to be such that a search engine can easily find its way around your site and assimilate all of your site pages. If you place obstacles in its way (for instance DHTML menus etc) then you are harming your chances of well ranked pages.

Lastly, you need to construct your site in a way that promotes a readable style combined with a logical progression. Link all of your pages back to the home page and link to relevant articles within the site wherever practicable. This way your site visitors can easily navigate around.

Site optimisation

There are several places on your web site where you need to make sure that your keyword phrases are present. Ensuring that your keywords and keyword phrases are placed in these positions will optimise your page for search engine indexing.

Firstly and most importantly you need to write a good page TITLE. This is the text that you see in the browser window at the top of the page and has the single most influence over your page ranking.

Secondly fill in the hidden "meta tag" fields for the page "description" which tells a search engine what the page is about and for the "keywords" which are the keywords you would like to be found on.

Thirdly make sure your page makes use of the <heading1/> tag and that you place your keyword in here.

Lastly sprinkle your keyword through your paragraph text and you will have covered all of the major bases for search engine optimisation.

Site Submission

Optimising your pages for search engines is one part of search engine promotion. Submitting your pages is the next step.

Visit each search engine in turn following the submission steps listed on each "add URL" page. Once you have submitted your site you need to take a large dose of patience as it can easily take up to three months and more to get listed in some search engines. Occasionally it can be a lot quicker and I've known sites get listed within a few weeks, but generally two to three weeks is normal.

The following search engines are a good starting place:

You should also submit to the Dmoz directory (free) and Yahoo (if your budget permits it.)


Dig out all of the promotional material that you have commissioned over the past few years and press it into service. If the text is stilted or too “corporate” then it’s worthwhile paying a good copywriter to spice it up and make it readable for your target audience.

Remember that the typical surfer has a very short attention span and tends to skim read, so break your copy up into smaller “bite size” chunks.

Regularly add new content to your site on a consistent basis. Apart from keeping your existing target audience returning on a regular basis it also gives you the opportunity to review new products and add up to date material. All of this can be used in your search engine promotion campaign.

It’s not difficult to get high listings on search engines as long as you have good content and readable copy. Publishing your unused and offline content is the key to providing search engine friendly pages and driving down your cost of customer acquisition.

This article may be reprinted free in it's entirety providing you include this resource box.

About the Author
Tony Cooper is the Internet Marketing manager at ( Building web sites that achieve tangible and accountable results.

Web site statistics and analytical tracking (

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