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Why are you paying for sponsored links?

By Brett Egan
Posted Monday, November 29, 2004

We answer an email query! Have you ever wondered why..... We recently received a short to the point email from a successful internet marketer. It was only 3 lines long and came as a result of a FREE service our business provides. This service had only been promoted on GOOGLE adwords pay per click program and has been a boon for business.

"You can check it out if you like."

Here is the content of the email we received.

Hi,

I have a serious question for you. If you are great at search engine optimisation why are you paying for sponsored links? I'm not having a go and this really is a serious question.

Thanks

This got us to thinking that as internet businesses there are many perceptions as to what SEO and site promotion entails. Every internet business should be asking themselves some hard hitting questions. Why do we do what we do? Why do we go about it the way we do? Why do we provide the free information we do? (Without obligation mind you) And how important it is to continue using multiple mediums to promote your online business?

Rather than sending a short impersonal reply we decided to state our case. We have altered the persons name to protect their identity and any identifying content has been removed from our reply.

Dear Mary,

We do agree that it may seem strange that we undertake a strategic sponsored links program.

Vortex Media are involved in many aspects of helping create successful websites. Search Engine Optimisation is only one area we cover to help achieve this.

Any good campaign is going to involve a mixture of SEO, Advertising, Marketing, ezines and any other form of promotion that will help create good leads for our websites. We assume you arrived at our Vortex Media site via one of these methods, most likely 'Google Adwords'.

As a marketing campaign the use of 'Google Adwords' allows us to identify exactly where a percentage of our hits are coming from and the search terms they used. We are then able to follow their movements throughout our site and determine which information or services are of most interest. In the future we will be able to utilise these statistics and provide the most relevant information and market directly to predetermined areas of our website. Areas we know our target market are viewing.

Our use of 'Google Adwords' has nothing to do with SEO but rather more on marketing.

Your (url deleted) website mentions in depth the need for marketing and we find it hard to believe that your promotional campaign's are based solely on the use of SEO.

The use of promotional mediums in conjunction with SEO is an area that is often overlooked and due to your email we will, in the near future, be providing information on our website that will deal specifically in pursuing the use of other promotional tools. The link to our website via 'Google Adwords' advises that we use this service as a marketing source. "Click here to view the page we are referring to."

The Vortex Media website is not solely used as a revenue earner via affiliate programs. It provides free relevant information and code snippets to the general public. Vitally important is information on how to go about creating a cost effective e-commerce website. We have only recently started to provide this information via our site and will continue to improve it with the inclusion of newsletters, articles, hints and tips etc.

By viewing your website it is obvious you are well aware of the benefits gained via the use of articles, cross linking and newsletters. These are all great tools that can be used to help drive good quality hits to your site. Once more this has nothing to do with SEO (maybe Cross Linking) but should play a major part in most website marketing campaigns (not suitable for all).

We have never made a claim to SEO fame and the odd reference we do make on our site to SEO success can be backed up. If searching under an Inktomi Search Engine the term "used cars" not "used cars brisbane" or "used cars australia" but simply "used cars" as a world search. Within the returns you will see one of our happy customers The Oldmac Group. They are franchised automotive dealers for Toyota and Mazda and they appear in an average position over nine months of 15 - 22 (dependant on which page is returned). Take a guess at how many companies are battling for this phrase? It is in the very high thousands and realistically should not be a term that you base your SEO campaign on, and we don't, it is simply an example we use. As this phrase is regionalised the positioning improves dramatically. On other search engines the "(www.oldmac.com.au)" and "(www.oldmacmazda.com.au)" sites may not rank as well however, on most Australian engines they will be in top 15 positions. We had a definite reason for optimising these sites for Inktomi rather than some of the other big players. Inktomi helps to feed many of the Australian based engines with alternative results. The high rankings seen in the past for these sites on Inktomi was a bonus with our main emphasis on using Inktomi to help target Australian engines.

Our research, experience and statistics in the past have determined for us that the use of Inktomi in conjunction with other Australian based engines has the best productive results for our clients. Ranking highly on only one search engine (ie Google one of the biggest players of them all) does not always mean the most hits. The internet marketer who limits themselves to free search engines can be costing lost sales and that intelligent paid listings (not paid placement) with search engines such as Looksmart, Inktomi etc can have huge benefits.

Don't get us wrong!! Google is a must have if you can achieve it. BUT, donft pursue this path at the expense of all others.

We would much prefer that all search engine listings were still free of charge.

Unfortunately things have changed and paid inclusion is now fast becoming a must have and out of reach for the average website owner. This is one reason why we are giving away the aspects of SEO we have learned in the past. If you are going to spend your hard earned $ on paid inclusions then hopefully some of our site users will get a degree of benefit from the information we provide free, and will not be simply throwing their money away!

Thinking outside the square of high rankings and having a broad knowledge of what Internet Marketing is all about is what makes us attractive to our clients. You will never see a flashing neon sign claiming "SEO GURU HERE!" Gurus claim to know it all and some may do but when it comes to SEO and promotion times are constantly changing. We provide sound advice, tips and pointers on what we know works.

Regards Vortex Media Team

We included our "free web rank report" of their site with our compliments and received a prompt reply including a free gift within hours.

Hi,

Thanks very much for your interesting letter. I really appreciate you taking the time to reply to me. Your letter was a pleasant surprise! I have attached a copy of my ezine manual for you. I hope you enjoy

Warm Regards

Whilst our reply had an Australian slant our services and the advice available on our website work worldwide. In a nutshell think outside the square, visit other sites for ideas and knowledge and if you arenft sure ask a question. You might just be surprised with the answer.

Copyright Vortex Media 2003

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