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September 01, 2006

SEO for SEM

By Greg Meyers

Well, its been over a month and frankly it was only a matter of time for Google to transform and recycle its SEO organic algorithm and apply it to the methods placed within their “Google Quality Score”. This latest tactic of analyzing landing pages which are tied to a specific campaign and/or adgroup, is just another way to mold as well as financially reward its (SEM) paid search marketers using their Google Adwords program.

To achieve the highest quality score, the marketer needs to create campaigns/adgroups with a strong focus on Relevancy Basically every step in the setup process needs to be relevant and targeted to a specific message, brand, category or service. This process begins with the initial grouping of highly targeted keywords, followed by multiple Ads/Creatives written with the same targeted message with keywords embedded in the ads and completing the process, a landing page which not only applies the same targeted message, but also uses the same basic SEO techniques which are used at the organic level to communicate that message. These characteristics use the same fundamentals of SEO such as a relevant header tags, relevant content on the page and well-defined and relevant anchor text.

Of course, this latest trend will not only motivate Search engine marketers at all levels to run back to their computers and re-evaluate all of their campaigns looking at their landing pages as well as their Ads/Creatives and keyword groups, but it will undoubtedly affect marketing budgets where improvements can be made at every aspect of the campaigns from average position down to Cost per click and Click-Thru Rate. 

I actually credit Google for pressing on with this and applaud them for continuously re-defining its best practices on relevancy. There’s no real hidden message in all of this. As SEM professionals continuously “tweak” campaigns for the best performance, Google is telling us that if we follow their guidelines of relevancy, you will not only improve average position and cost per click for that position within the adwords program, you will most likely improve CTR% and possibly conversion.

Now that I have given Google a well deserved "pat on the back" the question of landing page conversion becomes more of a "good" problem to have. Well, sort of. We have to ask the question: Do we sacrafice good converting, graphically intensive landing pages with SEO friendly, Wikipedia style pages for higher positions and less CPC? We can dig into that issue in my next post.

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