Search Engine Marketing Explained

This article has been prepared by Tug. Tug, is a Search Engine Marketing specialist agency, based in Shoreditch, London.

Search Engines have evolved into a new consumer, communications and marketing channel. Google, Yahoo and MSN serve 213 million searches a day.

In fact, 9 out of 10 internet surfers use a Search Engine to start their internet journey. Therefore, if your website doesn’t have visibility in the engines, you are missing significant volumes of traffic.

Natural vs. Paid for Listings

There are essentially two listings within a Search Engine Results Page (SERP): the Natural listings (on the left) and the Paid for listing (on top and on the right).

Natural listings are the results the engine believes to be the most relevant sites to your search. The natural listings consistently receive over 70% of consumer clicks. Paid for listings are the ads served by Advertisers, who have bid on the term searched for by the consumer.

The Natural listings therefore list all available websites in the World Wide Web, while the Paid for listings only serve links by relevant Advertisers willing to pay for their spot, and thus high visibility in the engines.

To increase Reach, advertisers can pay for ads on the Search Engines themselves, as well as their local listings, mobile listings and their Content Network of websites.

Pay per Click (PPC). Pay only for Visitors

Unlike other marketing channels where you pay for the number of people who see your ad, in pay per click advertising (PPC) you only pay when someone clicks on your ads and is driven through to your site.

• 75% of users search for goods and services through a Search Engine.

• PPC has the lowest cost per lead compared to other Direct Marketing methods.

• Pay per click advertising is relevant to what the individual is searching for – targeting them at the right moment and mood.

• Pay per click is 100% accountable.

• Advertisers can know the cost of each conversion in real-time, and campaigns can be instantly optimised for maximum ROI.

To get visibility in the paid for listings you can set up a PPC campaign for your website yourself, or by commissioning a specialist Search Engine Marketing agency like Tug.

To get visibility in the Natural listings you need to optimise your website – this is called Search Engine Optimisation. Again this is where you need to commission a specialist agency like Tug.

What is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?

Search engine Optimisation, or SEO as it’s commonly known as, is an online marketing strategy that involves designing, writing and coding your entire website with the intention of enabling search engines to index your site easily and efficiently. The sole aim and objective is for it to rank higher for keywords relevant to your business. Optimising a website is critical to gaining visibility on the organic or natural (left hand side) search results (SERP’s) of search engines.

SEO, is done in two stages, known primarily as on page and off page. On page involves the website itself and fundamentally evolves around the design, build and copy laid out within the actual site. Off page relates to ongoing SEO development and includes link building campaigns, news and article submissions, paid directory submissions and joining discussion forums that relate to your chosen industry. The latter is basically about gaining 3rd party exposure of your website.

On Page Factors

• Keyword mining

• Keyword density checks

• Credible copywriting

• Meta tags scripting

• Clean and valid mark-up (HTML)

• Link management

Off Page Factors

• Free / paid directory submission

• Article and news submission

• Press release distribution

• Reciprocal link marketing

• Inbound link building

• Digital signatures

Using Search Engine Marketing to meet your Communication Objectives

Consumers using a Search Engine are primarily in two sets of mind: ‘Research’ mode and ‘Ready to act/buy/sign up’ mode. From a marketer’s point of view they are at different stages of the Purchase Cycle.

PPC campaigns should be set up with this in mind. Different campaigns can be geared for different objectives – for example one for Awareness and one for Sales. The Awareness campaign should be optimized for Reach, concentrating on the highest number of clicks at the cheapest possible price. The Sales campaign conversely should be optimized for sales volume and cheapest Cost per Acquisition (CPA).

Search Engine Optimisation will primarily meet your Awareness and Traffic objectives, as the campaign usually concentrates on fewer, broader keyterms. But keep in mind that this broader Search might ultimately lead to a sale as the Searcher moves through the Purchase Cycle. Remember to optimize your Meta Descriptions (the description in the SERP) with the consumer in mind.

Search Engine Marketing Case Studies:

Search Engine Optimisation Case Study: UK Business Properties.


• UK Business Properties launched a new Commercial Property directory in 2006

• While the agency that built the site assured them it was SEO friendly, they were languishing on page 3 on Google for the most important keyword: ‘Commercial Property’


• Tug developed an SEO strategy that emphasised the keyword ‘Commercial Property’

• Review and editing of website content – addition of content pages for all UK regions

• Review and editing of Meta

• Review and editing of code to make more spider friendly

• Directory and site map submission

• A bespoke link building campaign where we submitted to directories, article websites and actively exchange links with high PageRank sites in parallel business verticals


• Within 6 weeks the website was listed #3 on Page 1 of

• The keyword ‘Commercial Property’ now drives 65% of traffic to the site

• They are now #1 on Google and we are now optimising and link building for new relevant keywords

Pay per Click Case Study: Truffle Shuffle


• Truffle Shuffle is an online retailer competing in a tight margin business, against small t-shirt retailers and huge online retailers like ASOS.


• PPC campaign on Google and Yahoo.

• Avoid Broad keywords even if they can drive sales volume.

• Use only very specific product related keywords.

• Use bid management software to set strict Position and ROI rules.

• Develop specific, relevant ad Creative for every available t-shirt.

• Weekly coordination with PR efforts.

• Concentrate only on keywords that convert under £5.25.

• Measure revenue and work with exact margins to measure profit on every keyword weekly.


• In November 07, Tug drove 1,949 sales (1 or more t-shirts) at an average cost per conversion of £1.39.

• We delivered a 24:1 ROI (revenue generated/ad spend).

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