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Saturday, March 21, 2009

U.S. Search Marketing a Win-Win Scenario


As tough times force many people to spend less -- and to be pickier about what they do buy -- online Search is becoming ever more important to marketers.

"The recession is driving marketers to concentrate on gaining new business, even more than on customer retention objectives," says David Hallerman, eMarketer senior analyst. "Search is the ultimate online acquisition tool, and therefore is positioned to do relatively well in this economy."

The four basic search options are paid search, contextual advertising, paid inclusion -- all three are types of advertising -- and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

All four options will experience increased spending through 2013. By then eMarketer estimates total U.S. search marketing outlays will surpass $23 billion. While paid search traditionally has received the attention and money, as they seek to acquire new customers, marketers are now increasingly turning to SEO.

There are key differences between paid search and SEO.

"Paid search effects are immediate, but marketers need to spend consistently for sponsored-link ads to appear in search queries," says Mr. Hallerman. "SEO takes time, and marketers need to constantly maintain their Websites to sustain high organic results."

As marketers better understand the purpose of Website optimization in their overall campaigns, SEO spending will grow at an even higher yearly rate. Apparently, it's a win-win scenario.

"Customers are going to search engines because they are looking for better deals," says Mr. Hallerman. "And marketers are going to search engines because that's where their customers are."