Search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) are two of the most powerful and profitable things you can do for your online business. As Google celebrates its twelfth birthday there are more Internet shoppers than ever, with more choices than ever. So let’s take a few minutes to see how you can beat the competition and dominate Google.
This article has three parts; Stats, Spying and Shortcuts. Each part can be used individually or grouped to provide quicker results. The following information is what the SEO and SEM experts know and gives you the inside scoop on the tools they use.
Part 1; Search Engine Stats: This will give you the latest intel on search engines. This is to help you make informed decisions on how to spend your SEO time and where to spend your SEM money (search engine marketing, which includes pay per click advertising.)
A.) Google gets nearly half of all US searches performed on the Internet so you can bet that’s at the top of our SEO to do lÃst. Here are the exact numbers as provided by the “comScore for searchenginewatch.com” survey:
42.7% – Google
28.0% – Yahoo!
13.2% – MSN
7.60% – AOL
5.90% – ASK
2.60% – All Others Combined
B.) Now that we know how much the search engines are used let’s get some inside information to help us plan SEO and SEM strategies. According to the UK based company Neutralize.com, users of Google versus those of MSN are just about polar opposites when it comes to natural versus paid search listings. Here’s what their research found:
Google: 72.3% of searchers prefer clicking on the natural listings that SEO helps you get. Only 27.7% prefer using the paid links you might use as part of your SEM plan.
MSN: Only 28.8% of searchers go for the natural listings while 71.2% rely on paid links. This is almost the exact opposite of how Google users work.
That is amazÃng information to have! You know right away that your time and effort is better spent on SEO for Google while putting your pay per click dollars into MSN is probably your best bet.
C.) Now for the biggie; return on investment (ROI.) Once again our friends at Neutralize have some great information. The following numbers show the approximate ROI that Website owners got using SEO and SEM (specifically pay per click.) for lead generation and actual sales…
Lead Generation: * 79% SEO * 75% Paid Search (SEM)
Actual Sales: * 78% SEO * 63% Paid Search (SEM)
These are huge returns on investment. In comparison, banners only account for about one third as many leads and sales.
Part 2; Spying: This will show you where and how to get the very best inside info on what all your competitors are doing and how to beat them. It’s like being handed a copy of your competitions’ online business plans. Just go to “SpyFu.com” and take a look at some of the free information they provide. Better yet, visit to see everything you can get, free and paid. I’m a big believer in spending wisely so for most people I would recommend just spending the $6 for a 3 day full access package instead of paying for a regular subscription.
Here’s a blurb from the site that tells what SpyFu offers…”Want to know which of your competitors has the largest ad budget, or which term gets the most clicks per day? Use SpyFu’s Advanced Search to find out. Advanced Search allows one to search by all the metrics provided on the site and allows you to focus on the data that’s most important to you. What’s more, you can save your Advanced Search results to Excel with the click of a button.”
Part 3; SEO and SEM Shortcuts: Don’t confuse shortcuts with cutting corners. Our “shortcuts” are based on finding how the professionals do it and following in their footsteps. When it comes to SEO and SEM, the best shortcuts to success involve finding the best performing and least expensive software that provides the quickest return on investment.
A.) The best SEM shortcut I know is using software to find your top keywords and otherwise help manage your pay per click campaign. Two of the most popular and widely used tools are WordTracker.com and Keyword Elite.
With WordTracker.com you pay a recurring subscription fee of $59 per month or $329 per year. I used this for a while then bought Keyword Elite for $175 because it appeared to do more and cost less than subscribing to WordTracker. I found it to be a better deal for my needs since there are no recurrÃng fees and lifetime free upgrades. But it all boils down to personal preference here. Both products are fantastic!
B.) Picking the top SEO tool is a no brainer for me. I retired my other three products after working with SEO Elite for just a few weeks. Although I admit I was first attracted by the small price tag of $167, it wasn’t long before I tossed the more expensive tools and just used SEO Elite. Here’s what it did, right from the start…It helped me land 121 top 5 rankings on Google within three weeks; Mostly 1’s and 2’s. It also found 377 high quality link partners in the first two weeks alone, which led to even more top rankings. This is the same company that published Keyword Elite, which also helped me make the initial decision. They’ve been a major SEO software development player for years and the lifetime of free upgrades with zero annual costs they provide is that special touch that shows they can relate to people in the world of search engine optimization.
This information can help you dominate Google, Yahoo and MSN very quickly. Enjoy!
About The Author
Mike Small has been a search engine optimization specialist and author since 1998. His clients include small business and Fortune 500 companies alike. His books include The SEO Answer Book and SEO Notebook. He offers free SEO and SEM advice on his blog SEOpartner.com .