Strengthening Your Web Marketing Program

Like most rental operators, you look to the Internet for revenue opportunities and know all there is to know about marketing through search engines. Right? Just in case, let’s take a fundamental approach to evaluating necessary information for developing a successful search-engine marketing (SEM) program.

The latest Pew Internet & American Life Project found that use of the Internet to research a service or product has increased significantly. The study found that 83% of Internet users have researched a product online as of December 2002. The Pew study also found that 53% of Internet users have made travel reservations online as of December 2002. Clearly, buying or making a reservation for travel is one of the fastest-growing activities online.

Search engines are recognized as the best way to direct qualified leads to your Website. This is highly targeted traffic. If you service Seattle, for example, you want someone searching for “Seattle car rental” on a search engine to find your Website.

The SEM Options: Natural or Pay-for-Performance
SEM consists of two types of efforts: organic or natural search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-for-performance models. To grasp this concept, you need to understand the difference between a crawler-based search engine and a directory.

A crawler-based search engine is a database of cataloged Web pages extracted from the Internet through an automated “crawling” process. A search engine’s crawler (also called a spider or robot) follows links to Web pages. It makes copies of the Web pages found and stores them in its database, which is referred to as a search engine’s index. This database is what users query against.

A directory is also a searchable database of cataloged Web pages. However, unlike its automated counterpart, the information in a directory is assembled by volunteer editors and contains short summaries of all Websites that have been manually indexed and categorized. This database, too, is what users query against.

CONTINUED:  Strengthening Your Web Marketing Program
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