Search Engine Advertising

Magnificent companion to “Search Engine Visibility”
Catherine Seda’s excellent book “Search Engine Advertising” is the perfect complement to Shari Thurow’s “Search Engine Visibility” from which includes an excerpt toward the end. Where Thurow’s book, the best one in terms of accomplishing high rankins in ‘organic’ (read unpaid) search results, Seda’s book brings along the whole other side of the equation: that of paid options to accomplish high rankings. In doing so, one of her key points is that Search Engine Advertising doesn’t end when the customer arrives at your site (visits), but it really is about conversions (getting the customer to make a purchase, subscribe or whatever your web site’s purpose is when s/he arrives to it).

The book is very well structured around six parts:
i) Planning: the key (yet sometimes overlooked) part of the process, to ensure you know who you are targetting and how, before jumping into the paid options.
ii) Paid Placement Programs: she presents the differences (pros and cons) of the most important fixed placement and pay-for-placement programs available.
iii) Paid Inclusion Programs: directories are presented here in all their splendor, along with what you can do to enhance your possibilities before submitting your site, and how to manage a large number of simultaneous submissions. Web site optimization is touched upon briefly at this point, but in no way substituting Thurow’s book on the topic: you simply have to have both, if you’re serious about Online Marketing at all.
iv) Specialized Search Engines: comparison shopping engines, vertical market search engines and international search engines are discussed in some detail, to get you started with them.
v) Tracking ROI: normally just as overlooked as the planning stage, the tracking of the results of paid advertising campaigns are discussed in extensive detail to ensure that you are able to steer the boat in the right direction if your ROI data shows that you’re putting money on the wrong key terms, your copy is not doing what it should to engage customers, or your landing pages are not taking customers where you want them to go once they get to your site.
vi) Protecting profits: topics such as click fraud, trademark infringement and affilate networks are discussed, as things to keep an eye on.

All in all, this is not a book you’d want to sit down and read in one afternoon (nor would you be able to). This is a hands-on book to work through and use as a reference as you’re getting your feet wet with this whole other animal that is paid advertising on the Web. It has done a ton for me in the two months I’ve been applying the concepts contained in it, since it summarizes very well all the options available to you, their pros/cons and how to best take advantage of them, considering your size and budget. I highly recommend it without reserves for eMarketers that have not had too much exposure to paid options, as well as those who have some experience in the area, since it provides a wealth of tips and insights that most people in the field can benefit from.

Update (04/21/2007): Catherine published another highly recommendable book titled “How to Win Sales & Influence Spiders” in early 2007.