Seek and you shall find: navigating the maze of search engine marketing

Online marketing accounts for almost 15% of UK advertising, with 1bn spent on the medium in the first six months of this year alone. Search takes a big chunk of spend; online advertising grew 41.3% year on year, paid-for search marketing grew 44% to 762.3m, taking 57% of online ad budgets (Internet Advertising Bureau/PricewaterhouseCoopers).

Online marketing accounts for almost 15% of UK advertising, with £1bn spent on the medium in the first six months of this year alone. Search takes a big chunk of spend; online advertising grew 41.3% year on year, paid-for search marketing grew 44% to £762.3m, taking 57% of online ad budgets (Internet Advertising Bureau/PricewaterhouseCoopers).

In July, 1.4 billion searches were made online, with 80% of these converting to a click through to a website. The power of search is hard to dispute and is now recognised as a powerful force in online sales, increasing awareness.

Marketers are embracing the medium, whether as a direct response tool, to drive sales or build brands. But search-engine marketing (SEM) and search-engine optimisation (SEO) remain an enigma for many.

Brand owners know they should be including search marketing in their armoury, but too few know how to execute an effective SEM or SEO strategy. Until recently, many advertisers had left search strategies in the hands of their media planning and buying agencies.

Now, marketers are increasingly seeking greater control over budget and strategy, yet many are unfamiliar with the medium and its nuances. How do keyword campaigns tie in with the overall marketing strategy? How do you best use search to achieve both short- and long-term goals? The online experience is evolving fast, so how do marketers plan for each type of search activity?

Marketing Week Profiles aims to go some way to helping advertisers decide where to turn. Here, seven agencies outline where their expertise lies, introducing you to the variety of skills and assets they possess to help you navigate the maze of search. They outline what they can offer clients, while showcasing campaigns and strategies they have executed and the results achieved. And so let the search begin…

Nathalie Kilby, Associate editor, Marketing Week

Click here to read Profiles: search marketing agencies 2007 online

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