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after being around for a while in the net arena, it seems the bigger the company the less effective their advertising and the more money flies out the door.
Search engine positioning and placement are often overlooked in favor of banner campaigns. Companies that are ripe with numerous web sites that if structured in the right way could dominate their niche in the SERPs opt to spend staggering amounts of money on placements that yield $100.00+/conversion (sometimes a click) (conversion = request for more information - never dealt with e-tailers). 50-60% of visitors enter and exit on the same page. IMHO, these are abysmal numbers - the question is why.
1) Poor targting of banner placements
2) A disconnect between the content and context of the ad, and that to which it leads.
3) Companies have budgets and just want to spend them so they feel like they are doing something and keeping up with everyone else.
4) Companies want to say what they want to say in their own language and are to stubborn or naieve to realize what a little user centered thinking can do when architecting a site - not only in using the site, but arriving on the site.
5) When buying banners, doing PPC, cloaking or whatever, the URL to which the placement leads is usually the company home page or something to track results but not user centered.
A hypothetical example would be sony buying "cd player" on GoTo and setting the click through URL to the Sony homepage.
6) Tracking search engine referrals and stats is harder than banner placements with spotlight tags in a system like DART (more confusing?) so people just don't recognize the benefits.
If I could just expand on this a bit. :)
...... targeted traffic and targeted visibility is.
Proper SEO, and proper site message/navigation/professionalism go together.
So if Jim's Apple Farm has SEO done, and gets a ton of traffic, but from people looking for Apple computers, rather than apples to eat, it doesn't matter what his site message is.
Just as if Jim gets the targetted traffic, it's up to the site to sell/convert the user. You can't have one without the other.
As far as banner advertising, I think another big problem is the medium's lack of ability to change and adapt with the times. For example, as sean pointed out some time ago, 468x60 is still the average, predominant banner size. This size was justified when we were (almost) all running 640x480. Look how much screen size that used to take up, compared to today. These banners are tuned out by everyone nowadays. Cnet's ads still catch my attention, as do most skyscrapers. But look at the small representation of the new IAB banner sizes web-wide. Not many are taking advantage of this.
Compare that to SEO, we have to stay on top of everything daily. We know when algos change, when databases update, when SERPS look different, when PPC listings are added - the list goes on. SEOs constantly evolve with the times to stay on top of the game.
If advertising companies, especially bannerbrokers, tried as hard to stay ahead of the curve with targeting, demographics, rich media, and different ad sizes, I think they (and subsequently we) would be in much better shape.
If the site's aim is branding, like Jaguar cars, the metric must be different.
If the site's aim is to provide information like Women Against Drunk Driving the metric is different.
If the site is support customer service like the IRS again the metric is different.
However, the sites I deal with are trying to make profits on sales. For those companies the money spent to generate sales the metric must be sales.
My general impression is that few SEOs market based on the ROI on their cost. If I am selling widgets and their effort gets me good placement on search engines for widgets that is great.
If I get good exposure and 20 thousand widget shoppers get to see my site from the efforts of the SEO, for me that means 100 widget sales a month. I earn 99.50 a widget after cost of sale. That's 9950. If I pay the SEO 300 dollars a month that is a true bargain.
If I paid 10 thousand dollars for banners to earn 9950, that would not be good.
For sales-oriented sites I need to know numbers like these so I can make decisions.
i think we are all in the same boat in regards of sales promoting site's, its all about profit, and justification for any expenditure, and i would be surprised if their are any SEO's who actually dont use some cost analysis as a pricing index to expected and actual returns, exceedingly compensating cost, making it worth while for all concerned financially.