January 4, 2008

"The best SEM campaign is the one that helps webmasters help themselves."

The father of Taoism and revered philosopher, Lao Tzu, has said something you have most likely heard before today, he once stated: "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

Lao's message is about helping others to help themselves, and not necessary about fishing; something that can be taken into many different areas of life, including search engine marketing. On that note, I feel the best way to conduct search engine marketing is not to simply go through the motions for a website, but provide the website with the method and means to help themselves.

After all, the best search engine marketing campaign is the one that helps webmasters help themselves.

If you give a website a link, you empower it for a day...

One of the major aspects of search engine marketing is linking between websites. If you have owned a website for longer than a month you will have probably received an email from someone you have never met before, requesting to get a link on your website pointing to their website; especially if you are a search engine marketer.

While any sane person would often shun dumbasses that request ridiculous links randomly, there are a few webmasters who gladly accept link exchanges. But there is a problem with both those webmasters who decide to shun people who request links and those who accept them without much action: they're not teaching the person who requested the link how to help themselves.

Search engine marketers need to be extremely weary of linking through requests. Instead of just searching for links - or handing out links to valuable websites - if you're a search engine marketer, you should be constructing relationships with websites you link with, or doing what you can to teach other webmasters what they can do (other than linking) to benefit their website; like how to build content that will create links automatically.

If you're running a SEM campaign for a website, make sure you're not just empowering it for a day. Find ways to help the website learn to create links on it's own through valuable content and other link building strategies.

Don't just write copy, create an understanding of what works.

Link building is not the only aspect of a search engine marketing campaign, copywriting is another aspect of any successful SEM campaign. But, like link building, there is no benefit to writing great copy for a website and leaving it at that. If you're a marketer you should be explaining to the webmaster why certain copy is beneficial to a website, how including specific keywords over and over again can increase authority for that keyword or keyphrase, and you should help webmasters understand how using keywords in links affects search engines.

It's easy to write up some great copy for a website, but the value there is limited; you're not teaching the webmaster(s) to write copy on their own, you're giving them copy to use for a day.

Educate and be educated.

Link building, copywriting, advertising, as well as identifying and creating value are all aspects of a search engine marketing campaign. Whether you're a webmaster who is looking to hire a business to run a SEM campaign, or you're a company that specializes in SEM, make sure you're getting and giving more than just a fish - more than just something that is simply provided to/from you.

If you're a search engine marketer: don't just go through the actions for your clients. Help teach them how they can help themselves.

If you're a webmaster: don't accept work that is not explained - in detail - to you. You can get more bang for your buck if you know what exactly is going on, and if you take just a few moments to educate yourself on it.

You won't loose business, you'll gain it.

As a search engine marketer you may be asking something along the lines of: "If I teach webmasters to do what I do for them, won't I loose business?"

The answer is: no.

The real value any marketer can provide to a client is how that customer can help him or herself in the future. A customer that has learned to help themselves through your efforts, like a man that has learned to fish, will be successful for a lifetime. And if you're helping other websites to be successful for life, you are providing an unbeatable service. In-fact, I would recommend increasing your rates and providing more of a value to your customers.

You may find that, instead of loosing business, you'll gain more.

That concludes today's post. It's Friday and because I don't post over the weekends that means I won't be posting until next Monday, but you don't have to sit and wait around for new posts, you can subscribe to Internet Hunger and get updates automatically through your favorite news aggregator or directly to your e-mail address, spam free.