What Should You Know

About Search Engines

and Pay-Per-Click?




Here’s a fact for you, 85 to 95% of websites are found through

a search engine.

You may have the most incredible website on the Internet, but it will receive little or no traffic without search engine visibility and ranking. Can you imagine a billboard in the Sahara desert? Who sees it?


So, how will searchers find your website? What types of

search engines could they use?

Search engines fall into two categories. The first is referred to as natural, organic or standard. The second is called pay-per-click, paid inclusion or paid placement.


Natural, organic and standard are interchangeable terms describing a search engine that bases its search rankings on a ranking algorithm. The algorithms involve a number of criteria and parameters, all relating to the content of the website,


the website’s size, the number of incoming links to the website, and the content’s relevancy. You will hear terms such as keyword relevancy and keyword density to describe various components of the algorithms.


For the standard search engines,

you, your webmaster or hired search engine optimization specialist could spend considerable time optimizing your website to achieve top rankings. The goal is for your website to appear on the first or second page of the search engines’ results when your target user searches keywords or keyword phrases.


Laura Geller


The good news is rankings on standard search engines are free.

The downside is the tremendous amount of time and effort required to achieve exceptional search engine rankings. Let’s confess to each other that top rankings on standard search engines can be tough and timely to achieve!


The interchangeable terms pay-per-click,

paid inclusion or paid placement describe a search engine that bases its search rankings on a “bid for position” basis. Simply stated, you “bid” a price to be in a specific position of the search rankings for a particular search keyword or keyword phrase.


For example, the #1 position on the search phrase “pay per click” recently required a bid of $3.55 per click, whereas the 15th position required only a bid of 55 cents. As a result, your differential website advertising costs between position #1 and #15 can be considerable.


With pay-per-click search engines,

your ability to bid high can dramatically impact your website’s search engine ranking when the search results display website domain names or URL’s for the search keyword or keyword phrase.


The benefit is your website gains visibility with the searcher, but you are not charged the pay-per-click “bid” until a searcher actually clicks on your website domain name or URL displayed in the search engine results. The selection of your website in the search engine results is called a click-through.


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In general, click-through rates range from 1% to 5% of the number of impressions. What is all of this?

A click is when a searcher selects or “clicks” your pay-per-click ad. An impression is one display of your pay-per-click ad on the search engine results. So, the click-through rate is a measure of the total number of ad clicks versus the total number of impressions in a period of time:



Click-Through Rate % =

Total Number of Ad Clicks /

Total Number of Ad Impressions * 100

Let’s do the math for our #1 position bid of $3.55 per click. In September, 2004 there were 21,535 searches for “pay per click.” First, let’s assume a 1% click-through rate.


The top bidder spent $764.49 (21,535 * 1% * $3.55). Now, at a 5% click-through rate the top bidder spent $3,822.45 (21,535 * 5% * $3.55).


Budgeting and controlling marketing expenses with such a broad range of potential costs could be tough. Plus, such costs could be the tip of the iceberg. We still must consider derivatives of the keyword or keyword phrase.


So, was being #1 worthwhile? That depends on your website’s cost per visitor, conversion rate and profit margin of your product or service.


From what we’ve covered so far, you should realize you can achieve a top or high ranking through the pay-per-click search engine. But, a high ranking will cost money and these costs can be volatile. Meanwhile, the standard search engine remains free.


However, pay-per-click offers one significant advantage.

It enables you to achieve website visibility with a high ranking instantaneously or overnight. If you want to draw traffic to your website fast for any reason, pay-per-click can make that happen. Remember, maximizing the standard search engine process takes time!


Let’s summarize the pros and cons of pay-per-click marketing:





* Determines the ability of your web site to convert visitors to a call to  action or make a purchase promptly.

* Identifies which keyword phrases will provide the best conversion rate rapidly.

* Provides complete control of the search engine campaign, both position and cost. ,,,  Cons

* Tests the marketability of your product or service swiftly.

* Improves your website’s ranking and traffic quickly.

* Cost


Many individuals criticize pay-per-click because of the costs involved.

But, have you really thought about the cost issue? Unless you or someone in your organization has expertise in search engine optimization,


you’ll probably pay several thousand dollars in fees to a search engine optimization specialist to improve and optimize your website to achieve higher rankings in the standard search engines.



So, my question to you is  Are the standard search engine rankings really free?

At the end of the standard versus pay-per-click search engine debate, it’s like the old saying, “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” Or, it’s like the old commercial, “You can pay me now or you can pay me later.”


The reality of the debate is you must evaluate your specific website situation and utilize the search engine approach that maximizes your website promotion goals and investment.




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8 essential Tips For

Usability Testing



Eight essential Tips for usability testing, To helping you to plan, run and analyse usability tests.


In professional web design circles, the usability testing session has become an essential component of any major project. Similar to focus groups in brand development and product launches,


usability testing offers a rare opportunity to receive feedback from the very people the website is aimed at – before it’s too late to do anything about it.But how can you get the most from these usability testing sessions?


Laura Geller


1. Choosing Your Subjects

As with any market research project, the results will only be as good as the people you test. Do not test people from your own company, or friends and family. Go to a market research firm or temp agency and ask them to source participants to a certain profile.


Make sure the market research firm does not provide the name of the company or any other details that will cloud the judgement of the participants.


2. Before The Usability Testing

As with everything in life, first impressions are vital. Each participant must be put at ease. Remember, the usability testing session is often an extremely artificial environment and,


for the most beneficial and informative results, we want them to behave as if they were using the site at home or work.


Provide clear instructions on how to get to the usability testing location, and if necessary meet the participants at local stations. Do not use terms such as ‘usability testing’ or ‘market research’,

as these can confuse and put people on edge. Also, ensure that participants know how long the usability testing will take, and the type of tasks they will be expected to perform.


After the initial greeting and welcoming drinks,

there are always legal forms that must be signed. It is essential that these are written in plain English, and are as short as possible. The last thing any nervous usability testing subject wants is to be given a contract that looks like they’re signing their soul away.


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All you want is for them to be reassured that the tests are completely confidential, and for permission to use the data generated during the test as part of our results. So tell them that.


3. Beginning The Usability Testing

Before diving into key tasks, get the user familiar with the environment. Tell them the website’s name and URL, and ask them for initial feedback on what they would expect from the site or what they would like the site to be.

Make note of any terms or phrases they use – this not only demonstrates you are taking their feedback seriously, but may provide useful tips as to possible labels for key functionality or navigation.


Next, let them look at the website they are testing. Gauge their first impressions before allowing them to familiarize themselves with the site.


These few simple tasks will help convince the participant that the usability testing will not be difficult and, perhaps most importantly, that they’re not the ones being tested.


4. Choosing Tasks

Set tasks that are essential to the new site’s success, such as:

Buying products  ,,,Paying bills,,,Contacting the client Remember, you’re not looking for an ego massage. The site was built for a reason – can your target audience do


what you need them to do?

It’s also a good idea to ask the user to suggest tasks. While this gives another indication of their expectations and requirements, it may suggest new functionality or priorities.


5. How To Word Tasks

People tend to perform more naturally if you provide them with scenarios rather than instructions. When giving them tasks, you should use phrases like ‘Scenario A has occurred, and you need to ring the company urgently – find the telephone number’. This is far better than ‘find the contact us section of the site’.


6. Presenting Tasks

Only give participants one task at a time. More than this may intimidate them, or alter their approach to the test.


If the user is required to use inputs from outside the test (e.g. an email giving them a password to the site), give them these inputs in the form they will be presented. This will provide useful feedback on all elements of the process, rather than simply the site.


7. How To Behave During The Usability Testing

It’s essential that you remember that it’s the website that is being tested, not you or the subject. Any feedback you get is valuable – make sure the participant knows this. If they can’t do something, make sure they know it’s not their fault.


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You must stay quiet and out of sight during the test.

You must not alter the test results by providing clues, suggesting directions or by reacting to things they say or do. All feedback you give must be neutral. Do not start shaking your head or huffing, however tempting it might be!


The only time you should speak is to help the participant give an opinion, or to clarify a response. If in doubt, shut up!


Given the investment made in the project, clients often find it difficult to be quiet during tests. If your client wants to be present, put them in another room with an audio/video link.


8. After The Usability Testing

After all the tasks have been completed, you should gather as much information as possible. Asking for overall impressions of the site will allow you to judge whether expectations have been met, and whether the participant’s view of the client or site has changed during the process.


Always ask for suggestions – this not only demonstrates the value you place on their thoughts, but may provide insights into how the site can better support the user.


Finally, ask the participant what they remember about the site structure and functions of the site. Clear recollection will confirm that the site is structured logically and help identify any labelling issues you may have missed.



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10 Tips To capture traffic To Your website




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Companies spend their Internet dollars on the wrong


things and end up leaving no investment for marketing. I was referred to a prospective client recently that had their website redesigned. They paid $60,000 for a site that really does nothing for them.


It is a simple brochure site that provides visitors nothing and it certainly does nothing to convert traffic into sales. Since all their budget went to design, they have no money left over to properly market the site.


Mistake #1, don’t pay $60,000 for a branding exercise.

A corporate website is about supporting the business. The beauty of the Internet is there is no guessing. You can measure pretty much anything. What are you trying to accomplish? Increase traffic? Generate leads?




Increase sales? If it is yes to one of these questions, then a $60,000 investment should get you another $600,00 to your bottom-line? Can a brochure site deliver a 80-95% ROI?


Web design is a commodity today. The cost of design should represent about 25% of your total spend. Design costs are competitive today, so spending more than you have to should be the last thing you do.


There are excellent open source Content Management Systems (CMS) that give you the power to manage your own content. The cost of the software is $0 to you. We recommend using either Plone or Joomla.


Both of these platforms provide you

with Web 2.0 compliant back-end

at low cost for setup and


The value in web design is working with companies that can properly market what you do. To properly market the site, you should be spending 10-12x what you should spend in design.


So, it is possible to get a Web 2.0 website at an affordable cost. If you are a small company that is spending $4,000-$8,000 on a basic website, you should plan over 12 months to spend an additional $30,000-$80,000 on marketing. The dollars spent on marketing brings the traffic to the site.


Simple rule, more traffic through the

front door means more business.

Unlike other advertising, you can control your spend and measure your ROI pretty quickly. You can turn your marketing dollars on and off depending on the performance, it is all measurable.


DeFabis Photography is an example

of a client that went through the

redesign process.

We built a Search Engine Friendly website that allows him to manage content on the site. Prior to working with us, his website was not listed in the top 100 on Google for the popular keywords. Since working with us, his visitors and page views have increased. But most important,


he has doubled his bookings from this time last year. And, he did not spend $60,000 on his web design.



Laura Geller



If you need help in evaluating a prospective vendor, here are some question that may help you understand their knowledge:


1. How do capture visitor traffic off the Internet? Can you track their movement through my site? If so, how?


2. How do manage pay per click advertising dollars to ensure I am maximizing my spend and not wasting money?


3. How do you measure whether my site is friendly to my users?


4. How many page views would you estimate my site would get to determine the right level of hosting?


5. What things will you need to change on my website? What things can I change on my own?


6. If I want to change the look, does it require changes to the backend scripting on the site?


7. What will it take to add a new page to match an ad we are running to the new site? For instance, I want to  advertise a special and build a page specific for it, what will it take for us to do this?


8. What do you anticipate the average cost per lead for the website to be?


9. Who owns the source code to the site?


So, think about your objectives. Think about what you want to accomplish and spend your money according to the results you want to achieve.

A pretty website just does not generate the type of results you should and can get using the Internet. Don’t get mugged for $60,000. It’s bad for your business.


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