Search engine marketing  as opposed to paid for advertising is the question on many Internet marketers’  minds: To be or not to be, to pay or not to pay, that is the question.

First, let us clear up the difference between search engine marketing and paid advertising. Search engine marketing requires some upfront capital expenditure and a lot of hard work, time and knowledge – It is done as long-term strategy in order to promote the visibility of websites and is done by, amongst other things, consistently adding and rewriting content. Paid advertising is for everybody who wants instant gratification and has massive amounts of money to spend – This is done as a short-term strategy to attract traffic too your site instantly and is done by purchasing advertising space on a variety of different mediums.

Don’t think for a second that because you are only spending $100 a week, your paid advertising is not that expensive. It’s easy to look back after a year and realize that you have spent $5200 on paid advertising whereas you could’ve made a small upfront investment on search engine marketing of say $3000 and you could have generated more qualified traffic.

Already there is a separation of the camps:  Either you do search marketing or you do paid advertising. Truth be told you need to do both, you need the instant gratification fix but you also need to adopt a long-term strategy for your Internet Marketing . By combining both, the amount of traffic that you will generate for your website will increase exponentially and your cost will decrease over time.

This may seem very obvious to anybody reading this but as we have found with past experience, exposure to all the charlatans in the Internet marketing industry reveals many companies claiming to do search engine optimization. Because you do not understand the jargon, these companies will tell you that they are doing search engine marketing and that you are on page 1. What they will not tell you is that when your budget runs out you are no longer on page 1 and that by two o’clock in the afternoon your ad has fallen off position one on page one. This means that you are not getting search engine optimization, but paid for marketing which is known as PPC (Pay per Click) or Google Adwords advertising. While I am not discounting the value of paid for advertising and I do acknowledge that it is critical in getting decent traffic to your website, if the language that is used for your paid for advertising is incorrect, it is not going to help you, particularly if you  do not know what a negative keyword is.

An example of a negative keyword: Let’s say your company provides building services, however you specialize in roofing and you would like to appear on page one for roofing contractors in Charlotte. You buy the keyword roofing contractors in Charlotte and you put this keyword into your keyword list on your Google account; you haven’t taken the keyword, but you have added it to your bidding process, so this is a phrase that will come up and you will rank for it if your budget is correct. If you do not put the negative keyword free into your keywords this means you are speaking to the clients potentially looking at your website, whom you believe are looking for roofing contractors in Charlotte. What you may not be aware of is that they typed the phrase free roofing advice Charlotte and they have clicked on your Ad and that click has cost you five dollars. They reached your website to find information not really wanting to pay for a service or product. This is a waste of your Google Adwords budget. Too often businesses do not understand the way products, services and advice are searched for in search engines. Because of this, you end up spending a lot of money on words that do not generate qualified clicks from people who want to spend money with them. What then is the point of running any sort of advertising when you might as well stand on a street corner and give away your services or products because of the masses looking for free advice?

If on the other hand you have taken the time to research the language used in your industry, the language that people use in their search for you through paid advertising and search engine optimization i.e. organic searches and you understand the concept of negative keywords, you need not do all of this.

You will have now have armed yourself with the ability to talk to the experts and insist on them showing you where they are using negative keywords and how the negative keywords are helping you. You also put yourself in a position of authority, so that you can ask questions which make your potential Internet marketing partner sit up and pay attention to the correct keyword strategy applicable to your business,  as opposed to just taking your money, creating clicks and not making your phone ring.