I've spent the last several weeks knee deep into learning about the mechanics of search engine marketing. I'm by far no expert in it, but the world is pretty fascinating.
Where I'm a bit perplexed at this point is what role SEM should play for a site that is primarily content driven. It's not much of a problem to get people to come to the site. You pay Google for the adwords, people search, they click on your ad and voila you've got traffic!
However, how do you keep them? Ultimately, if you are content driven site, you want your differentiation to be content that is so on the money that when they come once, they bookmark you because you are a resource.
But that's tough. Most of the time, they come once, check out your article and move on.
I suppose the bottom line is that the way to make SEM work in the context of a content driven website without losing money has to have some type of high quality advertising campaign alongside it. But even that doesn't seem to make sense.
If I get 100,000 clicks through Google at 0.25 a click, that's a $25,000 campaign.
Let's assume, just for fun that you have an ad campaign that's you're getting $5.00 cpm (a REALLY high #). In order to break even off just that campaign, you have to generate 5,000,000 clicks, daunting indeed, even if you have a few running at that rate it's still high.
So, the question remains, even if you DO have VC money, what role should SEM play in the context of a content driven website?