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SEM, Search Engine Marketing, is sometimes called more of an art than a science. At TCG, we think that's a weak excuse for a web designer to explain why they can't get you the leads, traffic, hits, and volume you paid for and were probably promised.

Ever see those ads for "guaranteed inclusion" in 48 hours, or maybe "guaranteed top three rankings" of some kind? Well, while there might be an evil genius out there we haven't met, TCG will meanwhile stick to our claim that this is a load of rubbish.

There are no guarantees on the Internet. Not guarantees of success, anyway. We can guarantee one thing - if you slop together some eye candy with content you pasted from an internal memo, you will be disappointed in your web site's performance.

Real SEM tends to require a budget - as in, money. Lots of money, if you want lots of new traffic and converted leads. Sorry, we wish there were a better way, but if you want to get a million hits this month, it's going to cost you. Bids for certain terms can exceed double digits, if you (probably against our recommendation) choose to target a word like "sales" or etc.

Costs on the web are relative, though. Working with the Chiron Group to create a cautious web marketing strategy, built on SEO and fortified with SEM techniques such as paid inclusion, PPC (pay per click), and various other tricks and techniques, you can expect to see a measurable return on your investment, or ROI.

PPC campaigns are, for many customers, a cheap, or at least cost-effective, way to begin swelling search engine traffic over a predetermined period of time. Google's Adwords and Yahoo's Overture PPC services are two of the more user-friendly and "safe" methods for developing a PPC test run, and we'll be glad to help you identify keywords, phrases, and develop custom landing pages, targeted click patterns, and sales conversion strategies throughout our contract.

So there it is. You pay to play, and within a few weeks and probably not over a few hundred bucks, you'll have a good idea as to whether a PPC campaign or paid inclusion into link exchanges and so forth is a timely strategy for your business.

Paid programs are certainly a good way to launch a new domain, and they can help spur return visits to a newly-revamped web site as well.

Even a site with excellent optimization and SEO design fundamentals can benefit from PPC - although TCG usually recommends that our clients establish a baseline of hit traffic prior to launching simultaneous attacks on the web and search results marketplace.

We've ignored a few SEM "essentials" here, and purposefully so. Link exchanges tend to be a shady affair, and due to complexities of algorithmic rankings among search engines, usually just being on a page of "whoever paid" links isn't going to do much for your web site traffic. Likewise, most search engines have or are trending towards ceasing paid inclusion.

Yahoo was once known to charge as much as $299 or so for a "fast-track" review process. That's going away, and the reason is that good SEO and SEM renders paid inclusion superfluous and ineffective. PPC, while intricately nuanced, is however a viable method to gain hits, solid leads, and quality return traffic - but only if you do it right.

We're here to help you get PCC right, and right in a short period of time. All you need to do is give TCG one month, a small budget ($100), and you can expect a full review and assessment, complete with future suggestions for success.

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