Search Engine Guide: A Recipe for Search Success

Here is our recipe to enjoy search marketing success.

Search engine optimization and marketing. Many companies think you can get away with doing only search engine optimization (free or natural search), but many studies show there are people who click only on paid listings, those who click only on the natural listings and still others who are comfortable clicking on both.

This research reinforces that the smartest strategy is to have both search engine optimization as well as marketing covered and that consumers are three to five times more likely to find, click, remember you and/or do business with you if you appear in both places.

Branding and direct response. Research also shows that people do up to seven searches when they look for a product/service (depending on the price point/industry). And as much as search is a powerful direct marketing tool that puts the consumer in control, research is starting to prove its brand value.

If you are smart with keyword lists, you will appear in the top few spots for all of these seven searches, thus having multiple impressions and views by a consumer, which lead to recall and latent sales. Consumers don’t go to page 2 or 3, they start fresh with a new search and it’s another chance for them to see or click on your listing.

Modeling and analytics. Search 101 is not enough. Doing a good job on keywords, creative and landing pages is simply the cost of doing business. If you can’t do that, clients will leave. That is where the science part of this comes into play. By looking at the right data/variables at the right time, we can start to forecast and proactively be more efficient with how we manage entire search campaigns.

Whether it’s knowing that Google visitors are twice as valuable as Yahoo’s for a given client or that people buy higher-ticket items from 2 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, we identify key site drop-off points from the Web analytics data. This all plays an important part in any search marketing campaign.

Multichannel planning and integration with search. If you don’t cast a wide enough net to cover/buy the taglines, product names/phrases that appear in other marketing channels (radio, print, catalog, banner ads, television, etc.), you are essentially acting as a free sales force for your competition. This means that at least one of your competitors has probably purchased those keywords.

A good example from recent history is mLife. That brand spent millions on TV spots and didn’t buy the term “mLife” in the search engines. But its competition did. In this instance, mLife essentially paid to drive traffic to competitors.

It’s also important to be as efficient as possible and to take advantage of other media channels, whether it’s a product launch, promotion or just a certain high season. Search can help/lead and should be adjusted to do just that.

People, processes and technology. It boils down to ensuring you have the best people, processes and technology. Our industry is changing so fast, but this is one thing that never goes out of style. As is said in Tom Collins’ “Good to Great:” “First who, then what.”

Once you have the right people, you need smart processes to make what you do scalable and repeatable as well as effective. Finally, you need to empower those smart people with the best technology to make them even better. One does not work without the other.

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