The effectiveness of Search Engine Marketing
“Search engine marketing is over! It’s done… It’s not good enough anymore, move on to the next thing.”
In an industry where constant change is inevitable and an adapt-or-die mind-set is a must, you will often come across these scary (and obviously false) statements. That is why it’s so important that you stick with the right digital specialists that aren’t afraid to adapt or make adjustments when required.
Search Engine Marketing is, and will forever be, very much alive. The methods may change but the core remains the same. Some might argue that due to the constant changes happening in the digital industry, and the frequent updates in search algorithms from search engines like Google, that you are better off leaving it all together. This is a mistake.
Search Engine Marketing is an extremely effective way of marketing, with many benefits for your business, but before I get to that, let’s do a quick recap.
What is Search Marketing?
Search Marketing is the umbrella term for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and PPC (Pay Per Click Ads). Search Engine Marketing is the process of getting relevant users to a website and increasing website visibility through both paid and unpaid (organic) efforts.
It is a non-intrusive way to market to potential customers.
SEO or search engine optimisation is a process, most often implemented by web specialists, that aims to improve the ranking of a website or page on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). This type of result is referred to as organic.
The aim of SEO is to ensure that your website appears when a user searches for words or phrases that are relevant to your product or service. Although SEO is “free” and you don’t have to pay for advertising, it is a complex and in-depth process that should preferably be done by a professional to ensure you get the most out of your search marketing campaign.
PPC, or Pay per click ads, are exactly what it sounds like. When a user searches for something online that matches a service or product you are offering, your ad will show up in the paid search results section of the search engine. This is usually above and on the right of the organic search results in Google and Bing. Users will also encounter carefully timed ads when watching YouTube or similar video sites, reading blog posts, or just browsing the web. These ads are based on their search history and preferences. The user then has the choice to click through to your website if they find the ad appealing. Generally, advertisers only pay when a user clicks on an ad, putting you in in total control of your online advertising budget.
3 Common Myths about SEM
- Search Marketing only works for large companies.
This is unfortunately a common misconception among smaller businesses. Search Marketing can be utilised by any company no matter the size or budget. There is always something you can do to improve your visibility in search engines and reach more people. The effectiveness of your search marketing efforts will depend on your planning, willingness to adapt and strategy that you implement.
- You can get to the first page of Google within a few days.
If a company promises you this, be careful. Search marketing is based on research, data collected and refining that process until you have a perfect, well-oiled marketing machine.
- I do SEO so I don’t need to do PPC.
Many businesses think that they can trade off one channel for the other but consider the following when making your choice. SEO and PPC are more effective when done together. You get different types of people online with different types of search habits. PPC is instant and gets results quicker. The moment you stop your ads; your visibility will stop too. It’s a short term solution which is very effective when you want to promote a new product or during low season. SEO takes a few months to take effect, but it is a medium to long term solution.
5 Benefits of search marketing
- According to a recent survey by Shop.org and Forrester Research, 85% of retailers said that search marketing (PPC and Organic) was their most effective customer acquisition strategy.
- More and more people are enjoying access to the internet thanks to more affordable smart phones entering the market.
- Search marketing can be measured and help you gain more insight into your target audience’s spending and search habits.
- It’s cost affective. Search marketing is still more affordable than most traditional marketing methods.
- It helps to build better trust among consumers. With search marketing you get a chance to be a part of the conversation with your communities and target audience. You get the opportunity to become one with the crowd.
- Customers have become smarter. People make buying decisions based on word of mouth, social media recommendations among friends and by doing extensive online research. An increasing number of users compare prices and offers before they buy.
Considering all the above, it is clear that search marketing is a growing, evolving industry that constantly requires you to adapt to ensure you get the most out of your marketing efforts. With the amount of internet users increasing every day and becoming more web savvy, ignoring the internet and not saddling up for the digital battlefield can become a costly mistake. No one wants to be left in the digital dust.