Now that the vast majority of customers first learn of a business by searching on Google, Bing, etc., ranking highly in search results gives a business a clear advantage over competitors. To show that your business has what people are seeking, your website should by optimized for searches by company name, topic, question, location, or keywords related to your business.
Landing within the coveted first few results listed used to happen by implementing organic search strategies. Over time, as pages got indexed, a website moved up in results. Now, paid search is the fastest way for a business to appear at the top of search results and attract qualified leads.
Organic and Paid Search Strategies
The most effective way to attract customers who are seeking your business by name, or are looking for products or services in your industry, is to engage in a comprehensive search campaign that includes:
- Organic search strategy – consists of continually adding relevant content, links, and sharing on social media
- Paid search strategy – consists of paying to be placed at top in search results when users search for specific keywords
Search engine algorithms change continuously, as do trends in social media and content marketing. This means that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) strategies must also evolve in order to stay effective.
To rank well in organic search results, a website needs a strong and clear architecture, with relevant titles, keywords, and tags. Incremental changes over time are most effective, and should focus on proper use of URLs, title tags, meta descriptions, headers, subheads, phrases and terms. Search engines recognize when new content is added so it’s important to make ongoing updates.
However, having only an organic search strategy may not produce the desired results. Have you ever noticed when searching a topic, that websites designated with “Ad” are listed first, above other sites? People used to avoid clicking on these, but now it’s become ubiquitous and almost expected, for virtually every industry and business size.
Search Ads: Cost and How To Implement
The key to getting qualified leads, the right customers, is setting up ads with precise keywords and targeting, then using metrics data to continually refine campaigns.
Here’s how it works: A user searches for something in Google, Bing or another search engine, and several results marked as “Ad” appear at the top. These ad campaigns are set up to attract people who search for specific terms related to the business and may be geo-targeted. The advertiser is charged a fee each time a user clicks on the ad (pay-per-click, PPC), but there’s no charge for the awareness built from many people seeing the ad without clicking on it (yet!). Google Adwords is the most used search advertising platform, with ads appearing in standard Google searches and on partner sites such as Ask.com.
Once a user clicks on an ad, it’s important that the page they land on directly relates to content in the ad. Businesses who get the best ROI on their paid search investments give customers exactly what they were looking for in the initial search (added bonus: search engines notice pages that strong traffic, where users stay on the page, indicating it’s a useful page for that topic, which boosts organic results). Learn how having good content and landing pages plays a role in search marketing.
SEO and SEM Best Practices
Attracting new and returning prospects involves leveraging content and understanding how consumers search. Considerations also include the type of business, its industry and competitors, whether it’s strictly online, if it’s B2B or B2C, and several other factors. The Harris Web Works team includes experts in digital search techniques, trends and advertising who can help you sort through this complex arena to maximize your marketing activities.
Contact us to learn how we can create and implement a customized search marketing plan based on your needs that’ll help you generate more leads and conversions.