According to Earnest Agency, 81% of B2B purchase cycles start with web search, and 90% of buyers say when they are ready to buy, they’ll find you. Will your brand be ready to be found when your customers are looking?
A diverse marketing strategy is the only way to engage with searchers and make certain your marketing efforts are not in vain. In this article, we will discuss some of the most basic search engine optimization (SEO) best practices and examine what your business can do with paid search marketing (SEM) to help sustain web traffic when your search rankings are not performing as well as you would like.
The Four SEO Must-Dos
Maud David, Marketing Coordinator & Digital Manager at Curves International, writes in her blog contribution to the StartUs European startup community that there are four must-dos when starting SEO for a website.
David’s must-dos consist of these guidelines that serve as your base when developing a robust SEO strategy:
- Choose your company name carefully
- Research your relevant set of keywords when building content
- Craft great content
- Build a functioning website
When starting to learn about SEO, David recommends to “think about your SEO strategy before your website is launched. Too often we spend an incredible amount of time trying to fix the mistakes we did when building the website.” By following her four must-dos, you will be well on your way to creating an excellent organic search marketing campaign where you will enjoy your website toward the top of the results page.
How are search rankings calculated?
To rank well and get found online, you must follow SEO best practices with a personalized SEO strategy that appeals to how search engines organize digital content. Because of the sheer amount of information now available online, search engines have had to develop methods that would give a headache to even highly trained computer engineers. Search engines like Google and Bing have the tough task of collecting digital information and classifying it so that when a search query is submitted, the result is as current and relevant as possible.
This classification process is called an algorithm and following David’s four must-dos is an excellent place to start. To better understand this, Search Engine Land illustrates how search engine algorithms work in this informational video.
Improving your search engine rankings can be a long and tiresome process that takes time to develop. It is not an overnight fix by any means and, to add another obstacle to the digital Ninja Warrior course that is search marketing, the major search engines habitually change their algorithms.
What can you do to bolster your online campaign when your SEO is performing poorly or when you are working toward building a better optimization strategy? Any good marketer should establish goals, one of the most basic of which is website traffic. Ideally, your website would rank at the top of the search page and traffic would be as frequent as rush hour in Los Angeles. However amazing that sounds (digitally not driving), sometimes this lofty goal has not yet been achieved and is seemingly far from reach.
To get people to your website by standing out from a cluttered search page or in lieu of well-ranked placement on the results page, marketers have turned to paid search marketing. Paid search can be the quickest way to get in front of and interact with your customers. Digitally savvy marketers acknowledge the benefits and necessity of strong SEO, but adding SEM to the mix can empower your campaign and reach more of your target audience to round out your online efforts.
While SEO is a crucial part of any business, it is a marathon task continuously running and building toward the finish line of page one rankings and organic traffic. Paid search, on the other hand, is more immediate. Compared to SEO, SEM is your hail a cab at the starting line and getting dropped off at the finish line of the 26.2-mile trek.
Paid search marketing fundamentals
For your paid search marketing to attract customers, the campaign must follow the necessary steps for success.
1) Target the right audience
Knowing who your to target is one of the most basic concepts to brand marketing, yet one of the most frequently overlooked actions. You know your brand better than everyone else – what the features are and how customers can benefit from your business.
One of the best aspects of paid search is the ability to fine tune the who, where and when of advertising. Defining your brand’s audience should be a careful and meticulous task based on features such as their geography, lifestyles, income and any other demographic information you can think of that is important to your products’ purchasers.
Identifying specific customer traits while building your paid search campaign can result in prime ad placement in front of the eyes of interested viewers who will be more willing to click and visit your website.
2) Personalize the message
Now that you know who you want to target, it is time to deliver a message that your customers can relate to.
Customers come to search engines to find answers that will solve a specific question or concern. The key to creating a powerful message is to make it relevant to your customer’s needs. Try to determine what are your customers are searching for and then personalize the message.
Success is achieved when you match your brand message with the needs and interests of your customers.
3) Optimize the campaign performance
Digital campaign tracking has become a vital part of a brand strategy to measure performance. How a page visitor was lead to your website or what drew them to convert can accurately be deduced by data.
Measure the effectiveness of your SEM campaign through your website data and take action to start maximizing your search engine reach. Jumpstart your Google Analytics account to ensure your campaign is running at its full potential. Learn what is performing exceptionally well: where visitors are landing on your website, which pages are gaining the most traffic and if your customers are coming to your website as a result of your paid search efforts.
Once you know more about your website production, you can adjust your marketing campaigns accordingly to reach and remarket to interested customers.
Paid search marketing and search engine optimization are two marketing initiatives that are important on their own but go better together. The must-dos and fundamentals are a good place to start, but remember that search marketing is an ongoing process. It is a marathon of twists and turns filled with new algorithms and evolving customer interests that you must be able to recognize, modify and adapt to be successful.
What are your must-dos, and how can you personalize your campaign to reach more of your customers?