Online Advertising is a form of marketing which requires the use of internet for the promotion of goods and services. Search Engine Marketing is an important aspect of Online Advertising and is the focus of this article.
Search Engine marketing is relatively new but simple in its concept. It occurs when a web user searches either through a text box in the search engines or clicks through a directory hierachy. Search Engines are software that have been programmed to search for information on the web. The biggest search engine today is Google but there are other ones such as yahoo, bing etc
When people search on the web, they are at various points in the buying cycle. They could be in the beginning of the cycle in which case they are open to more information about the product or service that they are searching for. At this stage also, they are willing to consume all kinds of content that will enable them figure out how that product or service really works and if it will be beneficial to them. When users searching on the web are at the middle stage of their buying cycle, they need a bit more specific information to enable them close in on the purchase. Information they are looking for at this point are not general information anymore, they are looking for product specific information. Product demos come in handy at this stage. Users at the end stages of the buying cycle are more interested in the price of the product or service or the potential returns on investment it offers.
It is with the knowledge of all these that search marketers are able to write compelling ads that target specific stages of the buying cycle and eventually help them to convert and close the transaction
Search marketing can be in two ways
- Organic search ( SEO) : This refers to all the efforts made by users to rank high on the search engines without paying for ads
- Paid Ads : This refers to all the search efforts that requires users paying for ads, usually in a pay per click (PPC) system. Google Adwords is the most popular ppc system in use today
All search engines use algorithms to provide the most relevant results to each searcher, taking into account not only the search keywords used but also the searcher’s location, device, operating system, previous search behavior, and even identity.
Search Marketing is unique in the following ways :
(i) It is a non-intrusive method of marketing. Majority of online and offline advertising intrudes on the audience, interrupting their current activities. Search is unique in tapping a searcher at the exact moment he or she is seeking knowledge or a solution.
(ii) It originates from voluntary, user-driven search behavior. This means that visitors from a search results link have not only selected your content (link, image, video or other format) from among your peers, they chose the search query that resulted in your content (ad or organic) being shown.
(iii) Organic search marketing combines the best practices of creativity, technology, usability, copy writing, and online marketing. This is because many search engines base their relevancy algorithms on a combination of the text they see on a page, site, video, or image and combine the content information with external elements such as links and user behaviors/preferences demonstrated over time for a domain, content source, or specific content element.
So now that we have discussed a little bit about what search engines are about, you may be wondering about how to get started with online advertisement using search engine marketing. Here are a few points we think will help you
1 . GET TRAINED AND CERTIFIED AS GOOGLE ADWORDS PROFESSIONAL
In order to fully understand the concept of search engine marketing, you will need to get trained and certified as a Google Adwords professional. Luckily, this is free, all you need is time study the resources materials in depth and write the certifications exams. There are tons of resources online to help you get started but we will recommend the Google Adwords resources here http://bit.ly/1UuF3e6.
You will gain more insights and become more equipped to handle search marketing campaigns by the time you have completed the course
- WEBSITE DESIGN
Website design is one of the most important aspects of search engine marketing. If you are not working with a site designer that really understands how the search engines work then you are putting yourself at a great disadvantage. Although you do not have to hire a search engine marketing firm to help you out, using an industry veteran is one of the best ways to make your website show up in the search engines.
Be careful when you’re hiring a developer. Check their former clients before you hire them to do anything to your website. Ask former clients about their rise in the search engines and how the developer helped them over a certain time span.
- KEYWORD RESEARCH
There are tons of articles about keyword research and the importance of using low competition keywords for your URLs, posts and domain names. It is important to learn more about keyword as this is what makes or mars your search marketing campaign. A very good resource to use for keyword analysis is the google keyword tool, it enables you to see the potential traffic from suggested keywords as well as the level of competition. This knowledge is vital and will help you as you go about planning contents and ad copies.
You need to create an Google Adwords account to access the Keyword tool.
- KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR THE CUSTOMERS
Search Engine marketing can easily lead a website owner to think that only web ranking in the search engines matter. If you forget about your customer then you have a website that ranks high in the search engines but does not convert into sales. Always think about the customer and put them first before your rankings. There might be a feature or a tool that can help you gain momentum in the search engine results page, however, it might put your customers at a disadvantage.
Always think about your site from a customer perspective. Search engines do not buy your products and they will not click on your advertisements. Keeping in mind the aesthetic value of your website or your pay per click advertisements is essential to getting clicks that turn into sales.
- SORT OUT YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
There is a common misconception among search engine marketers about what their key audience actually is. In order to convert clicks into sales you need to determine who your major target audience are. Are you selling to a customer or are you selling to a business? The main difference between these two demographics is the lead-time. When you’re selling to a customer, the lead-time is extremely short. The lead-time could last one minute or it could last a couple of days.
When you are selling to a business, impulsive buying does not apply. Businesses often need approvals for purchasing things even as small as pen and paper. The last thing that they are going to do is buy a service within a day or even within a week. Selling to businesses is always more profitable than selling to customers but it takes time.
However, selling to a customer gives you a shorter lead-time and allows you access to more conversions based on clicks through ppc advertisements.
So there you have it, our tips to get you started with search engine marketing. Do you think we missed on some important tips? kindly use the comment section below to share your views, we always look forward to hearing from you
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