In the month of June, RMG has been doing a series of radio broadcasts on Search Marketing, specifically SEO. Below is a script of my interview with Jim Poole on June 5 covering how and why you drive traffic through search marketing. This is a longer version than what you heard on WCCO as we had to cut down on the length in studio, but I thought you would want to see the whole recording.
Jim Poole: Last week we talked about creating a website and tips to think about when doing this. So, now you have a website – how do you get your audiences to visit it?
Jennifer Risdall: Great question and one I hear often. First step is to know your audiences – where they are, what they do, how they find out about you and your services. I think Ted discussed this a bit. Then you look at the tools available to you.
One of my favorites is search marketing. Comscore tells us that search is still growing as people turn to online to find what they are looking for – the number of searches grew 16% in 2009 over 2008. And according to Yahoo’s ROBO study, 89% – 89%! – of consumers research products and services online. Whew! This is where your audiences are looking for your company, your products and/or your services. With search marketing, you have the opportunity to be right in front of them by ranking well in the search engines for those terms that YOUR users are searching for.
Jim Poole: How do you drive traffic through search marketing?
Jennifer Risdall: Search marketing has two primary types: paid or sponsored search and organic search. Both target keyword terms that users type in the search box. Paid search results are listed at the top or the right of the results page and to a certain degree you are able to control what your ads say and where they are placed. Organic search results are the main results on the results page and are determined by the search engine’s algorithm.
I will say that searchers do tend to prefer the organic listings to the paid – in the book, Marketing in the Age of Google, Vanessa Fox states that 85% of searchers click on organic over paid listings. The thought process is that the organic listings are not paid advertisements and are validated by a third party, Google. Whether true or not, the listing in organic results gives the site a more expert status.
Jim Poole: Is organic the way to go?
Jennifer Risdall: Both have advantages and disadvantages. Paid search is able to be up and running right away and can target hundreds, if not thousands of terms without changing your website. However, it is for the now and does not give you any long-term results. It can also be expensive. Eight to ten years ago there weren’t as many people and businesses bidding on keyword terms. As more and more companies understand the value of paid search, competition for keyword terms has increased and so has the amount per click.
Organic search has always been seen as the free way to advertise. That is really a misnomer in that you have to put in time to be ranked well within organic search results. This can be your time, an employee’s time or a search agency’s time but the time has to be put in. Google looks at millions of factors to rank web pages in its index. Your expert has to know what the factors are and how to make changes to your website, pages and links to help your site be found for the keyword terms your audiences are searching for.
It is definitely worth it. In 1996 when I first started working in this market I was constantly trying to show companies why they wanted to be on the first page in the search engines and directories. Now I don’t have to do that. Your audiences are using the search engines to find information about products and services that you offer. It is in your best interest to be where they are looking.