Focus on your customers – Six ways to win at search marketing

To gain traffic and visibility from search engines, you need to implement search marketing, which can involve both paid and unpaid or organic efforts.

Organic search marketing involves Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) which is all about ensuring your website can be easily found by those people looking for you or your products. The goal is to be on Google’s first page of organic search terms. Simply put, all the content you create on your website should have the end goal of SEO optimisation.

Paid search is where advertising tools are such as Google Adwords are used. These are keyword based text ads on Google’s search pages, where the keywords work as triggers. Whenever a user types the keyword into the Google search engine, your ad will be shown; typically at the top, bottom, or on the side of a search engine results page. These ads look similar to organic results.

When considering search marketing activity there’s a few things that you need to think about.

The “I don’t have a big budget” limiting mindset

There’s no getting away from the fact that the more budget you have, the more you can do in terms of digital marketing activity.

However, there’s a lot that can be done that’s very cost effective and allows your brand to be found on the web. This includes having a well-written, optimised website, having interesting, relevant blogs, effective use of social media. Then there’s also paid activity, so using Google Adwords etc. If investing in paid activity carry out a test to see how effective it is.

Understand your customer journey

You need to understand how customers engage with your brand. What are the main search terms? Ask yourself:

  • What search terms will get you in front of the right new customers? And which are the most cost effective/realistic to target?
  • Does a customer, or should I expect a customer to learn about my brand/product/service and convert there and then? If not, what’s the next key touch points and search terms to build trust and credibility?
  • How can I ensure when someone is looking for my product that I deliver the right landing page and give them the right information to buy from me and not someone else? 

Surprisingly, don’t always focus on terms which directly lead to sales as focusing on conversion has a saturation point. You need brand awareness activity to grow and search has a key part. Building awareness for your company means more people know about your products and results in a bigger pool of potential customers to engage with and convert.

So that’s all very well, but what do you actually have to do?

Content is vital for SEO and rankings

Start with thoroughly understanding your audience, their interests and pain points. Then create a content strategy based on the subjects would be helpful and interesting to them. Do all this before starting on any content pieces. No one wants a thinly veiled sales pitch dressed up as a blog.

Don’t be boring

Search engines look for content that real people would find useful, ultimately if you don’t know why your customer would want to read it / watch it / listen to it, don’t make it. It’s less about quantity of pieces and more about the quality.

Below’s an example of the sales funnel and the content required for different stages of the customer journey of a make up brand.

As well as focusing on your own site there’s a few other things that will help boost your search rankings

These including building a fan base across social media platforms, affiliating with high-traffic sites

SEO takes time, sometimes a long time to deliver results

SEO is important, and driving organic traffic can create a sustainable source of traffic. The way SEO has changed means ranking is harder. If you want to be on page one on Google, you need to do these things better than your competitors already there.

This takes time to achieve, even sometimes over a year.

An effective SEO strategy has three core areas:

Technical Optimisation – making sure your website is technically sound and optimised for what consumers want/expect from your product/services.

Content – search engines such as Google use content to understand what you’re communicating and selling.

Authority – Google ranks predominantly based on authority and relevance. To get authority you need to get links from relevant, high-authority sites pointing back to your site.

Think small

When it comes to SEO and driving search rankings do this in stages. Take time to build brand awareness with the search engines, and generating the need for users to search for you, forcing search engines to look for you.

All of these points will help build SEO authority – the key to success with search engines like Google.

Beyond this and to support your SEO activity another way of driving traffic to your website and to familiarise potential sales leads with your brand is with an online advertising campaign using paid search such as Google AdWords.

By David Schulhof, owner, Red Hot Penny