Think about the last time you searched for something online. Whether it was a local service or a product from your favorite national brand, chances are, you found what you were looking for. Did you think about HOW you got to that point?
You may not know this, but there is an entire industry that revolves around getting you (the searcher/consumer) to that specific point.
Traditional Marketing VS Online Marketing
When many hear the terms “marketing” or “advertising,” the assumption is that it has to do with traditional media (television, radio, and print advertising). What most don’t realize is that A LOT of work and strategy is put into marketing businesses and companies online.
There’s a lot of information floating around the Internet with research and tips for search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing, search engine rankings, paid search, etc. Luckily, with the explosion of this industry, third-party companies have sprouted to help businesses figure out exactly what this means and how implementing an Internet marketing strategy can have enormous effects on their business.
While there are many aspects of Internet marketing (display advertising, video advertisements, etc.), I’d like to make this blog post focus on search engine marketing.
What is Paid Search?
Refer to my beginning example of searching for something online. There are search engine options available, but it’s likely that you chose Google (if you didn’t, my apologies!). Did you happen to notice that the first result presented was an advertisement?
What this means is that a company is using Google AdWords. I typed in “Flights to Charlotte, NC” and was presented with a link to CheapOair. The text in the ad reflects what I was searching for, and that was no accident. Here’s how it works:
- A user searches for something using keywords (i.e. my “Flights to Charlotte, NC”).
- A company (CheapOair) is bidding on that keyword, meaning that when a user types that keyword in, they are competing to show on the first page/first results.
- If I click, CheapOair pays. If I don’t click, they do not pay (this is where the term “Pay-Per-Click” comes in). That’s the beauty of PPC – companies ONLY pay for visitors clicking on the ads (and it’s also very easy to track where advertising dollars are going and return-on-investment).
Keep in mind that this was just the Reader’s Digest version of paid search – there’s a multitude of other factors at hand and it takes serious strategy and experience to get it down right. Atilus is an AdWords Certified Agency (the only one from Tampa to Miami) and it took a lot of experience (and tests!) to get there.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization is the process of optimizing your website through content, links, and other activities to help its ranking on search engines (again – this is the Reader’s Digest version). Let’s use my search for flights to North Carolina again as an example.
The image you see is a list of websites that are displayed organically, i.e. Expedia did NOT pay to have them show up on the first page of Google.
That is the exact reason why SEO is important – to be displayed on the first page of any search engine for keywords directly related to user’s search and your business will prove to be invaluable down the road.
It’s important to keep in mind that SEO is a process and not an event and it’s vital to pick an Internet marketing agency knows the ins and outs of SEO and that it doesn’t mean simply stuffing pages with keywords. As so elegantly pointed out by Tim Ash at the Conversion Conference, “optimize, but do NOT mess with the user experience.”