Long gone are the days of jamming keywords into content, trading links with every site under the sun and building banner ads. Search engine marketing has changed from a systematic approach of building links to a well thought-out marketing plan backed by ingenuity, creativity and content syndication. The marketing techniques that ranked web sites a year ago can now penalize a web site and drop them twenty pages deep on the search engine results pages.
Online advertising services through SEM camaigns is about building authority for a web site and a business. The integration of content marketing and social media web promotion campaigns are designed to create marketplace expertise and establish rapport with future clients. Developing a reputation as a solution provider through syndicated media that reach multiple marketing channels can establish a business as an industry leader and increase visibility.
The majority of our internet marketing clients approach us after being victims of unscrupulous marketing agencies that not only damaged their brand… they destroyed the URL that their business was built with. In some cases, a web site was penalized so much that it was beyond repair. A new URL and web site had to be created in order to establish a framework that could be marketed. At 2 The Top Marketing we understand the importance of your domain name and see it as part of the foundation that your business was constructed on. A business domain name must be protected at all times from being inflicted with potential penalties.
Most marketing agencies focus on keyword ranking as a measurement of success for a search engine marketing campaign. Business owners are flooded with emails from advertising agencies claiming a first page ranking in Google or top placement for a one-time fee. At 2 The Top Marketing we pay close attention to search engine rankings of our clients but it is one of many different factors that can show a positive trend within a campaign. But traffic that can be converted into a customer is a far more meaningful measurement. There is more to search engine marketing than top placement for a specific search term. I would bet that the majority of businesses are spending marketing dollars trying to position themselves for keywords that have very little return on investment. Part of the reason for this is that the keywords believed to generate revenue do not convert to sales. The most important part of an SEM campaign is determining which phrases to market and which terms reach an ideal consumer base.
The algorithms that return results for search queries continually change in order to provide better results. Ranking penalties are now applied to sites that over-optimize for a specific keyword. Sites that are rewarded are those that use multiple words or phrases within a market and discuss concepts within or surrounding a keyword. If written and constructed correctly, one page of content should be able to show up for multiple searches queries surrounding a particular topic. The goal is to provide better content to site visitors, allow search engines to quickly understand a subset of phrases content is focused on and allow for site traffic through multiple search queries.
Understanding analytics and search engine metrics is what allows us to make educated decisions about a marketing campaign. What data is really valuable? We can look at ranking position, social media ‘Likes’, or site traffic but at the end of the day, conversions are what actually matters. The purpose of marketing a web site is to create leads or increase sales. Any other measurement outside of these two objectives may be noteworthy but not a signifier of reaching a campaigns ultimate goals.
Data reduces the emotional attachment to a marketing campaign. Many clients initially approach us wanting to rank for a specific keyword believing it generates conversions. Maybe the keyword phrase is based on the desire to top a competitor or maybe it is a word commonly used in a business marketplace. However, beating a competitor is not the goal of a campaign. More often than not, competitors are marketing the wrong way and following the heard can return poor results. Ranking for a phrase your industry uses rather than the keywords potential clients are using to search is a common error that search data can uncover. The proof of a successful campaign are measurements of the results and not determined by secondary factors.
Analytics don’t just show us results of our marketing campaigns… analytics drives our campaigns.
Understanding the nuances of search engine marketing combined with inbound marketing strategies 2 The Top Marketing constructs inbound marketing campaigns designed to convert traffic. The first phase of any SEM campaign is to complete a site analysis. Search engine make note of specific site attributes and they view a web site entirely different than what a person can see. The biggest flaw we find is the amount of and quality of site content. The biggest argument to adding additional content to a site is that “Users don’t want to read that much text.” Visitors to a site do not want to read endless amounts of extraneous text because the problem with it is not the length but rather, it is not informative enough, does not have a unique look at an issue or simply is not written well.
Content marketing can boost traffic through search engines. Search engines love well written and original content and site visitors will read because it has value and it is delivered correctly. Part of the site marketing analysis is looking at how content on a site is structured. Is it broken into easily understood headers, is there a table of contents to easily allow readers to jump to important aspects of the text and does the content provide enough original and educated ideas to be worthy of reading. More often than not, site content just reiterates the same ideas and thoughts as that of a business’s competitors.
One of the key aspects to search engine marketing is looking at user experience. Engaging content keeps visitors on a web site longer and reduces the bounce rate. Let’s look at this scenario:
A visitor finds your site ranked high on a search engine so they click to visit your web site. If they immediately return to the search engine it is a clear sign that your web site did not fulfill the search query. Not every visitor is going to love what you have to offer and every site has bounces but if the bounce rate is high it tells the search engine that you should not be ranking for that keyword. Keeping people on your web site and providing a lot of content that delivers information or solutions reduces bounce rates. Web sites that incorporate multiple forms of media on a page can also reduce bounce rate. A video or graphic heavy web page can hold attention far easier than text alone.
A web site is not the only online marketing tool we implement into a SEM campaign. Search engine traffic typically goes to a web site but in many cases, properly optimized social media profiles can rank for phrases that generate traffic as well. There are a few aspects of ranking additional media on search engines that are appealing. There are a limited number of available ranking positions on a search engine results page. If a business can occupy several of those positions it not only increases traffic but occupies a slot a competitor would otherwise occupy. Seeing multiple listings of the same business in search results brands a business and builds credibility. “Clearly it is a good business if Google returns several results for the same business.” Multiple listings provides the perception that a business is bigger and more in touch with a market.