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Does your website get found in online search?

Here is some great information from GrowthPanel on how to determine if your website content meets your potential customer needs

Search marketing is about gaining visibility on search engines when users search for terms that relate to your product/service/organization. For most companies, ranking highly in search results isn’t luck – it’s a result of solid effort in one or both categories of search marketing.

  • Organic Search:  When you enter a keyword or phrase into a search engine like Google or Yahoo!, the organic results are displayed in the main body of the page.When prospects search for information about your products and services, it’s important to rank high in search engine results. By “optimizing” your site, you can improve your ranking for important search terms and phrases (“keywords”). You can also improve your ranking by getting other important sites to link to yours.
  • Paid Search:  Paid search enables you to buy listings in the “sponsored” area of a search engine. There are a variety of paid search programs, but the most common is called pay-per-click (PPC), meaning you pay for a listing only when a user clicks your ad.

Search marketing in B2C is straightforward — searchers look for products/services to purchase or research prior to making a purchase decision.

For B2B, it’s a little trickier. Just like consumers, business buyers use search engines to find products and services. Studies show that most business people research problems, potential purchases, and prospective vendors online, and they use a search engine to facilitate the process. And the higher the price of the product or service, the earlier in the process they begin their search.  A search marketing firm, Enquiro Search Solutions, conducted a study among nearly 1,500 businesspeople and found that:

  • 93% research business purchases online and 89% of that group uses a search engine
  • 64% start the research process with a search engine
  • 83% of business users prefer Google

The higher the price of the product/service, the earlier the buyer uses a search engine for research. Business buyers also tended to use search early in the buying process:

 

  • In which of these buying phases were you when you used a search engine?
  • Percent
  • Very early in research, little knowledge of product or service
  • 46.2
  • Later in research phase, some idea but wanted comparisons
  • 30.2
  • Knew exactly, wanted reviews/articles
  • 11.3
  • Knew exactly, wanted to find best place to buy
  • 12.3

If you’re B2B, what does this mean for you? Below are some suggestions. When you understand users’ needs as they search for solutions, you can improve your site to meet their needs.

 

Visitor Stage % Ideas for Improving Your Website
Very early in research; has little knowledge of product or service 46.2 Focus on creating trust and educating your prospects. Prospects at this stage aren’t ready to buy, so make them comfortable that you’re a resource. If you try to close the prospect now, you’ll fail.Make sure your website offers valuable, unbiased and general information. Prospects aren’t ready for detail at this phase; they need basic information about the solution and how it’s relevant to them.

Create content that shows how your solution generally differs from other broad options.

Create a white paper that prospects can download by providing some basic information so you can follow up when the time is right.

Encourage visitors to call (or allow you to call) to provide information.

Later in research phase; has some idea but wants comparisons 30.2 Encourage visitors to call and speak with a rep.Provide comparisons to enable them to easily see how your solution compares with your competition.

Offer a quote or more detailed information if they provide very basic information so you can follow up.

Late in process; knows what s/he wants; needs reviews/articles to choose a specific solution 11.3 Offer case studies and articles that are easily accessed from the homepage – these prospects are closer to buying and know what they want.Encourage visitors to contact you for a detailed quote or to purchase.

Provide comparisons to enable them to easily see how your solution compares with that of your competition.

Use testimonials and endorsements to provide social proof.

Knows exactly what s/he wants and is ready to buy; wants to find best place to buy 12.3 Make it very easy to buy the exact product/service they need – they should be able to easily find it from the homepage.Make sure you deliver the product info they want in the fewest number of clicks possible. The more they have to hunt for information, the more likely they are to leave.

Make sure the checkout process is simple with all information (like shipping) disclosed early.

Make sure your return policies, warranty information, and other details are simple and logical to find.

Evaluate Search Marketing Options

There are two basic categories of search marketing: organic search (referred to as “SEO” for search engine optimization) and paid search (referred to as “SEM” for search engine marketing).

Category How It Works How You Do It
Organic Search (SEO) When you enter a keyword or phrase into a search engine like Google or Yahoo!, the “organic” search results are displayed in the main body of the page. If you don’t find what you want on the first page, you may click several pages deep, then try another term if you’re unsuccessful.Search engines “spiders” or “bots” visit websites, grab information and calculate the site’s subject matter.

The engines return sites that the database believes are most relevant to your search.

If a user is searching specifically for your company/product/service, you may show up on the first or second pages without doing anything special to your website.However, if you want your site to show up when a prospect is looking for broader information, you should “optimize” your site to show up for different search terms.

“Search engine optimization,” or “SEO,” can be a complex topic. Yet there are simple things you can do to greatly improve your rankings and generate free traffic to your site.

For some businesses, generating only a handful of additional serious prospects can make a substantial difference in revenue. Using SEO may easily produce these additional prospects.

Paid Search (SEM) Marketers bid for placement for selected keywords or phrases. There are different types of programs including the most popular “pay per click” (or PPC) option – a marketer only pays for the listing if the user actually clicks the listing.PPC is a true pay-for-performance program, can generate very targeted traffic and it is instantly measurable.

Paid listings are displayed differently than organic listings. They may be displayed at the top, side and/or bottom of the page (varies by search engine).

Google and other content networks also allow you to pay to place text, display and video ads on other sites, triggered by content that is relevant to your selected keywords. This is covered in 21 – Online Advertising, since these ads don’t display on search engines.

 

To generate traffic through paid search, you create an account with one or more paid search networks. You then choose your program, your keywords and phrases, and enter bids for placement.When your program goes live, the network bills your account for the traffic you receive. For example, if you’re running a PPC campaign, you’ll be billed for each click on your listing.

You’ll need to designate a “landing page” for these campaigns, and you’ll want to make sure your landing page is designed to convert your visitors so that they continue to click deeper into your site. For example, if you used your existing home page, it might not be specific enough for your visitor, and you may loose them.

A good paid search program involves continuous keyword research, careful monitoring of your bids, and strong focus on converting your click-throughs into active prospects for your company.

Here you can evaluate your marketing goals to determine if SEO, SEM or both are right for you.

Marketing Goal SEO SEM
Need to generate traffic very quickly X
Need to generate more traffic and have time to research, rewrite and potentially redesign your site to capture more qualified traffic X X
Need to generate as much traffic as possible to your site X X
Want to generate traffic to very specific subject areas on the site X X
Want to invest in a long-term search marketing program X
Want to generate traffic for a wide variety of keywords X
Want to launch time-sensitive campaigns that focus on very specific topics or offers X
Want to build more brand awareness through publicity X  X
Need to establish a stronger brand presence on the web X  X
Have a very small marketing budget and are looking for measurable, repeatable programs to generate leads X X

In SEO, your ultimate goal is to get your site listed in the top 10 Google results (the first page) for a few targeted search terms that your prospects are using. Most keywords have a great deal of competition so the task is challenging, but you should still try to rank for very targeted terms. At the very least, your prospects need to find you in the top 10 when they enter your company’s name in the search bar. To optimize your site, you’ll need to make sure its content, design and underlying coding are attractive to search engine spiders, the programs that crawl the web, decide what each page is about and rank pages against other.

What to do next?

If you would like some help setting up your SEO visit our Digital Marketing Services Page.

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