Once upon a time, being found by a potential customer was simple. They would type the name of a product and your Web site would come up in the search results. With more and more e-commerce growth, competition has become fierce, transforming both marketing strategies and even the content of your entire Web site. If you want to sell products or services, you need an entirely new approach to engage with your customers, including the technicalities of search engine optimization (SEO) and a digital marketing campaign that places your product through channels like native advertising and social media. It’s a different ball game and there is no going back.
Google is the largest search engine in the world, with more search activity than Yahoo (ranked 2nd) and Bing (ranked 3rd) combined. If you are an online merchant, you need to embrace Google and the Google PageRank Algorithm (Google PR). This might seem a bit confusing, but one can easily break it down.
If a customer searches for a product, what are the odds you will be on the first page of the search results? Google PR automatically assigns the relevance and importance of a Web page through an algorithm. It additionally utilizes data such as keyword development, meta tags, Web site URLs, formatting, and internal linking to rank your site. The content on your site determines your ranking. As a result, creating a Web page for your online store and providing payment options to your consumers is not enough. Curated content consists of revamping your site to enable it to be ranked higher and as many times as possible in search results across search engines.
When preparing your online marketing budget, you must consider PPC (pay-per-click) and organic search. Bottom line: PPC is expensive while organic search requires changes to your content, but wins in terms of cost-comparison. PPC requires payment to search engines to display your advertising content at the top or on the right side of the page when a potential customer conducts a search. Organic search refers to a case in which, due to curated content, your Web site ranks at the top based on the keyword results and you do not pay the search engine a penny. Cost does not seem to be a deterrent for top players with large budgets. The average U.S.-based company invests about 80% of its online marketing budget on PPC and only about 20% on organic search. This might not be an effective mix.
PPC has advantages. It gives you control over your search results ranking and visibility. A marketing campaign that places your company in the top three ranking positions can generate up to a 90% change of obtaining a click. The problem: if you want to be permanently top-ranked, you have to outbid your competitors. The competition for top results takes a significant chunk of your marketing budget as prices continue to rise based on demand. Depending on your industry sector, your monthly PPC costs can range anywhere from a modest $100 to a preposterous $500,000. Ouch! In addition, the overall effect of PPC of reaching potential customers is not that much higher than that of organic search. The first impact might bring in revenue, but eventually, as a form of paid advertising, PPC wears out.
With organic search, you have to do quite a bit of work on your end to have some type of control over your ranking. Organic search ranking is free and with Web site optimization, can easily get you in the top ten sites appearing when a potential customer conducts a keyword search. Various studies show that a prospective customer will use their results of organic searches over PPC 60-80% of the time. If you want to be on the first search results page and go with an organic search approach, here is the deal: SEO to infinity. When you improve the quantity and quality of your content in a format that is search-engine friendly, you can also be at the top. In order to do so, you must invest on SEO specialists. These companies assess your site and develop keyword-rich and well-formatted content in order for it to be ranked higher on search results. Depending on your current ranking, your site might require a few touch-ups or an entirely new face-lift. In either case, you pay for initial costs and can easily continue to maintain the site. It presents a cost-effective online marketing tactic for any business, especially for smaller companies with limited budgets
Considered from a broader perspective, an effective online marketing campaign can benefit from a combination of PPC and organic search. First, you increase your brand’s exposure by being listed multiple times on search results pages. The more someone sees your brand, the likelier they are to remember it and explore your site. In addition, sometimes you are targeting different markets. Some users value PPC results over those of organic search. This relates to the context of the search as well as the customer’s personal style of online research and purchasing. Thirdly, you are covering both short-term and long-term objectives. PPC might translate into immediate results and might be useful for a new product launch, for instance. Organic search can be a permanent component of your SEO strategy and continue to drive traffic to your site over the long run. If you decided to utilize both, ensure your message is consistent in all your marketing materials.
Because of the intricate nature of search engine ranking, hiring a professional saves you both time and money. Curated content providers can improve the content quality of your Web page as well as measure results. Trying to do it on your own is admirable, but might take several strategic attempts, which can accumulate in terms of cost with minimal ROI. When preparing your online marketing budget, adapt the allocation distribution. If you are conservative, go as little as 70/30. If you work with content curators and feel comfortable, try going 50/50. The results depend on your company’s objectives. However, your CEO and CIO will not be angry if you can save the company a substantial amount of money.