Search Engine Advertising

Search Engine Advertising

Search Engine Advertising is a term that is inherently confusing. Some use this term interchangeably with “Sponsored Search” or “Pay per Click Advertising”, as in “Google AdWords”. Of course, these are actual advertisements that are tied to specific keyword or phrases. As such, they are targeted advertisements because they are only viewed based on the keyword itself. Others use this term to mean “Organic Search Engine Optimization” or “SEO”, which in fact are not advertisements. Rather, these are listings based strictly on relevance as rated by the search engines themselves. These listings are not purchased or bid upon like PPC; they are earned through highly sophisticated optimization techniques. Successful Organic Optimization results in prominently visible listings with no cost to the website owner, no matter how many times the listing is displayed or clicked.

Regardless of the context, PPC or SEO, Search Engine Advertising is always centered on keywords. This is in striking contrast to traditional advertising such as Direct Mail, Telemarketing, TV / Radio, Print Advertising, Billboards. Traditional Advertising “comes at you.” Thus you are rarely seeing or hearing the ad precisely when you are looking for the exact product or service. For instance, Direct Mail Advertising is considered very successful with a 1% response rate in many instances. Even lower percentages are considered successful using print media as well as TV/Radio. Even with email marketing, which is not traditional, relatively low return rates are good. This is because they are all unsolicited forms of advertising contact initiated by the seller.

Search Engines are the direct opposite as it is the buyer who actually initiates the contact. Both PPC and SEO are targeted by the companies engaged in Search Engine Advertising, and both strategies employ relevant keywords and phrases to attract likely interested parties. Hence, those searching for specific products, services, information, etc. are likely to find exactly what they are looking for on the first 1 or 2 pages of a Google search. A well executed PPC or SEO strategy will result in high visibility at or near the top of the relevant keyword search result pages.

The fundamental advantage of Search Engine Advertising should be obvious. With the searcher or potential buyer initiating the search, it is being done at a date and time precisely when the user deems the information or product important enough to focus on. It doesn’t occur at inappropriate or on untimely occasions, as virtually all of the traditional forms of advertising do. Traditional advertising can never be this targeted because there is no control as to when and under what circumstances the advertising will be seen or heard. So, if your Search Engine Advertising program makes you visible in the first seconds of a user-initiated search, you have the maximum possibility of being found precisely when the buyer is actually ready to buy. The psychological power of this cannot be overstated. Consider the typical reaction of most individuals when they are faced with unsolicited advertising coming at them, versus the state of mind of an intentional search for products, services or information—and  finding it immediately with no one pressuring you to do anything!

One exception is the Yellow Pages. For over a century it was the low tech and primitive search engine. People opened up the yellow pages only when they needed to get a phone number to actually act on something. However, when was the last time you used the yellow pages? With Google, Yahoo, et al, it now seems counter-intuitive to open the bulky book and leaf through all those pages. And if you want to get listings outside your local area, you might have to even buy other bulky books. This activity is kind of extraneous now that you can just open up Google and type exactly what you are looking for with instant results.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out here that just because you have these great search engines and you can employ sophisticated PPC and SEO professional techniques to be seen by your targeted audience, it doesn’t mean that you are going to be successful; you have won only half the battle. Once your visitors land on your site, you have to grab their attention—in  seconds! Website searchers are inherently exacting in nature and impatient; there has to be an immediate, compelling reason to read on (or otherwise engage with your website). If you can’t grab the user’s attention right away, they are back to the search page to look at someone else.

So, if you are seeking SEO, PPC or “Search Engine Advertising,” whatever you want to call it, you have to CONVERT the visitors to customers. Search Engine Advertising strategy must be about CONVERSION in addition to VISIBILITY. To achieve the highest conversion rates possible, you must have an excellent “grab” followed up with a very precise conversion “funnel” that leads the visitor through the site, each page being more and more targeted and focused on the conversion step.

Search Engine Advertising has many advantages over traditional advertising and marketing methods. It basically comes down to this; do you like your chances more if someone is beating a path to your door or if you are trying to get the attention of non-targeted, random people who are overwhelmingly not interested, at least at the moment of contact? A professionally executed Search Engine Advertising strategy combined with a solid value proposition is the best success strategy yet in the 21st century.

For more information on Optimum7 Search Engine Advertising and a free consultation, please contact us.

September 2, 2011