Search marketing – or how to be found online by target customers. The core, proven techniques of driving traffic, generating enquiries, increasing conversions.
It’s now so intrinsic to e-commerce practice that it’s not surprising that business owners or company CEOs quite rightly demand results.
Even if they only have a vague picture of how it all works and can sometimes struggle to grasp the full panoramic view.
Even in the age of an all-pervasive social media, maximising online performance always requires a select and precise marketing strategy.
But for businesses to succeed today, optimisation relies upon more than temporary attention grabbing. Visitors need their search query properly answered and to respond in the desired way to a call to action (CTA).
Search intent is a primary factor
There are now an estimated 5.5 billion searches on Google daily – or over 63,000 search queries every second, according to Internet Live Stats.
In 2018, more than half (52.2 per cent) of all website traffic was generated via a mobile – up from 50.3 percent in the previous year (Statista).
The competition for attention, even within a niche market, keyword search can still be formidable.
But beyond all the usual mind-boggling Google search statistics, it’s worth being aware that Google’s top UK trending queries in 2018 were (i) World Cup (ii) Meghan Markle and (iii) Royal Wedding.
Even more insightful are the Top ‘How To…?’ queries, which were (i) How to watch Fury vs. Wilder? (ii) How to floss dance? and (iii) How to watch the Champions League final? Search intent and finding a solution to a problem is now established as a primary factor in Google’s site page rankings, no matter what form the queries take.
Nevertheless, a recent market survey of 1,000 small to medium businesses – comprising 72 per cent single outlets and 50 per cent of 1-5 employees – appears to have found a sea-change has taken place.
Over reliance on short term social ‘tactics’
The use of paid social media (i.e. Facebook) as well as ‘own website’ and email topped the list of marketing activities. It’s always important to question how indicative a ‘sample’ survey is.
But the results do seem to reveal an over reliance on short term social ‘tactics’, and so-called ‘last-click” ROI thinking is still being used as a guiding approach rather than an informed, inclusive marketing strategy.
It begs the question of whether search intent and consumer behaviour is being adequately understood.
More importantly, there’s an indication of a lack of the necessary in-house skills necessary to coordinate an integrated campaign strategy of bedrock search marketing and social media messaging.
The problem often is that budget-conscious small businesses can often feel constrained from using a professional search marketing agency.
The lack of insider technical knowledge not only shows but can potentially be damaging.
One issue can sometimes be the misunderstood relationship between social media sharing and SERP (Search Engine Results Pages).
Social media shares do not impact Google rankings
It is a generally agreed observation that while there is a correlation between social media shares and higher rankings, there is not a direct causal effect.
A huge spike in content sharing on social media channels does not impact Google rankings.
On the other hand, content that ranks well on Google often leads to a significant number of social shares. What’s really happening is highly shared content is more likely to be linked to from other websites.
It is these additional backlinks that are the cause of improved rankings, which in turn, leads to increased social media activity.
Search marketing remains the essential inter-disciplinary method underpinning search intent and solution-finding online.
Interestingly, the sample survey also reveals that more than two thirds of the respondents recognised that their own marketing was “not keeping up with consumer behaviour”.
Which is not a good look for business – in online search or social media.