Marketing to Search Engines 101

OK, here’s a question: How much revenue did your website generate for your business in 2011? If you answered, “none, my business doesn’t sell anything online”, then strap on those learning spurs cowpoke ‘cause you’ve come to the right place!

Nowadays, true online revenue is seldom classified as merely a finite number, but incorporates a best-guess amalgamation of your business’s coveted brand equity and websites’ dynamic range. Simply put: the greater number of right people that know about and can find your business, the greater the chance for overall success. The catalyst for this newfangled measurement you ask? The all-seeing, all-powerful search engine.

Internet usage is at an all time high, and by now even the most stubborn and least computer-savvy have Google’d. To the business world, the search engine has also become the stable for a new breed of success measurement focused on content relevance, optimization, and über-fast search results. (0.08 seconds? Felt more like an eternity!) So while you’re still frantically trying to track down the intern who built your website last millennium, your competitors have embraced technology and are positioning themselves to gobble up as many industry related keyword phrases as they can swallow. (A keyword phrase, for your reference, is a general term defining a set of words used when conducting an online search). Knowing which keywords and phrases your potential customers are using will not only help you increase your business’s visibility in search engine result pages, but ultimately drive traffic to your website.

For my visual thinkers, picture each keyword phrase as a small treasure – a delicate bit of pirate’s booty (no, not the popcorn) awaiting capture by the plundering mongrel horde of competitors. To further this illustration, (and minus any more swashbuckling references) I’d like you to imagine yourself and 10 competitors side by side in a wide-open field. In the distance – perhaps 50 yards away – you notice a group of bight red rubies glistening in the sun. You squint harder to see that beyond the rubies are even bigger and more exotic looking jewels. You glance to your left and suddenly half your competition is on horseback. To the right, your closest competitor has just produced a shiny new motorcycle. You look towards the ground at the trusty sneakers that have carried your business to this point and realize for the very first time, they just won’t be enough to sustain your success for the long-term. It’s a brand new race, and it’s time to upgrade to a better means of transportation. Now where the heck is that motorcycle salesman?!

Although the Internet is devoid of human emotion (for now), as web-conscious business people we’re continuously asking, “where’s the love”? Well, I can sum it up for you in one sentence: ignore anything long enough, and you can pretty well expect to be ignored in return. True, SE’s are getting smarter, but organic search results are only a minor part of the overall search engine marketing process. (And it is a process)

So where to dive in? A great place to start is by identifying those search terms used by potential customers when hunting for information on comparable products and services. While you’re at it, you’ll also want to find out which of your competitors have websites optimized to receive those searches. Most search engine optimizers (SEOs) can generate a relatively low-cost report you’ll be able to use when shaping a new plan of attack. (My company provides this type of study for about $1500.) This part of the process will be to identify what we call “low hanging fruit”, or relative search terms your competitors are either not focused on or not optimized to take advantage of.

The next step is to utilize this information to deploy a new strategy, refocusing your web content to chase some of those highly-searched, low-targeted keywords and phrases to effectively gain greater market share on your competition. This new plan will undoubtedly call for you to get your content in vigorous shape. Now, granted there are certainly those of you out there capable of running every aspect of your business with ease, but the majority of us generally accept the fact there are some things we do well and others better suited for a specialist. Hiring a professional search-engine-savvy copywriter can do wonders for both your content and brand, and could very well be the best marketing investment you’ll make this year. And while I do appreciate the fact that you know your operation better than anyone, the business of writing for the web is tricky business. Better to have backup. – Alex Ribble

For more information about Big Chief Creative Media, please contact us at (714) 794-2226 today!