for stronger sales, it is wise to go where the game is.
When the game gets very much smarter, wise hunters learn
to adapt. - quote found inscribed in obscure cave formation
near Fernwood BC.
As the oft' quoted
phrase goes, "...the more things change, the more
they stay the same." This phrase can be applied to
the search engine marketing sector time and time again.
Though several events in the business world of search
attracted major media attention last week, interest in
organic search has re-emerged among webmasters and search
Two years after the popularization of pay-per-click
programs, advertisers are starting to form sophisticated
strategies combining managed PPC campaigns and consistent
are rapidly changing as buyers are researching their
purchases online before spending their money. A recent
study,"Search Before the Purchase " from DoubleClick
and comScore Networks notes half of all online purchases
are preceded by multiple product-specific searches.
A similar tendency
occurs in the brick and mortar retail world with consumers
using search engines as product catalogs researching products,
vendors and even the fastest routes before heading out
The study also
offers a number of valuable insights into how consumers
use search engines to research products they are interested
in. Using a list of 30 sites from the Apparel, Computer
Hardware, Sports/Fitness, and Travel industries, the researchers
examined the habits of 1.5 million U.S. Internet users.
It followed the long-term behaviors of identified people
who made at least one purchase on one of the 30 sites
in the survey. The findings will not surprise organic
search engine marketers as they confirm the high value
of strong search engine placement.
Know what your
potential buyers want to know.
selection stands out as the most important point in the
survey. On average, about 75% of pre-purchase search is
conducted using generic terms. Only 18.1% - 28.5% of searchers
looked for brand names. It is only when consumers are
close to making a final purchase decision that they enter
brand names into search engines.
tend to know what they want.
part of their methodology, comScore looked at the number
of searches conducted using generic terms and brand names
and compared the results with the number of actual clicks
those searches generated. While search users looking for
travel information only typed brand names 21.2% of the
time, they clicked on (eventually purchasing) brand name
generated results 21.5% of the time, the lowest disparity
between use of brand in search and actual clicks generated
tend to think about clothes, a lot.
the apparel sector, search engine users typed a brand
name 27.5% of the time, clicking through an average of
32% of the time. Interestingly, a high degree of pre-purchase
research is seen in the apparel sector often starting
months before buying. Six to ten weeks before actually
selecting a product, online shoppers start entering generic
terms. As the weeks go by, they hone in on specific brand
names and brand items until they find exactly what they
are looking for. Similar behaviors are shown in the three
other sectors studied.
is a poor way to gage success.
television advertising, sales on search engines stem from
effectively branding a product and putting that brand
in front of consumers time and time again.
the study, "...most buyers complete their in-market
search engine research two or more weeks before the make
a purchase online." The correct way to measure the
success of an optimization campaign is heavily debated
in the Search Engine Marketing community and centers around
Return on Investment (ROI) vs. Top10 Placement.
Many SEOs believe that the achievement of Top10
placements should be the reportable goal while others
believe that ROI is the only relevant outcome. According
to the results of the study, both are important with ROI
(as assumed by clicks) directly related to consistent
Top10 placements throughout the research/buying cycle.
Brand it and they will come.
engine users are looking to make the smartest, most
cost-effective purchase possible. The study proves what
most SEOs have known for years, search users are increasingly
savvy consumers. With a world wide web of information
in front of them, search users are instantly accessing
the information they feel the need to know before buying.
While researching, they are going to come across
several brand names, some more than others. The search
world shares the rule of branding with other forms of
traditional media. Regardless of how a search engine
user sees your product name, the more often they see
it, the better chance they will at least look at your
As with the various traditional marketing vehicles,
placement plays a large role in consumer confidence
and loyalty. A product or brand reference that consistently
appears in the Top10 organic results with corresponding
PPC results and advertising on other relevant websites
tends to sell best.
most interesting development in the world of search
this week is a sense of a newly minted pattern developing
in SEO/SEM techniques. The DoubleClick - comScore study
is one of a growing number of papers showing the high
value of organic results as part of an overall search
marketing strategy. Today's search environment offers
advertisers more options than any other medium that
has ever existed.
The success of a search marketing campaign is
greatly enhanced with organic search engine placement
but the end result comes down to how advertisers and
their search marketers uses the increasing number of
tools at their disposal.
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