When hunting 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 organic placements.
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 to shop.
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.
Keyword 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.
As 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 by brand-names.
tend to think about clothes, a lot.
In 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.
Much like television advertising, sales on search engines stem from effectively branding a product and putting that brand in front of consumers time and time again.
According to 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.