Only as Good as Your Keyword Research
Before we get into the ways to get you, your products or services onto the front page of google, yahoo, bing, facebook, youtube or any of the other hot sites and in front of your best potential customers, we need to talk about the research done in preparation. This keyword research will guide all our future efforts and make sure we are most likely to get you in front of the right customers that are most likely to convert into actual customers.
One component of this keyword research is the input we get from you during the initial interviews and fact finding. Another component is that we research your competitors sites, customer patterns, your industry’s seasonal patterns and the historic traffic patterns for each site or media channel. The resulting keyword research information will be used to focus on the best, most efficient traffic and lead sources. We typically mix short-term, medium-term and long-term traffic and lead sources from a variety of sites and media for a stable but growing supply of new potential customers.
Search Marketing: Organic vs. Paid For
Organic search marketing is primarily referred to as SEO (search engine optimization) or SEM (search engine marketing), while paid for search marketing is typically call PPC (pay per click) marketing. Organic or paid for, the goal of search marketing is to get your website, google local listing, video, etc. to show up on the front page on google, yahoo, bing and other large search engines where most people now go regularly and habitually to find information before making a purchase…often before even considering to make a purchase. SEO is more specific, while SEM is more general and includes other methods of search engine marketing beyond SEO itself, although it’s not uncommon for internet marketers or business owners to use these two terms interchangeably.
Organic search marketing requires a lot of work including things such as the proper keyword research, the proper building of your website or other web asset so as to rank better, the proper use of content (written, pictures, videos, etc.) on your website or other web assets, the use of specialized softwares and plugins, the building of links from other related websites and web assets back to your website or web asset, etc. This work costs money, but often smaller monthly amounts over a longer period of building / investing, with the primary advantage being that it gets easier to maintain ranking on search engines as you go and the quantity / quality of your traffic and leads will build and improve over time. It does require some maintenance work to maintain the ranking and lead flow, but usually much less than comparable costs of monthly paid for search marketing.
Just as Organic search marketing is slower and builds up over time, the opposite is true of paid for search engine marketing or PPC (pay per click). As soon as the keyword research is done, a PPC campaign on any of the major search engines or social media sites can be started quickly. Quantity of leads can be adjusted quickly up and down to adjust to what’s best for your business as can tweaks and adjustments be made on the fly to improve the campaign. Much like a drug however, these leads must be paids for again and again, typically with a higher price in the long haul compared to organic search traffic. For example, in the first few months of organic traffic, you would be investing money but see few leads so the cost would be higher than ppc, but in a few months, your cost per click or lead may be similar. In 6 months or a year, the cost of your organic clicks or leads will likely be 5-50% of paid for clicks or leads.
Search Marketing: Organic AND Paid For
Ultimately, if you need leads quickly, then PPC can really get things moving quickly, but we almost always recommend doing SEO / SEM in the background to build your organic traffic and leads so that you can save money long-term and reduce your cost per lead along with your business’s profitability. As your organic search marketing increases in lead generation, we can reduce your paid for search marketing…bringing you cost per lead down over 6-12 months.
There are a lot of factors that affect these strategies, so the exact formula and plan for each business in each market at different times in the business cycle can be a bit different. The concepts and general strategies do hold true, but through learning more about your business, constant testing and tweaking we work to get the most leads for the least cost so your business can grow in size and profitability.
Search Marketing: Local vs. National vs. Global
Generally speaking, the smaller the market, the easier it is to target your search marketing and the less competition. This means quicker results and lower cost per lead, but it also means a smaller pool of potential customers. An example of a local organic seo option would be your google local maps listing, which can be claimed, optimized and ranked for the first page of google. At some point, there are only so many people in that population that are searching that day or month. To increase potential customer leads and traffic will mean adding other surrounding markets or moving to a larger market all together.
A suburb with 50,000 people will be proportionately easier to rank for than a city with 500,000 or a huge metro area with 5 million people. The same holds true as your market becomes statewide, regional, national or ultimately global. It’s just a typical issue of scale, but it does introduce some added strategies and options on approaching each of those market sizes differently from the very start, meaning keyword research and the architecture of your website(s).
Authority Sites vs. Sniper Sites
As mentioned earlier, the domain name, way the website is structured, type of content, etc. all are significant factors in making organic SEO harder or easier. Sometimes it’s better to build one massive authority site, but because you can only develop and build links at a certain rate without being penalized or banished by the search engines. In different circumstances, it can often be better to build a network of sites that are laser focused on specific keywords and geographic areas. Just as the larger sites are called “authority sites”, these smaller more focused sites are often called “sniper sites”.
The market and keywords you’ll be targeting have a huge impact on both the costs and quantity of leads that can be funneled to your website or web asset. Once we’ve met with you and have a better handle on your ultimate lead generation goal, we can present the options and suggested strategy to best use authority sites, sniper sites or both along with the projected time frame to generate the total leads needed. Like PPC vs. SEO, sniper sites will produce leads much quicker than authority sites, but the long-term costs and ease of an authority site are still attractive in the long-term. Feel free to call and arrange an initial interview to discuss your business and where you would like to go with it.