About Search Marketing for Small Businesses
Search marketing, sometimes referred to as inbound marketing, is the process of making sure your business shows-up on the internet to the people who are actively looking for what you have or do. It is only good for products and services that are actively searched for.
Historically, that is to say before the internet age, most forms of marketing were disruptive, typically described as "outbound marketing". The term "disruptive" used in this sense means, interrupting what people are doing to see your ad. This describes most forms of traditional advertising, regardless of the medium.
When an ad appears on the TV, the people that watch that channel or program are typically not looking for the product or service being promoted.
This is true for magazines, newspapers, sports promotions, telemarketing, billboards and direct mail.
Everything Changed with the Browser Based Search Engine
Internet based search engines are by definition a technology that completely changed marketing. This is because they gave people the first really effective global method of finding what they wanted. For the first time people could search for what they wanted and find it in seconds.
Prior to that, the nearest equivalent tool for finding things would be very large books called phone directories and yellow pages style publications. These now redundant publications are to search engines what word of mouth is to telephones.
Search engines have become so effective at enabling people to find just about anything easily and quickly that the term "google" has become a noun for effective search. To ‘google it’ is to search by the most effective method possible.
Search Marketing – Be found by People Actively Looking for You
Search marketing, therefore, focuses on the process of creating and aligning content that matches what people are specifically looking for.
If you offer dog training in Irvine California then you need to create content that is specifically designed to show-up when people are looking for dog training in Irvine.
The Key-phrase was Born
In the old Outbound Marketing paradigm, the ad was the primary mechanism for getting in front of clients that might or might not want your service or products.
In the new Inbound Search Marketing paradigm, the goal is to simply show-up when people are looking for what you do.
To a degree this puts the user, the customer, in control.
Hence rather than designing an ad, the small company looking to grow their business must create content that shows-up!
Is it Enough to Simply Show-up?
Well, it’s a good start! If you have a great service it won’t do you much good if people don’t see it.
Assuming you are not the only game in town, the challenge is to show-up ahead of your competitors. If you are not the only business offering the product or service in question, it is therefore necessary to provide more compelling, more relevant, more engaging content than your competitors.
As the best most relevant content generally wins, search marketing can be very competitive. Small local businesses however have an advantage. This advantage is due to the fact that the local competition is usually much less competitive than in national markets. It is only necessary to be visible in the specific area appropriate to your business.
This is simply because the most highly converting form of marketing is one that puts you in front of the people that are actively looking for what you do. Search marketing does just that.
Ignore this form of marketing at your peril. If you are not visible to most of the people looking for what you have, the largest part of your market is lost to you.
People Have To… Already be Looking for What You Provide
Search marketing is not ideal for companies that have something that people are not specifically looking for.
New products that people do not know exist are typically poor candidates for search marketing. If no one is actually looking for what you do, then there is nowhere to actually show up. In those instances a more traditional disruptive advertising model is usually more appropriate.
For example, the new gadget that does something not actually done before, rarely benefits from search marketing. Search marketing is not ideal for creating new markets.
The first question we therefore ask potential new search marketing clients is, "what do people type into a search engine when they are looking for what you do?" Hence the search key-phrase is king in search marketing.
If after doing extensive research, no key-phrase can be identified, then search marketing is probably not the best form of marketing for that product.
Search Marketing Equals Showing-up – Being Found when Looked For
Search marketing, therefore, is the process of making sure you are highly visible to the very people who are actively looking for what you have or do.
The Truth About and the Evolution of Search Marketing
Actual methods for showing up in search engines have changed drastically over the last few years and months. Search marketing methods have matured from sneaky little tricks to the necessity of providing great subject specific content on a regular basis that attracts and engages people.
Thus presenting your business as an expert or a thought leader in your market.
Key-phrases have evolved from short "dog training" style key-phrases to natural language search styles such as "local dog training service in southern Miami".
The prevailing best practice is to create very subject specific, yet comprehensive, content and let the key-phrases take care of themselves. This sounds okay in principal, however, if you do not use the language of the searcher, you are unlikely to show up in the searches the searcher types.
To complicate everything there are many other subtly related factors that influence whether your business will show-up.
Some examples of these include:
- Page load speed
- Site and page engagement
- Click-through rates
- Smart use of HTML schemas
- Social signals
- Image optimization
- Inter-page linking
- Local listings
- Citations and reviews
To name just a few of the more important ranking factors.
Search engines will compete to present the best content to searchers. What constitutes the best content however, is an ever moving target.
The process of identifying the best content is being constantly refined by the search engines. In general though, the best content is the content that the search engines think is the best. The search engines employ ever more sophisticated methods of detecting what they think is the best.
When the search engines discover businesses that use sneaky tricks to cause their content to show-up, that business will typically disappear from the most visible search results.
Sneaky Tricks Usually Fall into Two Broad Categories
The two main categories of sneaky tricks are artificial links and keyword manipulation or stuffing. Artificial links are mostly automated ways of getting large numbers of references that link to your website and are placed on other websites and related web properties.
Keyword manipulation is the process of artificially loading key-phrases into web properties to trick the search engines into ranking a website, or page, higher. This is done on the assumption that the search engines will think if the phrase is mentioned more times than on a competitive site, then it must be more relevant.
These tricks used to be extremely effective in ranking websites at the top of the search results. Nowadays however, they are largely ineffective and often cause a significant penalty in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Need to be found by Your Ideal Clients?
Increase the visibility of your small local business safely and effectively. Make sure that your services show-up.
Call Holistic Web Presence +1 (801) 349 8226 or complete a contact request form.
The first thing we will do is assess your business and your market to ascertain the viability of search marketing to get you more customers.