PHYGiTALNOW is a digital marketing consultancy in Dubai, focused on helping SMEs rebuild for growth. Digital transformation can be daunting with constantly evolving dynamics. Often brands are caught unawares when an algorithm changes or a new feature is introduced. Under the BASiCSNOW series, we will publish articles to establish the basics of each discipline within Digital Marketing. In this edition, we focus on Search Marketing and also talk about our SEO services in Dubai.
Everyday millions of people from across the globe do product and service research online, making search marketing a must have strategy for business to grow. Search marketing can be defined as a tactic to increase online presence and traffic through unpaid and paid strategies across search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, Baidu and more. The primary objective is to increase your rankings on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) because research tells us that that the higher you are on the SERPS, the more likely you are to gain traffic to your website.
Search marketing is divided into two main categories:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Pay-Per-Click (PPC)
In this article, we will outline basic steps and share techniques that would get you started on both categories. At PHYGiTALNOW, we recognize the importance of this marketing channel and believe that it’s the first step towards building a stronger, more sustainable revenue model.
Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization is the process of optimizing your website to get organic (unpaid) traffic from the SERP. It involves making changes to your website design, content and external links in an attempt to achieve high ranking. Let’s face it, it is a bit complicated. With the help of available tools, SEO can partly be automated but achieving high Google rankings will require time, effort and the right skills. Search engines are looking to provide results which are not only high in quality but also relevant to the users search. Additionally, user friendliness in terms of navigation and ease of reading also have an impact to the overall search rank. These are the primary factors to keep in mind while building / maintaining your website / blog post to ensure is visible to users when they search.
Following the below 5 steps should put you on the path to search rank success:
- Keyword Research. Figuring out what your customers are searching for. This is one of the most important steps in SEO and your selection can impact the overall process. You need to create a portfolio of search keywords targeting potential clients and create content that adds value and matches their search intent. The Google Keyword Planner is an effective tool to prepare the shortlist looking at factors such as search volumes, competition and average bid price.
- Optimize Content. Creating engaging content and designing seamless UX is essential to gain the trust of search engines. The more quality, relevant content pieces that you have on your site, the more likely search engines will be to rank your pages higher on the search engine results page. Selecting the right content topics that are most relevant to your audience is the secret to success. Second comes the format. Your website will certainly provide users with the information they are looking for but use a variety of formats like blogs, whitepapers, articles, social media and more to create & share content as this will provide a diverse user experience.
- Access for Humans & Robots. The website UX needs to be optimized to provide a seamless experiences to first time or returning visitors and referral visitors from social media, etc. Humans are happy if they are able to quickly find the information they are looking for, therefore navigation, content & load speed are perhaps most important. Robots are interested in ease-to-crawl, page load speed, mobile friendliness, availability of a sitemap and some other technical bits. The website must be optimized for both humans and robots as both will have an impact on the SERP rankings.
- Link Building. Google places link building amongst the top 3 factors that impact SERP rankings. Backlinks are when other websites/pieces of content point to content on your website. No shortcuts here as this a very time consuming, yet critical step. Its time consuming because you need to identify relevant websites, bloggers, authors, etc who could provide referral traffic by linking their content to your websites. Another effective way of link building is for you to guest-blog on behalf of other websites.
- Measure & Repeat. Periodic evaluation of your SEO strategy using a reliable data & analytics platform like Google Analytics is important achieve the desired SERP rankings. The primary metrics to be tracked would be the organic search ranking and therefore the increase in number of organic visitors to your website VS previous months. Other metrics that would support the optimization efforts would be user behavior (time spent, pages viewed, bounce rate, session time), quality inbound links gained and any conversion goals that were set. Based on the periodic review, revisit the steps once again as the journey to top SERP rankings (organically) is a marathon not a sprint.
Pay-Per-Click Search or Paid Search or PPC as its popularly called is an advertising model where you use search engines to deliver traffic to your website. Rather than earning those clicks organically as explained above, you pay once the user clicks on your ad and lands on the website / landing page. As per Statista, PPC advertising accounts for nearly $145 Billion, a share of 45% of the total global online investment. These ads can be identified on the top of the SERP and are marked as ‘sponsored’ or ‘ad’. Paid Search provides the flexibility of targeting a specific audience and/or creating mass brand awareness and also allows advertisers to invest according to their pocket. While it is an extremely effective advertising approach for most online businesses, it is important to continuously evaluate and optimize your campaigns to ensure you are getting the highest ROI.
Following the below 5 steps will ensure that you have a successful paid search campaign:
- Define your goals. This is by far the most important step and getting this wrong could mean wasted ad-spend and poor results. AdWords (Google’s PPC platform) provides several targeting and ad type options which can be selected well if the campaign objectives are clear. Common goals include (not limited to) website traffic, lead generation, eCommerce sales and brand awareness. Most platforms these days are self-serve and very user friendly with instructions to define goals correctly.
- Audience targeting & keyword research. Defining a specific target audience will ensure that you are getting maximum ROI. If you’ve got an existing base of customers, then analyze their demographics, however, if you’re a new business then you will need to define your ideal customer. A good start could be looking at your competitions customers. This know-how will form the basis for your keyword research. Keywords are selected with the sole objective of attracting clicks from potential leads for your business. Selecting the right key words will determine the fate of your campaign. So ensure to spend enough time researching, reviewing and re-reviewing your keyword list. Google’s Keyword Planner is an effective tool to select keywords based on impression volumes and competitive pressure. Based on your budget available, you can select a well spread mix of high and low volume keywords.
- Optimize your landing pages. Landing pages are an integral part of paid search marketing, as they will direct traffic to page specific to a searchers’ query and not the home page. Winning the search auction is a combination of your bid (cost you are willing to pay) and a quality score that is assigned by Google. The quality score is dependent on the relevance of the content that you are offering to the searcher. Therefore, ensure that your landing pages are optimized for the keywords you are targeting. This will increase the probability of your audience seeing the ads.
- Create your ads. It gets a little tricky here given the limited real estate advertisers have and there is so much they want to say. Have an ad-copy that is most relevant to the search query certainly increases the chances of a user clicking and landing on your page. Always keep the objective of the campaign in mind and put yourself in the shoes of the customer, not the brand. This will ensure your copies are more human and less corporate. Include the important keywords (from your keyword research) in your headline and use the description to deliver on the searchers intent. Use ad extensions to provide additional information like operating hours and location as these improve click-through-rates (CTR). Lastly, always create multiple ad copies and continuously review them based on performance.
- Execute, analyze and optimize. Once you’ve launched your campaign, the last step is to monitor its performance and make continuous adjustments. Review your goal(s) and the KPIs that will enable you to measure its performance. These could include but not limited to Impressions, clicks, conversions, cost per click and cost per conversion. Based on performance, bids would need to be increased / decreased for keywords at the same time through AB testing, ad copy and landing pages must also be reviewed and optimized to ensure you reach your goals and objectives. Optimization should be an ongoing process while the search campaign is running.
Search marketing can do wonders for your business by making your presence better in search engines. Using a combination of both SEO and PPC will yield the business results you are looking for. Together they work hand-in-glove, as SEO plays a vital part in helping your site appear in the organic search engine results and PPC ensures prime placement for specific keywords that you don’t rank for, organically. Both enable potential customers to find you easily, get to know about you and also run an inquiry through your search efforts. Identifying the right goals, crafting an informed strategy, creating a thorough setup and regularly optimizing are the key steps to search success.
PHYGiTALNOW is a digital marketing consultancy in Dubai focused on transforming businesses for sustainable growth. We use our proprietary strategic framework C.A.R.T. to design industry specific bespoke marketing solutions. The primary focus is to realise the full revenue potential by providing best-in-class Digital Marketing Services – Search Engine Optimisation, Search Engine Marketing, Website and App Development, Social Media Strategy and Activation, Email Marketing and Digital Advertising. We also provide E-commerce specific services – online marketplace management, conversion optimisation and basket analysis.