My Dad is renowned for his repertoire of pub quiz questions. Give him any subject and he’ll come back with a brain teaser for any of them. Only problem is – he can never remember what the answers are.
As frustrating and utterly futile as that can be, in many ways he is the perfect analogy for how to succeed with SEO.
If you want to build a solid search engine strategy, you need to focus on the people who don’t know the answers, not the ones who do.
It may seem axiomatic, but consider the number of times you have Googled a brand only to see the top promoted space occupied by the brand you already knew you were looking for.
Click through on it and they will get charged for placing it there even though the top organic result will most likely be them anyway.
The money would be far better utilised on question-led strategies, which is where publishers get involved.
According to GroupM UK and Nielsen research of 1.4 billion searches users click on organic results on Google and Bing by a margin of 94 per cent to 6 per cent.
That means if you don’t occupy the top organic places on key search questions you’re unlikely to get the click through – even if you plough marketing spend into sponsored placements.
In today’s market everything starts with a search, and media publications are Google’s dream in terms of delivering the answers.
They provide well-researched, fact-checked, authoritative, accessible and multi-media rich answers to questions, and brands should do all they can to piggyback on their search status.
Take pubs, for example.
If you search best pubs in South London you will get this entry by The London Economic followed by three pages of publications before you finally arrive at The Three Stags of Kennington – the first direct link on there.
Now if you already know about the Stags then you won’t have any need to search for it, and even if you do it’s the first organic entry on the page.
It’s far more valuable to them that they appear on a top ten list released by a publication.
And the same can be said of holidays, insurance, new cars and any other product or service you can think of.
Publishers are radically altering the search engine environment because they are far better at delivering what brands can’t, which is answers to questions.
If you want to get your brand to the top I suggest piggybacking them and stop wasting valuable spend on positions that have already been secured.
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