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    Search is the low hanging fruit

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    Did you know there are people on the web right now searching for your products and services? The majority of web users are researching purchasing decisions. These people don’t know you provide a solution to their needs. In fact, they probably don’t even know you exist. Will they find you?

    You don’t have to have a flashy advert or try and get their attention with clever “LOOK AT ME” strategies. They want your product now. All you have to do is turn up in Google’s search results for the right phrases and they will find you. You don’t have to go searching for them – they are searching for you.

    Paretos Principle of the 80:20 rule is about identifying the 20 percent of customers that will deliver 80 percent of your business. Search marketing is a great way to start. It’s passive and works 24 x 7. The people that are searching for your products and services have pre-qualified themselves.

    Time to renovate your dog?

    The mistake most people make is in their keyword analysis. I gave an example of this in my weekly video newsletter. Recently, the Trading Post website upgraded in preparation, presumably, for online auctions. The site’s keywords contained the phrase “Buy and sell dogs” which they ranked number one for in Google. I made the observation that this was a useless phrase to rank for because no one wants to “Buy and sell dogs”, they either want to buy them OR sell them, not both. I could be mistaken, I guess. Maybe there is an industry out there that specialises in buying dogs, doing them up and then selling them for a profit.

    One of the developers contacted me and explained that the marketing people had given them this phrase and they ranked no.1 for it, so what was the problem? The problem was, of course, they had marketing people without search experience involved with their website. Don’t blame your web developer for getting you ranked for the wrong phrases.

    Jargon is an artificial state of mind

    We have had other classics over the years like a client wanting to rank for EVP. Apparently EVP is an acronym for Employee Value Proposition. What?! Who on earth is going to type that in? Well it turns out a lot of people type in EVP, but they are actually looking for Electronic Voice Phenomena – you know, ghosts in the machine like the movie White Noise. Probably not something my client should associate their brand with.

    People use jargon when they are trying to fit in to a certain environment or group. When people sit in front of their browsers there are no such concerns or adherence to industry protocols.

    One Australian airline has taken good advice on this. They are not trying to rank for “low priced airfares” they have gone after “cheap flights”. Jetstar has carried this key phrase into its paid search marketing campaigns as well. The days of being uncomfortable with the word “cheap” are over. If you compete on price, you can no longer hope euphemisms for the word cheap will carry your message. If your customers want “cheap” then that is what they will search for. They won’t be looking for “low priced”, “inexpensive”, “affordable”, “budget”, “for the economically challenged” or “value inspired” accommodation. They want a CHEAP HOTEL, and that is what they will search for.

    Keyword analysis is the most important part of any search marketing campaign. If you get that wrong then you will rank for the wrong phrases and you will get the wrong traffic. The wrong traffic means that it will not convert into sales or leads for you.

    Trying to get an accurate picture of the right keywords to target can sometimes have parallels to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. The mere act of observing can influence the outcome. I often tell people to ask family and friends what they would type into Google if they were searching for a particular product or service. It can be an exercise in linguistic gymnastics to ask that question without using any of your presumptive key phrases. Try asking someone what they would type in if they were searching for “low priced airfares” without using the words “price” “low” “cheap” “airfares” “flights” etc. to see what I mean. Fortunately there are plenty of tools online to help in the keyword selection process that are not subject to our bias.

    Jim Stewart has been working in the internet industry since the early 90s and is MD of Stew Art Media, a Melbourne-based search marketing company. He was the internet commentator on ABC 774 for five years and has appeared on A Current Affair and The Panel.

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