Ensuring your company stands out in a sea of searches
Imagine you’re looking for something on the internet. It could be anything from carpets to cars. Where do you go?
You go to search engines like Google, Bing or Yahoo! and type out your query. Now that you’ve searched for something, you click on different links trying to identify if what you’re searching for is what you’re getting. How often have you gone past the first few pages? Now imagine a website where you’re selling your product or service. You know that people tend to visit links in the first few pages. How do you get your website on those pages? This is where search marketing comes into the picture.
Search marketing is of two types:
- SEM (Search engine marketing): Optimizing your position on the first few pages by paying and bidding for those positions – Paid/Sponsored search results.
- SEO (Search engine optimization): Optimizing your position on the first few pages without paying for those positions – Organic search results. The list is different from websites listed under paid/sponsored search results.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM – Overview)
What is SEM?
Similar to putting advertisements in newspapers or on television, putting adverts on the internet and specifically in search engines to sell your product/service through your website – think Google, Bing, etc. – is called search engine marketing.
- See how your ad is doing through hard data: By placing your ad in a search engine, you can monitor how many people got to see your ad (CPM*), how many people were redirected to your website (CPC*), which product they were looking at, what your conversion rate is like, etc. So, you know if your ad is working or not and if your ad is impacting your audience at all.
- Target audience control: Imagine a situation where you can promote your service or product directly to the people who want the said service or product. It doesn’t stop there, you can even target your audience based on location.For example, you can choose zip code, metro area, interests, age, sex etc.
- Complete control over your ad: The amount of control you get through SEM is astonishing when you compare it to the control you get through traditional methods of promotion. You can select the time of the day you to post, the day of the week, device type, the position of your ad, and much more.
- Pay only when someone clicks to see your product: Through SEM, you’re not only able to target people according to what they’re searching (keywords) but you’re also able to double target by paying per click – people who are genuinely interested in your product/service and have clicked on the ad link.
- SEM works: Companies, small and big alike, are using SEM because they understand the value of SEM. In 2017, top advertisers in the USA paid 36.69 billion USD for paid search alone. (Source: company reports, eMarketer, 2017)
(* CPM – Stands for “cost per thousand impressions”; CPC – Stands for “cost per click”.)
How can BlueOshan help?
At BlueOshan, to ensure that your SEM is effective and efficient, we use our in-depth understanding of advertising /marketing principles, our ability to analyse vast volumes of data and our continuous monitoring of the latest SEM practices, to give you the best SEM solutions customised to your individual requirements. As experts in SEM, especially with the most-used search engines – Google, Bing, and Yahoo, BlueOshan can help you by:
- Improving brand and product visibility
- Devising strategies that improve SEM ranking
- Providing insight into improving CPC and conversion rate
- Improving ROI
Search Engine Optimization (SEO – Overview)
What is SEO?
The practice of increasing the quantity and quality of the traffic (people visiting your website) for your product or service is called Search Engine Optimisation.
- Low cost: With a little bit of effort and by paying some amount upfront for SEO, you can guarantee an increase in the amount of traffic to your website. Since you don’t have to pay for people clicking to view your website or advertising costs, you can get great visibility at a cost lower than practices involving SEM.
- Increase in traffic: Multiple reports and studies worldwide have shown that SEO definitely leads to increase in the number of people visiting the website. SEO gives you positive results that may not be immediate but help in the long run.
- Increase in trust: People using Google, Bing or any other search engine trust the search engine results and rate dependability of the company or brand based on the position the company occupies in the organic results.
- Everyone is doing it: One thing can be assured – if your business is on the internet then most of your competitors are looking at SEO very seriously. A website that is SEO enabled helps to have a competitive edge over your rivals.
- The impact is everlasting: Unlike the effect of ads or paid search marketing, the effect of SEO on your website is permanent. If you stop your SEO, it doesn’t lead to an instant drop in position or ranking. Sure, you do need a little upkeep to maintain a high position but once the website has been ranked in that position, it can be difficult for that position to be taken away.
How can BlueOshan help?
Search engines look for relevancy when it comes to SEO. BlueOshan focuses on what these search engines are looking for in relevancy – content, coding, and website construction to name a few. As the algorithm for the search results keeps changing BlueOshan keeps itself up-to-date with the best practices to make sure your search campaigns:
- Run like a well-oiled machine
- Increase quality and quantity of leads
- Increase ROI
- Improve brand image, reliability and relevancy
SEM – Indepth
When it comes to SEM, a comprehensive strategy is required to overcome challenges that your brand may face when it enters the paid search marketing space. This is where BlueOshan comes in.
A glimpse at the challenges:
- For start-ups, managing SEM can be difficult because in most cases these start-ups are competing with well established, well-funded companies with well understood and set-up resources.
- For established brands or companies, the management of a large number of ad groups, campaigns, millions of keywords, and accounts is particularly difficult and requires a team of experts.
So, where do you start?
- Have a clear goal in mind
Similar to any marketing strategy, having an SEM goal is integral to setting up processes and activities that help getting your SEM machine running. Is your goal more leads? More transactions? More subscriptions? It is very important that you understand what your brand or company needs as this may vary based on industry or product. Once you know this, you will be able to configure your CPA (cost per acquisition) targets and your competitors, who are targeting the same audience.
- Keep Track
After you have narrowed down on your goal and the amount you’re willing to spend on the goal, tracking the goal is paramount. If you are not tracking your goal, then it becomes very difficult to see if your campaign is successful or not. BlueOshan helps its clients avoid these traps by making sure their clients’ campaigns are properly tracked and their goals met.
- Keyword Planning
Knowing your customer and their search habits are critical to having a successful campaign. If you’re just starting out, then the best way would be to start broad and then tweak it till you optimize your keywords. You can use Google’s Keyword Planner and third-party tools like SEMrush, SpyFu for the keyword searches.
- Sound Account Structure
Having an account that is structured properly gives you a clear path towards scale and efficiency. You could start out simple but that may not lead to the best results. BlueOshan maximizes control you have over your campaign by finding the right keywords and optimizing budget allocation.
Once your account structure has been set up, the way to scale is to get four key areas of your SEM optimized i.e., keywords, bids, ads and landing pages. The way you can optimize is to check what works and what doesn’t. This takes time and through trial and error with certain ad combinations end up you can improve your CPAs.
- Avoid plateau
If you’re super efficient with your account structure, squeezing out the maximum number of CPAs out of the budget you have requires time. As your budgets grow you will reach a point where your CPAs become smaller than when your budgets were smaller. This happens because of a slightly complicated auction structure used by all the search engines. That’s when it becomes a challenge to optimize and grow in scale while marginalizing the budget you have to reach a new but relevant audience.
BlueOshan ties up all the tasks mentioned above to help you achieve increased traffic to your website and higher CPA.
SEO – Indepth
If you have a web presence, you should optimise your website to ensure that it comes on the first few pages of the SERP (search engine results page). To appear on the first few pages of SERP, you need to understand the basic mechanics of web visibility.
Understand the rules
Many agencies claim that they can get you to the 1st spot on Google. However, this is not true. The only company that can assure you the 1st spot on Google is Google. What you can do is try to see what Google wants for it to be on the first spot of the first page. The core part of how Google ranks a page is based on relevancy. How relevant is the page to the people entering your website? Are they learning everything they could have? Do they get a clear idea of what you’re selling? Is what you’re selling what they searched for? Where else can they see what you’re offering, etc? Knowing the answer to these questions and appropriately making these changes to the website will help you achieve your SEO goals.
Work on the website
In order to achieve your SEO goals, site construction, performance and meta information are essential.
The site should have:
- Proper user interface with easy navigation
- Sitemaps for search engine and for users
- Easy to understand URLs
- Meta titles with meta descriptions that perfectly describe the content
- A search bar
- Linking internally within the website
- A useful 404 (page not found) page that will help users go to the page they want to go
- Website load time should be between 1-3 seconds
- Clear call-to-action
Content is important
Content on your website is incredibly important in improving your organic ranking. Well-written, easy to read and comprehend text with essential keywords spread throughout your website should not be avoided.
Content on your blog is also a pivotal part of your SEO efforts. Regularly updated, original, and useful content ensures that your website is regularly crawled by the search engines.
Content should also include images, videos and a variety of written content.
Having links out on the internet that lead back to your website is called link building. This makes your website look more relevant to search bots that crawl the web. The different ways link building could be done are:
- Guest posting
- Reciprocal linking
- Forum comments and Blog post comments
- Web directory links.
- Social media
The above list is just to give you an idea. It is not an exhaustive list. Good content will attract links but you should actively avoid websites that have been black-listed, have a lot of spam, and are not relevant to your industry.
Social Media is a must
Social media is a key cog in the SEO machine. Companies without social media are not valued in terms of relevancy and original content creation. Social handles act as signals to bots that the website has content that is not located only on the website but is spread all over the web. Social handles that you should have are:
Highly influential to your SEO ranking, internal linking refers to linking content from different pages within your website to one another. Blogs, articles, and web page content can be interlinked to provide the user with content that will be useful for a long time.
Analyse your website
Analysing your website is very important in optimizing your website’s performance, traffic and its position in SERP. Using tools like the webmaster tool, Google analytics, etc. you can monitor the number of people visiting your website, backlinks, the source of the traffic, demographic distribution to name a few. Such information lets you know the bounce rate of your website and the relevancy of the content on your website.
The list is by no means an exhaustive one. However, it gives you an idea of the detail to which you need to tailor your website to make sure you have a highly useful website from the point of view of the customer.
BlueOshan studies your target audience, their search habits and tailors a website that attracts the right audience, improves their interaction with your website, leading to increased conversions and greater ROI.