The current prevalence of social networks in our daily lives is not to be underestimated. Although some sites such as Facebook have been showing a generally downward growth trend as of late, the medium that we refer to as “social media” is stronger now than it’s ever been before. With nearly a billion users to be found between Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, it’s clear that there is no end in sight for social networking. This, of course, bodes well for social media companies that handle business marketing. What may surprise many readers, however, is how the constant growth of social media may continue to cement the relevance of SEO as a whole.
Just last week, a report was released by Social Media Examiner that delved into the activities of over 3,800 social media marketing companies (SMM) the world over. As these social network-focused internet marketing firms answered the annual site survey in droves, everyone got a chance to see the breakdown of their efforts. Although one might assume that SMMs focus most of their efforts on PPC campaigning, it turns out that less than half do so and instead favor SEO in their campaigns.
Really it’s the SMM preference of SEO-related activities over pay per click advertising and event marketing that is a real attention getter. Out of the nearly 4,000 social media company representatives polled, 65% of them admit to relying on search engine optimization over a mere 38% who claim they use PPC ads. In an additional inquiry, the polled companies were asked if they intend to use more SEO or PPC services in the future. 68% of the surveyed marketing firms stated that they will be using more SEO methods through the year, while a significantly lower 43% intend to redouble their PPC efforts.
Social Media Marketers both Need and Want SEO
In spite of the recent concerns being voiced by key members of the industry, social media companies certainly have a great deal of confidence in the future of SEO. With Google’s massive Panda overhaul being released shortly, it’s a reassuring thing to see that online advertising firms haven’t lost faith in the current state of internet marketing. For all the doomsayers and alarmists currently speaking out against Google, some small business owners may be tempted to ignore organic link building in favor of paid advertisements. It’s reports such as the one published by Social Media Examiner that offer concrete truths in uncertain times.
The results of the survey show that the biggest social media marketing firms realize that search engine optimization is here to stay. While Google Head of Webspam Matt Cutts has warned the SEO community against sites using “heavy SEO,” the fact remains that smartly designed optimization efforts will continue to prove beneficial for business owners of every shape and size. While any SEO company worth its weight knows that less is more, what also matters is how the work is implemented. For social media companies, that means creating quality content for both networks and destination pages. It’s because of reliance like this that SEO will be along for years to come.
It’s March 20; spring is springing. Have you planned a vacation? What about a break from organic search? Have you moved on down the pay-per-click road yet? I like to think of PPC as the vacation-rental home of search engine optimization; high costs and needed diligence usually limit longevity of accounts; yet, brands find the experience effective in achieving exposure and increased revenue.
You MUST have heard about changes on the Google horizon. Rather than panic and take novice action, I suggest brands steer attention to reliable SEO consultant sources, professionals who can clearly explain the situation, in your terms. Unfortunately, anxiety leads to novice action, which leads to poor (ironic) results; this is a dynamic influencing many SEO beginners. It doesn’t have to be you!
The Bad of Organic
There’s good and bad observations to be had on just about any topic. Search engine optimization is celebrated because it helps brands increase exposure, helping companies find desired markets. It also helps consumers field desired goods and services. However, natural search is ultimately judged by search engine algorithms. Modifications, updates, and penalties take place; some think these changes are fair while others entertain different views.
To truly understand the dynamic between search engines (like Google), brands (SEO clients), and users (all of us), please read Chris Countey‘s blog post on search; he does a very good job at succinctly explaining the industry and its effectiveness.
The Good of Organic
Yes, the process is slow, not entirely static and sometimes unexplainable; but, natural search engine optimization works in creating more exposure. I write about branding a lot, the overall impression created by a company upon its market and beyond. SEO (and more exposure), facilitates branding in many ways:
- It introduces key executives to the public
- It gives a brand a voice and personality
- It enables introduction and proper instruction regarding services and products
- It ingrains brands in respective target markets’ long-term memory (IMO – the ultimate goal of natural search is to create brand-centric habits; what’s better, vying for keywords or having an informed target market come straight to your site for needs?)
But, like buying a home, it takes some time to settle in, to engage in a community.
The Vacation of PPC
Take a vacation from anxieties and concerns connected to organic results; consider implementing PPC management into your overall online marketing campaign. As referenced above, it does demand diligence and dollars (depending on your vertical). Many brands celebrate the notion due to an easy-to-trace ROI. Three Deep wrote a good post on working dollars recently; the post strengthens suggestions relayed here. Can you run a business leveraging pay-per-click alone? I’m not sure about that; it would definitely make sense to include natural optimization (you eventually ‘pay off’ that home; you’ll always have to rent your PPC vacation home). Continue interest in natural SEO, but definitely inquire about mixing in pay-per-click management as well.
Do you have questions about upcoming Google changes, natural search engine optimization, or pay-per-click services? Please contact WebiMax; we’re here to inform and help. Continue to read our SEO blog for regularly-updated SEO information.
As a follow up to yesterday’s WebiMax Blog, Michael Stewart, Senior pay per click manager, discusses the pros and cons of Google’s new Ad placement.
The new placements, previously having been shown on the top and side of search results, will now be shown beneath search results to create a more consistent viewing experience. They have started rolling out the new layout since last week and will continue until fully deployed sometime over the next month. Until these changes are fully implemented, ad placement can vary by search query.
Google testing has shown many cases of click-through rates improving with ads under the results versus the side. This supports Google’s reasoning stating they want to create a more consistent and top to bottom viewing experience. The new ad placement can help low budget advertisers compete with the top dollar advertisers. In addition, it can help capture clicks otherwise lost from result clicks as searchers scan the page from top to bottom. It is up to finding the best PPC company to leverage these changes to the clients advantage.
Inversely, however, it is possible that the additional clicks accrued from the lower positioned ads may cannibalize the top positioned ad clicks. That being said, well-funded aggressive advertisers may face added competition as a whole. This will undoubtedly mean that more intensive management of such accounts will be needed to analyze the ad position placements and optimize them properly.
About the Author: Mike joined WebiMax in March of 2010 with over 10 years’ experience in managing PPC accounts. He brought his Google Qualified Individual credentials to initialize WebiMax as a Google AdWords Certified partner. Helping clients of wide ranging budgets, Mike works across all teams within WebiMax from Sales, SEO, Social Media, Web Design, and Executive Management to insure that clients meet and exceed their advertising objectives by acting as the lead in the PPC management process at WebiMax.
One of the most effective methods of evaluating a PPC campaign is to track conversions. After all, don’t you want to see which ad-landing page relationship is most effective? Be careful, not all pay per click firms will do this for their clients. Contracting with the best PPC company will certainly guarantee you maximum results. WebiMax has an analytics and client center platform that reports the live status of clients campaigns. WebiMax is the only PPC company that provides this amount of transparency to their clients.
Conversions are the result of the visitor (potential client) interacting in some way with the website including filling out a lead generation form, contacting customer service, or even simply writing an email from the contact page. The underlying concept behind pay per click management is to create some sort of customer conversion. This can be tracked through an analytics platform. Google Analytics now has an option that lets users create “engagement goals” and import them into Google AdWords as a conversion. This is a great way of tracking the conversions.
Knowing which landing page(s) are generating the most conversions is like finding the smoking gun. With the knowledge of what works and what does not, advertisers can now focus spending their costly advertising resources on the areas of their website and PPC ads that generate results.
Although tracking conversions can be tedious and sometimes painful, the rewards lay in the fact that finding the most cost effective advertising channel will benefit the organization in extraordinary ways.
eMarketer, the industry leader in marketing research, predicts that advertisers will spend $1.23 billion on mobile advertising through the end of 2011. This analysis is up from $743 million last year, and forecasts the number to well-surpass $4 billion by 2015. The dramatic increase in this industry is in direct relation to the emergence of smartphones. eMarketer also suggests that 38% of US mobile users have a smartphone in 2011, and 41% use mobile internet at least once per month.
Not only is the smartphone industry growing at a rapid rate, providing the demand for mobile advertising, companies are continuing to shift away from costly outdated marketing tactics that were once useful. Once, prior to the iPhone and Android smartphones.
The emergence of lesser expensive advertising channels including search engine marketing, local search, and most importantly pay per click advertising have dominated the advertising industry over the recent years, with a promising upward trend to continue. eMarketer also stated that the increase in smartphones parallels the increase in mobile ad spending. See our tips for selecting the best PPC company.
By 2015, mobile ad spending on messaging is expected to decrease while inversely, video advertising is projected to rise dramatically. This is also due to the advanced video capabilities smartphone developers are releasing.
Hulu, a joint venture owned by NBCUniversal, Fox Entertainment, and Disney-ABC, offers ad-supported on demand videos of TV episodes and movies. They’ve been accepting bids for a purchase since the beginning of 2011. News released yesterday shows that Google has most recently made a significant bid for the purchase of the company. Other bidding offers came from Yahoo!, Amazon, and Dish Network. It should be noted that Yahoo! was the first company to contact them about a potential buy.
Ad-supported content has made a big push this year (on reputable sites, including search engines), as Google released figures that clearly show PPC is a booming service for online marketing firms.
Hulu is not guaranteed to sell, although the joint partners that own the service are obviously interested in accepting offers. The company confirmed that bidding ended in late August. This may just be a way for the partners to see how valuable their service firm is, or there may be larger deals at show here, including if Google purchases them.
Google is believed to have offered a significant amount of higher cash for the deal because they also want to receive licensing for the subscriptions.
If Google does, in fact, purchase the company, for $1.5 – $2.5 billion (the range of offers reported thus far), they will most likely implement their ad campaigns to the videos, thus the more reason to look for the best ppc company. This may be a larger state and an additional outlet for Google ads to be broadcasted, a potential opportunity for advertisers and search marketers.