Posted On 13 Aug 2018
We get this question often, and it is a great question to ask. In today’s world search, advertising, and content all play a unique role, and understanding the best way to optimize each for your business will dramatically improve results. We will break this article down to these three central topics, and show you how and why each component effects you.
Search (i.e. Google Results)
It is best to think of search results in terms of solving a problem. In other words, is your product or service the answer to a potential customers question? Examples of such search terms might be: fix a faucet leak in Lafayette Indiana, or Best Photo Booth Company in Indianapolis, or how do I pick a real estate agent? All three of these questions are commonly asked questions, and if your business was ranked first or second for any of these searches, the likelihood of your business winning the client increases dramatically. However, providing the proper content for each search term above, is not necessarily cut and dry.
In the case of the leaky faucet or photo booth search, the home page for a plumbing company or photo booth company could be the result a user finds and clicks on to answer their problem. By simply ranking a business website high for these terms may win that company business. This is the case when the user is looking for a targeted fix, and the search results deliver a company that can handle the job. However, if a search for “how do I pick a real estate agent” results in a homepage for a Real Estate, and the user clicks through, chances are the agent may never be contacted. Why is that? In this example, the user was looking for information, and even though a real estate agents site might appear first, a better solution would have been to create an article, video, or some other piece of content that answers the question and provides a method for the reader to contact you if they choose. This solution not only provides a better experience for the user, but also would position the real estate agent who created the content as an expert.
So when is a homepage verses content better? For long-tail keyword searches, content is usually the best answer. Let’s use plumbing as an example. If the search is: “Plumber Lafayette Indiana” a plumbing business homepage should be the result of the search. In this case a use is just looking for a company, and probably wants to contact them immediately for work. This is a hot search term. However, if someone is looking for an answer like, “How to fix a dripping shower,” a local plumbing company should create a how to video or article and use SEO techniques to make that solution available. Often times in these cases, a user will read the article or watch the video and decide it is better to have an expert make the repair, and they will call the company they found through search.
In all of these examples, search was used to find an answer to a question, and ranking the right content in the first or second position in Google will win you more customers.
In this article we intend to provide a different approach to advertising. In the above examples we highlighted why search was important, however, properly done advertising can out maneuver search for many industries.
Let’s first consider the examples for the Plumbing Industry. We highlighted how properly optimized content and a website in general can win them business. However, in any service industry there are times when the service can fight the challenge of being a commodity with the lowest bidder winning. Nonetheless, if asked who the best Plumbing company in your town is, and if you wanted to sleep sound knowing the work you paid for is top notch, you could name that company right now. So what is the difference between the plumber who is just as good, but only wins business with the lowest bid, verses the company who is called for service regardless of price? You guessed it… Branding and Advertising! In this scenario, the company who is top of mind for a community, can usually charge more for its services because they have built a reputation for good service and everyone knows their name. They get in the mind of a customer before the customer realizes they need them and this is where advertising wins!
Lets go back to the photo booth company. If a recently engaged couple do a Google search for photo booth companies in their area, it is obvious the that a photo booth company would like to rank first to win the business. However, if a different photo booth company used advertising, either done by themselves or used an agency, they would be able to target recently engaged men and woman, and show them advertising all over the internet before the happy couple even realized they needed a photo booth company. In this example, when it finally dawns on the happy couple that they would like a photo booth at their reception, they realize they have seen cool videos and awesome examples from a company already, and calls them to book. They do not need search, because they were already educated on the benefits of using the photo booth company who’s advertisements they saw over and over again.
Everyone know content is king, but few realize why. Content is the piece that holds everything together. Content can be the webpage that is optimized to win search, and content can be the #1 way to lower your advertising spend and reach more customers at the same time. A good piece of content can be shared millions of times for free, and sometimes with a little boost by advertising the content, it can lower the cost for clicks and spread even further. At the heart of all internet media properties (Google, YouTube, Twitter, Intagram, and Facebook) the end user experience is their number one focus. As a result content that people like, and consume is rewarded with more views and a lower cost for those views. Additionally, content can solve the search answer for long-tail keywords, which are the search terms used when someone is serious for a solution.
For example, someone looking to rent a photo booth, may start their search with “Photo Booth Rental.” After clicking on a few sites, they realize they would rather have props and a selfie station too, so they search “photo booths with props and selfie stations.” If a photo booth company created an article, using those keywords, and possibly also had a video showing these items in action on YouTube, the likelihood of the customer booking this company goes through the roof!
In conclusion, all companies need to understand how search, advertising, and content play into their marketing and how their customers find them. In some instances, ranking high in search is irrelevant for a business and their focus should be advertising to put their product or solution directly in-front of the people who need them. In other instances, ranking first on Google for popular search terms in your local market will have the greatest impact on new customer acquisition. And in any case great content, focused on the end user is key! Put yourself in the place of your customer, and answer their needs with content. In today’s world, a customer often researches all purchases 6-10 times online before making their decision, and if you provide great content that answers their questions, you will win every time.