There are many different types of digital marketing strategies utilized by small and large businesses alike. But some of the most popular strategies, both in terms of adoption rates and total dollars spent, are related to search engine marketing.
Why is search marketing such a common fixture in digital marketing strategies today? And will its momentum continue indefinitely?
SEO and PPC: Two Fronts in Search Marketing
First, let’s talk about two of the most dominant search marketing strategies: search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) ads. Both of these strategies can be categorized as search marketing since both of them are reliant on search engines. However, they function in very different ways.
SEO is an organic strategy, designed to naturally increase your website rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs) and attract more organic traffic. With the help of powerful onsite content, strong external links, and technical improvements to your website, you can gradually increase your trustworthiness, then increase your rankings, and eventually, bring more people to your target web pages.
PPC advertising, in contrast, allows you to place your own ads and messages above organic search results for a price. You’ll bid competitively against other businesses interested in these keyword terms, select your target audience, and refine your strategy to best appeal to the people who matter most to your business.
These strategies often complement each other. PPC starts quickly and scales inefficiently, while SEO starts sluggishly and scales well. PPC and SEO can help you target complementary audience segments, or help you compete against your rivals on different fronts.
Why Search Marketing Is So Popular
So why is search marketing so popular?
. Search engine dominance. One potential explanation is the sheer dominance of search engines in our daily lives. Collectively, we make billions of searches every day – and most of us rely on search engines for everything from daily news to product research. If you have something to sell, your audience will search for it – or some aspect related to it – in large numbers.
· Industry agnosticism. For the most part, search marketing is industry agnostic. In other words, this isn’t a strategy reserved for only a handful of businesses in niche markets; it could be harnessed and utilized by almost any conceivable business. If you can sell it or raise awareness about it online, it can benefit from search marketing.
· Audience data and campaign control. What does Google know about you? Your intuitions probably tell you that Google knows almost everything about your online habits; for the most part, this is true. When you use Google and similar platforms for search marketing, you’re able to tap into this aggregated data. You can target only the people who are most likely to buy your products and refine your search marketing campaigns accordingly. You also have tight control over almost every other aspect of your campaigns, including your messaging, your placement, and more.
· Performance data availability. It’s not just audience data; you also have access to performance data. You can monitor the conversion rates of your advertising campaigns, keep watch for organic traffic increases, and eventually learn which tactics work best for your niche.
· Experimentation possibilities. Thanks in part to these available data, the possibilities for experimentation are practically limitless. You can tinker with different advertising copy, different link-building strategies, and different content marketing tactics to learn which approaches are most effective – and ditch the ones that don’t work.
· Inexpensiveness. Compared to traditional advertising strategies, search marketing is cheap. Entry-level PPC ad campaigns can be managed and executed with just a few hundred dollars, while it’s possible to start an SEO strategy with no upfront costs whatsoever (other than time).
· Accessibility. Starting a PPC ad campaign is designed to be as easy and straightforward as possible since Google and other platforms are incentivized to attract users in large volumes. Even if you’re totally unfamiliar with this strategy, you can learn the basics in a matter of minutes.
· Campaign flexibility. Are you interested in written ads? Or do you want to show off photos of your most excellent products? Whatever you’re interested in, there’s a search marketing angle available to you. Campaigns are highly flexible, giving you plenty of creative wiggle room.
· Ongoing improvements. Search engines aren’t stagnant. They’re constantly improving, both for users and for marketers and advertisers. Every new update brings fresh possibilities.
There’s currently no contender to replace search engines in our daily lives. How we use search and the exact search platforms we use might change, but our relationship with search, in general, is likely to stay with us for decades. Accordingly, search marketing is well poised to remain dominant for many years to come.