Search marketing to me in 2001 was all about Pay Per Click advertising (PPC). While working as a marketing guy for Royal Caribbean at that time, SEO was still very mysterious to most that were willing to listen. So explaining the fundamentals or organic optimization was a difficult concept for most of our travel partners to absorb. The value of PPC was an easier concept and the results of our campaigns together were immediate. Instant gratification was what the HIPPO’s (Highest Paid Persons Opinion) wanted to spend their cooperative marketing dollars on.
The Searchers back then didn’t really know the difference between Organic Listings and Sponsored Listings (PPC). Today, those same CPC’s (Cost per Clicks) are 10 times more expensive and the percentage of those clicking on a sponsored link has gone from 38% in 2001 to less than 5% in 2011. Talk about diminishing returns on your advertising dollars.
Search Marketing comes primarily in two different forms.
1) Paid Advertising or 2) Organic Listings
Using this image below, if the goal of search marketing is to arrive on the Promised Land or page one of Google, there are two ways to get there. At the very top of the page and along the right hand column, companies have entered into an advertising agreement with Google and are bidding for a position on this page for this specific keyword phrase, “Car Insurance”. The highest bidder is Progressive, then AAA and Geico. There are hundreds of others bidding for the same piece of real estate but on this occasion, they are not willing to pay as much for each click as these three big brands…so yes…the deeper pockets win this round. The question is at what cost and who is clicking through?
As of this post, the #1 position would cost Progressive $38.40/click and they could possible get close to 5250 clicks in one day. Their advertising costs for 1 day for that one keyword are over $201,600. How many people bought insurance from this advertising?
What happens when your budget runs out?
Easy…your ad disappears and the clicks go away. I hope their sale people are good!
Good luck seeing a favorable return on your investment. Some are smarter than others and use this medium very effectively, the balance pay royally and Google is getting richer every day. Click image to enlarge.
The smarter companies are optimizing their web pages , removing technical barriers for proper indexing of these web pages and building high quality authoritative links to these web pages. Sounds like allot of work? Well it is. If 95% of today’s search engine users assign more credibility and trust to these organic listings, then the investment of time and resources are well worth it.
Now Progressive is also # 1 in organic listings using the same keyword and they can expect to receive approximately 105,000 people clicking through to their web page. The question is how much time and money did it cost to optimize for this #1 organic listing on Google? I don’t know that answer…here is their phone number 1-800-Progressive and you can ask them.
Organic optimization is a long term investment and once you arrive on page one of Google, chances are you will stay there for a long period of time assuming you are keeping your website fresh, developing great content and acquiring valuable links.
Now Google is not the only search engine in town but they are certainly the 500 pound gorilla. Chances are if you are well optimized to arrive on page one of Google, you are doing just fine in the other search engines as well.
Rather than listing a bunch of companies, it might be more appropriate to ask you how much are you willing to pay someone to manage your internal search marketing efforts. SEOmoz posted this blog of average salaries for search marketing professionals are being paid by businesses all over the county. Or you can hire a local seo in Pennsylvania and you can focus on taking care of all your new customers.