Marketing has traditionally involved reaching out to potential customers with an advert. It is heavily dependent on catching a potential customer’s eye and then convincing them to purchase your service or product.
Whether its newspaper ads, radio and TV or flyers, offline marketing efforts follow a “hit and hope” strategy, getting the ad in front of a large audience and hoping that a portion of that audience could be customers.
There are two disadvantages with this approach. Firstly these advertising mediums are designed to interrupt potential customers to get the message across. Potential customers aren’t actively looking for advertising, hence the phenomenon “ad blindness”. The second problem is the mindset of the audience. When traditional marketing is used the potential customers aren’t usually ready to buy.
Compare this to search marketing, where a customer is actively searching for a product or service. When landing on a website through a search engine they are viewing a relevant result for their query. The buying intent of a person actively searching for a product compared to a person being interrupted with advertising is one of the reasons many businesses are investing in search marketing.
Search marketing has exploded in recent years due to the dominance of Google. In May 2011, a total of 366.9 million users went online in Europe; 333.4 million of these visitors went to at least one Google site. That means 91% of internet users in Europe visit Google while surfing.
Based on the volume of customers available from search engines and the buying intent each of these visitors has, search engines are one of the best ways to grow an online business.
Where does SEO come in?
Taking advantage of the traffic available from search engines isn’t simply a case of setting up a website and watching the money roll in. There are millions of websites competing and search engines use complex algorithms to decide which website they believe to be the most relevant for a search query.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of ensuring a website is seen as a relevant result by search engines. The fundamental aim of SEO is to place a website above competitors for a search query. By ranking higher than competitors your business will receive more traffic and ultimately more business. Combine this with a high number of keywords and you start to see the number of visitors add up.
SEO puts businesses in front of a massive audience who are actively searching for products. Compared to traditional marketing that is expensive and quickly becoming ineffective, search marketing is the first choice of many businesses looking to develop their business online.