If You’re New to Search, Traditional Rules Do Not Apply

- April 11, 2007

As someone who talks to prospective clients every day, I’m still surprised when marketers want to force rules from other channels into their search campaigns.

If you’re new to search marketing here are a few points to help you with the transition:

1. Your target customers are identified by the keywords they use — not by their titles.

Many times I hear from people that only want to target CTO’s or some other c-level prospect. While that may be an effective approach for a direct mail campaign, it’s not a good fit for search. (Unless, via your other marketing channels, you’ve trained CTO’s to go to Google and type in: “I’m a CTO looking for a CRM consultant.”

In most organizations, various team members are assigned project responsibilities that will lead them to a search engine. If a receptionist is tasked with finding CRM vendors and uses search as a tool, then I think you would want to be found by that receptionist, even though they don’t hold the purse strings or the coveted c-level title.

2. You have more than 5 keywords or key phrases.

A pop in the Midwest is the same mixture of carbonated water and sugar that it is everywhere else but here in South Florida, it’s called a soda. All people think differently and therefore search differently. A broad keyword like CRM has dozens of long tail keyword phrases that may make sense for your business. At the end of the day, these phrases may be more important and in many cases convert better than the original keyword that you thought was so important.

3. Everyone searches differently.

Some people start with a broad search and then refine. Others start with a longer, more descriptive phrase and if they don’t see what they want, pull back to something more general. Still others will start at one engine and will go to another if they don’t like what they see in the SERP. Most importantly, people will skip between Organic and Paid results to find a site that meet their needs.

And, finally, every online effort has to include the implementation of an analytical tool so that you know what keywords, channels and engines convert for your site.

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