I was on the phone with a client the other day and they asked me why they should bid on their company name when they already have the number one position in Google, Yahoo, and MSN’s organic search results. I am sure most people would agree, whether it is your company name or an important keyword relative to your business, having a top position in the natural listings is ideal. When your website does not rank high enough for those targeted keywords for your business, having a top position in the paid search results is an excellent alternative. But is it a good idea to ignore the paid search model simply because you already have top position in the organic search results for your targeted keywords or business name?
In reality, having strong positions in the natural listings in addition to strong presence in the paid listings gives your website (and business) the best chance for success in online marketing. Here are a few reasons why:
We have found that online performance is greatly enhanced if you rank high in the natural search results for a specific keyword and also rank well in the paid listings. In my opinion, when someone does a keyword search and they see the same company ranked high in the natural and paid listings, they feel the company is more legitimate. When it comes to internet users, perception is reality!
We all know who the undisputed leader in the PPC world is, but is Yahoo in jeopardy of losing its long time grasp on #2? Recent feedback from seasoned advertisers is suggesting that the tide is starting to shift and MSN is closing the gap with Yahoo in regards to traffic & spend. Since the release of Adcenter in 2005, MSN hasn’t seriously challenged Yahoo – until now.
According to an article in Search Engine Roundtable (http://www.seroundtable.com/archives/017638.html), there was a noticeable increase in MSN traffic & spend in June 2008. The article points out that click volume is not the issue with Yahoo, but it’s due to pricing — poor traffic/lead quality in recent months has driven bids lower.
It will be interesting to see how this battle for #2 plays out over the next few months. Is Yahoo doing something wrong, or is MSN doing something right? I personally don’t see this shift with all client accounts yet, but have noticed a recent uptick in MSN volume with select accounts.
One thing is for certain — MSN is the clear #2 when it comes to user interfaces and ease of daily campaign management.
I can no longer even count how many times a new client has asked me why they should pay to be in the sponsored listings on a keyword that they show up for organically. They are even harder to budget when it comes to bidding on their own brand names!
The truth is in the numbers. A recent study by Enquiro supports what I have been telling companies since the start; it pays to be present in both Organic and Paid search results. The study shows that this deadly combination results in lifts in brand affinity, brand recall, and most importantly, intent to purchase! Clients and prospects have come to the point where they almost expect you to show up in both sections of search results. Another thing that is important to keep in mind is that, whether you like it or not, your competition is out their bidding on your name as well.
One of my clients has a branding campaign that managed to pull in a 500% Gross Return last month alone. We use keywords, including their company name, trademarked products, common misspellings, and their full domain. So when you are building or optimizing your next search engine marketing campaign, don’t steer clear of these obvious choices. The reinforcement that you are providing to your potential customer can result in quite a pay day for you!