Search Engine Marketing: Missteps to Avoid
“The No. 1 mistake that search marketers make today is not thinking like their prospects,” said Kevin Lee, executive chairman of search marketing consultancy Did-it.com. “Marketers still seem to think customers will find their products based on the way the marketer wants the customer to, not the way the customer actually does.”
Opening with that statement, Lee presented his seminar “20 Bloopers, Blunders and Mistakes to Avoid in Search Engine Marketing” at The Direct Marketing Association’s Search Marketing Forum, held last week in New York. While he asserted that figuring out how the customer thinks and searches is difficult and will vary from product to product, Lee offered a few more specific missteps that search marketers often make, in both organic and paid search programs.
Organic Misstep #1: Non-unique title tags. A title tag, the word or phrase that sits in the top bar of a browser window, should reference the specific content on the page to which it’s attached, said Lee. Often Web site designers shoot for uniformity and make each title tag the same for every page on their Web sites, usually the company name, he continued.
“Title tags are critical, because they’re one of the first things search engine spiders see when looking for pages that match a searcher’s query,” said Lee. “At the very least, title tags should reference the product listed on a particular page, giving it further relevance for searches conducted using the title tag as part of a keyword.”
Organic Misstep #2: Poor or insufficient copy. Search engine spiders view the copy that sits on a given Web site. If it isn’t posted in the HTML code of a site, spiders can’t see it, noted Lee. Although it can provide a cleaner look and powerful customer experience, Lee cautioned against embedding text within images, or relying too heavily on Flash-based navigation, as both will reduce the site’s searchability. The copy also should be tuned for search by placing the focus on the product and providing a compelling visitor experience.