E-commerce Insights: Nine Popular Myths About Natural Search Marketing
Search marketing is hot: Analysts predict the industry will reach almost $15 billion in marketing spend in 2005, up more than 30 percent compared to 2004.
There are two primary flavors of search marketing: paid search, dominated by Google’s and Yahoo!’s pay-per-click networks; and natural search, also known as organic search, unpaid search, or search engine optimization. Since cost-per-click fees have risen during the last few quarters, marketers have increased their focus on natural search efforts.
To help improve online sales, this article examines nine common misconceptions about natural search marketing and how you can avoid these pitfalls.
It’s simply too complex. Some natural search experts would have you believe the entire field is shrouded in mystery and insanely complex. It isn’t.
Yes, gaining top rankings on highly competitive terms takes a combination of specialized expertise and some luck. For example, you face nearly impossible mountains to climb if you want to rank highly on “mortgage,” “women’s clothing” or “New York hotel.”
However, many e-tailers can gain large improvements in natural traffic from only modest improvements to their sites.
Tip: Get educated. For an introduction, read “Search Engine Optimization for Dummies” by Peter Kent (Wiley Publishing, 2004). If you later decide to hire a consultant or an agency, you’ll have a much better understanding of what expertise and services you’re buying.
Natural search is free. While site owners don’t pay per-click fees for natural search traffic, smart marketers find it worthwhile to make some investment in improving their natural search rankings.
Can you spend money on natural search? Most commonly, e-merchants hire a consultant or an agency, give training to in-house staff, buy content or upgrade their sites’ technology.
Tip: Establish a plan, revenue goals and budget for natural search.
Natural search is expensive. Search marketing is a young field. Prices have yet to stabilize. You can pay consultants or agencies small fortunes for their services. Sometimes it’s money well-spent; other times, it’s not.