In this day and age, customers have so much choice as to what companies they turn to for almost any product or service they require – sometimes customers know what brand they want to use, and other times they might be unsure which brand they want; and sometimes, customers might not even know they want a product or service. These are the reasons why marketing is so important – it’s about connecting with customers, showing them why they should choose your brand, why your company is the best company for the products or services you offer.
We asked several businesses about marketing in the age of technology. TechQuarters, a company that provides outsourced IT support London businesses have been choosing over the competition for over a decade, discussed the important of search engines in a business’ marketing strategy.
Search Engines & Traffic
It is an understatement to say that there is a lot of information stored on the internet – in fact, more or less the entirety of recorded human knowledge has been uploaded to the internet, and the amount of information on the internet is constantly growing with every hour. This begs the question; how does one manage to sift through all of that information? The answer to that is with search engines. Think of Google, or Bing, or Yahoo (and perhaps some people remember Ask Jeeves).
A search engine is a digital tool that is able to search for content on the entire internet according to a web query – essentially a set of criteria that users enter, according to which the engine searches for results; queries can be a question, a name, or simply a series of keywords. Search engines have been around for decades now, and they are easy to use – simply enter a query, and the engine brings up a list of relevant results.
Search engines work using keywords. It reads the query that a user enters, and identifies keywords in the text; it then matches the query with content that contains the same keywords. If someone searches for ‘best running shoes 2022’, the search engine will present a list of every website that contains they words.
The practice of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is very common – so common in fact that most people are familiar with the term SEO; but it is much more than a buzzword to throw around when talking about work and business. SEO is what businesses and marketers do to ensure that their brand is favored by a search engine – in other words, if a business has a website, the goal of SEO is to make sure the website is first on the list of results when users enter relevant queries on a search engine.
Search engine optimization is concerned with the way that search engines operate. For instance, algorithms is another buzzword, but every search engine works according to an algorithm, and effective search engine optimization should take into consideration how the algorithms of different search engines work, so to best take advantage of them. SEO also requires a keen understanding of the types of search terms and keywords that people use when searching for things – specifically what keywords and search terms one’s audience is using. Knowing which search engines one’s audience uses is also a very important factor, as it would be a waste of time focusing on a search engine only a small fraction of your target audience uses.
The ultimate goal of search engine optimization is to increase organic traffic to one’s website – this means increasing the number of people who find your website, without you needing to pay for advertising.
As well as organic search traffic, it is possible to create paid search traffic. Pay-per-click advertising is where a business pays for ad-space on a search engine – every time someone clicks on the ad, the business is charged. The obvious benefit of pay-per-click is that you get instant results; simply by paying a fee, you are guaranteed a top spot on results for certain keywords and search terms.
The way PPC works is by paying to advertise on the results of specific keywords and search terms. So, for example, TechQuarters provides IT support for businesses, and offers fully managed services; as well as this, their target audience is located in London. They might enable PPC advertising for keywords such as Managed IT support London Solutions or IT Support in London – so every time a user enters that search term into a specific search engine – such as Google – they will see an ad for your business above all of the organic search results. In this way, a business can ensure that their website or brand are the first things that users see when they perform a search, which can be a huge advantage for smaller or less well-established businesses.
The only real disadvantages of PPC are, firstly, that it costs money – with SEO being largely free, or at least low-cost, it might disincentivize business to use PPC. Secondly, generally, users are less favorable towards advertised business, and generally view organic search results as being more credible and reliable – this may not be an issue for some customers, however, which is why many businesses do SEO and PPC together. In fact, it can be useful to pay for a short-term increase in web traffic while you work on increasing organic web traffic.