Search engine optimization, aka SEO, is a process to improve your ranking in the Search Engine Results Page or the S.E.R.P.. With proper SEO you can maximize your sites visibility on the Web, increasing traffic and sales. There are several reasons for the strong appeal of SEO but usually price is at the top of the list and these are the "free" (organic) listings.
In addition to the appeal of "free" clicks the organic results receive 2/3rds of all activity on the search engine results page (SERP). The first page is also prime real estate because over 95% of searchers never click to the second page of results.
These are good reasons why the real "pot of gold" in search engine marketing is not top position in paid listings , but top position in the organic results.
Most marketers have long taken notice of this trend and are allocating more resources to getting ranked higher in the search results. As shown above, one way to get listed at the top is to pay for placement in the "Paid Search" area. This is a mature business and one that affords Google the majority of their annual revenues through their paid search platform, Adwords. Since this is a mature market, all or most of your competitors are advertising along side of you, often resulting in an inefficient Return on investment while creating inflation in pricing models. It is for this reason that most marketers are devoting more of their time to SEO. 55% of marketers worldwide reported that they will be devoting more resources to SEO in the future. They also ranked SEO as the best way to drive leads and traffic to their site ("UK Search Engine Benchmark Report 2009" Consultancy and Guava). Simply put, search drives leads and sales to your business!
In a time where social media, mobile phones and a shifting media landscape, search continues to be one of the best performing and most referenced media at any age. A recent study by BlogHer and iVillage of 18-25 years olds found search overwhelmingly leads the purchase decision. 70.7% pointed to search as the most influential media in their purchase decision. It is true that social media is on the rise and should be considered in your media efforts, but search should be your foundation today and will continue to remain a significant source of leads for the foreseeable future.
Establishing the fact that search engine advertising must be a core component of your marketing mix is easy, the tough part is acting on the findings. There are a few different ways to advertise on the search engines; via paid advertising aka AdWords, through the Local Business Center (LBC) and with an intelligent search engine optimization program (SEO).
SEO can be a daunting task for many advertisers who are new to the space but new tools and resources are now available making it easier and more cost effective for anyone to take part. The days of paying top dollar for a consultant to update the back-end of your site have passed. Most websites created in the past 3 years are search engine friendly and reviewed by Google already. The rules of SEO have not changed much, just the focus of where you need to spend your time. To perform intelligent SEO you will need to make sure your site is optimized for 3 key factors; Content, Relevancy and Links.