Brands want to own the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) through integrated search, but how can they achieve this with increasingly search savvy competition? Nick Beck, Managing Director of Tug, offers some creative tips to help get the most out of integrated search campaigns.
It has been almost four years now since iCrossing & Neilsen released their research on integrated search which, back then, was PPC combined with SEO. Did it improve clicks, time spent on site and conversions? Yes it did. We had something but we were unsure then quite what to do with it or where it was going.
The theory was to optimise keywords and address multiple search intentions between paid and natural listings. Simple.
Now let’s fast forward to 2010. We have even more fragmented online channels to integrate with SEO and PPC. Think online PR, social media and shopping specialists.
These channels are being used strategically to help brands own the SERP. The Holy Grail of search marketing.
Search engines are still the main source of brand and non brand information. Brands are extending their search engine footprint for brand, as well as competitive non brand terms.
M&S is starting to get this right. Search for a non brand term like sofa and you’ll see three listings for the M&S brand through SEO, PPC and product feeds. That’s 3 hits compared to just one for other sofa retailers, including their closest competitor John Lewis. That’s three more chances to grab that sale. They’re starting to own the SERP.
There are ways to do this through PPC & SEO messaging and SEO link building but the clever brands are integrating news and online PR with product feeds and social media.
Legoland asked us a while back to use integrated search to raise awareness of its Discovery Centres. Competition for family days out is fierce and Legoland wanted to own the SERP for the lucrative family market with 3-10 year olds.
It was done through a combination of PPC, SEO, social media, blogger outreach, competitions and product feeds. Ticket sales increased as a result.
The point is that search engine marketing is moving into new areas and brands are becoming more aware of the possibilities and options available. Companies like M&S and Legoland know that if they want to make major returns from their online activities they’ve got to make an eye catching impression on the search engines.
Just like their stores command the prime positions in high streets and shopping centres the big brands want the same “shop front” position online.
They now understand the importance of platforms like social media and online PR. You can bet that they’ll be looking closely at the competition and, just like they want the biggest and brightest shop in the high street, they want control of the online marketplace too.
Search marketing professionals need to be highly creative in their approach if they want to retain or attract those big name clients.