What’s a business owner to do about local online advertising? I know that the average business owner feels over overwhelmed and confused by all of the different faces of online marketing and advertising. And I can’t blame them, can you?
PPC, CPC, SEO, SERPs, Twitter, Facebook, social marketing and organic search marketing can all deliver results so where should most businesses start?
In this article I’ll do my best to clear up any confusion and set you on a course of action that makes sense and works.
Keep It Simple!
In the end, you can cut through the majority of the alphabet soup by breaking your options into two major categories: “Paid” and “Unpaid”.
Free, Natural and Organic Local Online Advertising
Sounds like health food, doesn’t it? The “free”, “natural”, or “organic” search engine results are the 10 listings that appear on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) for the term you searched. For any given search term there will be anywhere from a few to a few hundred thousand pages of search engine results returned to you when you search.
Now you may be thinking “search engine results are not advertising” and that’s where you and most other local business owners would be wrong! Search engine results and the web pages that they lead to are one of the most effective forms of advertising ever created!
They May Be Natural and They May Be Organic But They Are Definitely Not Free!
Advertising, by definition is: “the action of calling something to the attention of the public especially by paid announcements.”
Well, in order for your website to appear on the first page of the search engine results page (remember- 89.71% of all searchers never go beyond Page 1) you will have had to at the very least:
- purchase a domain name
- pay to have a website created or create one yourself (and I know your time is not free!)
- and likely a whole lot more!
So, according to the definition of advertising an organic listing is most definitely online advertising!
How It Works | Making Organic Local Online Advertising Effective
Google and the other search engines don’t just deliver the results you see in some random fashion. In fact quite the opposite is true and each search engine (but in particular Google) uses an ever-changing complex algorithm to determine exactly what results to show. Our testing and research indicate that the following are critical elements in these algorithms:
- the quality of the webpage content
- the relevance of the webpage content to the search term
- how the web page is constructed (Title, keyword density, linking structure)
- page loading speed
- the number and quality of other web pages linking to your webpage.
Get these elements correct and in the right proportions and you will be rewarded with a Page 1 SERP listing, get them wrong and at best you will be lost in Page 2 or beyond and at worst you will be banned from the search results altogether.
Search engine companies such as Google hire the brightest minds in the world to constantly tweak their algorithm to provide the optimum user experience. All of the tricks and “Black Hat” tactics that worked five years ago; keyword stuffing, meta-tag stuffing and link farms have all gone by the wayside. Google is simply too smart to be fooled for long.
Pros and Cons of Organic Local Online Advertising
The big plus for organic local online advertising is that it is highly targeted and highly effective. In a recent survey 90% of all local consumers surveyed indicated that they relied upon search engine results to help them make their product and service purchasing decisions.
Combine this with search behavior studies that show most people never go beyond Page 1 when searching and having Page 1 search engine listings for your most important buying phrases is an almost guaranteed way to get more new customers.
A second big plus is that although it is not technically “free” organic search advertising remains extremely cost-effective. Once you have the fundamentals in place to get ranked, convert visitors to customers or at least to start conversations; the ongoing maintenance and improvement costs are relatively small, especially as compared to pay per click.
There are two drawbacks to organic local online advertising. The first is that unlike PPC you cannot have an organic campaign up and running in a matter of hours. Depending upon how competitive your local marketplace is for the products and services that you provide it can take anywhere from a few weeks to even years to get to the first page of the SERPs for each of your most important buying phrases.
The second is that even in markets with relatively little competition it takes significant expertise, energy and effort to get all the factors in Google’s puzzle to correctly lineup- especially building the back links necessary to grab a number one listing (which by the way gets approximately 40% of all the clicks on Page 1).
So unless you want to spend a disproportionate amount of your most precious asset, your time, you will need to hire a company that has local organic online advertising expertise to do it for you.
The good news is that as compared to yellow book, direct mail, newspaper, and radio advertising a complete turnkey local online organic advertising system is quite inexpensive to get rolling and even less expensive to maintain.