Michael Coppola, CEO & Co-Founder of search marketing agency PATH Interactive, was a pioneer in internet marketing and has over 15 years of traditional and online marketing experience. We asked Michael to share his thoughts on how optimizing your digital advertising for search can benefit your brand.
For brands, search engine marketing is part of an extremely effective digital strategy. This is because search is a demand-based marketing system—it allows you to respond to consumer desires instead of trying to create them. Search marketing efforts can be broken down into paid search and SEO—if you’re a brand looking to increase your equity and ROI, each of these tactics offers distinct advantages. A search engine optimization strategy, for example, generally provides long-term value for your brand.
Crafting a Search Engine Optimization Strategy
An SEO strategy helps you to establish brand equity and provide value to potential customers early on in their path toward an eventual purchase. It opens the door for brands to communicate with customers during the research phase of their customer journey, which is often too costly with paid search tactics. However, SEO implementation takes time to provide results. Although it’s attractive to look at organic search as “free traffic,” without the right guidance your efforts can come with large opportunity cost.
The demand: A searcher types in a keyterm on Google, seeking a specific answer. A search engine marketer’s job is to supply a page title and description that first shows up in the searcher’s results, and then causes them to click through and land on your website.
Reaching the Consumer from the Start will Keep them Coming Back
Since its inception, SEO has involved the process of researching keywords, identifying the user intent behind them and then ensuring that these terms are present on relevant pages of your website. But what will actually cause your site to rank higher in search (and bring in more traffic as a result) is providing high quality content that accurately satisfies the search queries it surfaces for. Generally, this means creating informational pages that are helpful to the consumer when they are still formulating what they’re interested in purchasing.
By making contact with a consumer early on and providing them with the information necessary to articulate their need, your brand can become a trusted resource; one that is revisited frequently. The more interactions a consumer has with your brand, the more likely they are to remember you. If you’ve established yourself as a trusted source, this brand recognition is often accompanied by a purchase.
It is important to understand that both search engine optimization and paid search can each be effective on their own, but they generally work best when applied in tandem. It’s less a question of investing in paid search vs SEO, and more about determining how best to distribute your resources.