What if someone told you that you had to give up most of your Internet services for a year? What would you miss the most between social media, e-commerce, video streaming, GPS and Maps, email, or online search? How much would you need to be compensated in order to give up those things for that year?
According to a recent study, it’s not even close in terms of what people value: online search wins in a landslide. In fact, the median value that people said they would need to be compensated to give up internet search for a year is a whopping $17,500! This compares to about $8,500 for email, around $3,500 for GPS and maps, $1,150 for video streaming, $850 for access to Ecommerce, and just over $300 for social media (that’s all of the social platforms combined, sorry Facebook).
If you divide $17,500 by the 365 days in a year, that means Internet search is worth about $48 a day to the average person. People increasingly rely on Google to find out valuable information for everything related to product comparisons to business reviews to general research designed to answer questions and problems. The key question for businesses is this: are they ready to provide relevant, credible, and helpful information so they can be discovered by the people in need of their services and products? This is where Google tools and platforms such as Google Search Console, Google Analytics, Google AdWords, and Google My Business can form the foundation of a comprehensive search approach, including both Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click advertising (PPC).
Without a previously established digital footprint, it can seem daunting for the average business to compete online today. Developing a plan grounded in SEO is a great place to start to change that. We think of SEO as a foundation to build upon. Search engines like Google are constantly working to find the most relevant, credible, and authoritative web pages to show to users based on their specific search query or keyword. Businesses who understand their highest value keywords are able to create helpful content that answers the questions their prospects and customers are asking. As users find and engage with those helpful pages, the business is rewarded for their work with better real estate on a Google SERP (Search Engine Results Page) and is in turn discovered by more customers and prospects. When used in conjunction with other tools, SEO can help provide visibility and traffic while establishing trust and brand equity. A local SEO strategy based on the Google My Business platform can accelerate these results.
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By taking advantage of the free Google My Business platform, business owners can drive local search visibility, manage their digital reputation, advertise their strongest offers, and stay in touch with customers.
While Yahoo, Bing, and some other search engines are still used today, the vast majority of all online search takes place on Google. Root and Branch recommends focusing SEO efforts here to get the biggest bang for the SEO buck. There is plenty to keep the average small marketing team busy! Let’s take Google Analytics for example. Google Analytics is another free tool that can show businesses how customers and prospects are interacting with their website. These insights can be used to improve web site content and structure. The platform also has information on the performance of different traffic channels which can help the entire digital ecosystem work as efficiently as possible to attract leads and convert them into customers.
Once all the free, SEO-enhancing tools like Google My Business and Google Analytics are in place, businesses may consider investing further in search through PPC advertising. The key to pay-per-click advertising is understanding the needs of a segmented audience and using that information to target high-intent, relevant keywords. When combined with high performing ads and relevant, well-constructed landing pages, the right PPC keyword strategy can generate qualified leads who are ready to convert. Paid Search advertising like this can also be used to gain exposure to first page Google results for keywords that prove too challenging for a business to “earn” through SEO efforts alone.
Utilizing search advertising can drive brand affinity and recall across a consumer’s decision journey. Each individual consumer may be on a specific path, and paid search today can help a business meet them where they are. According to a research study by Forrester, 71% of consumers begin their journeys by using a search engine to find new products or services. In addition, over 90% of customers reported they use search at every stage of their search for a new product or service.
We believe that businesses of any size can use and benefit from SEO, paid search, and the additional tools and platforms that Google offers companies who want to grow their online presence. Internet search, including both SEO and PPC, provides the opportunity to connect with prospects while they’re searching and answer the critical questions that those people are asking.
Are you ready to begin your search advertising journey but aren’t sure where to start? Root and Branch recommends taking full advantage of the Google My Business platform to start. If we can help with your Local SEO approach or anything related to digital marketing, you can check out our reviews here (yep, it’s the Google Business listing) or connect with us here.
Root & Branch is a boutique digital marketing agency based in Pittsburgh that provides a wide variety of digital advertising and analytics services for B2C and B2B companies. Root & Branch is a certified Google Partner agency and provides paid search (PPC), SEO, digital reputation management, digital display advertising, digital analytics, social media management and social media paid advertising, and content creation. Learn more about the digital marketing services we offer.