For a long time, online marketing has effectively been dominated by SEO—where the benefits are numerous but the basic goal is fairly straightforward: Getting your website to rank so that it can be found by online search engine users.
Nobody denies that search engine visibility is important—imperative, even. Increasingly, though, search marketing professionals view it as just one component of a bigger picture.
What is Search Experience Marketing?
Hint: Think Users
That bigger picture is, essentially, the user and customer journey. Certainly, that starts with visibility. As the consumer searches for products and services, it’s vital to make him or her aware of your brand. It’s vital to be there at the moment of discovery.
That’s just the beginning of the customer journey, though. There is an ongoing process of education wherein you have to build consumer trust, and ultimately close the deal at the point of decision. Even beyond that, there is remarketing—keeping your brand in the consumer’s mind long after he or she makes that initial purchase.
As marketers seek a perspective that encompasses the entirety of this journey, more and more of them are looking past traditional SEO, instead focusing on search experience marketing—a term that reflects the need to connect with the consumer from the entrance of the sales funnel all the way to its endpoint, and beyond.
Enter Search Experience Marketing
And that’s really what search experience marketing is all about: Shepherding your potential buyers through the process and ensuring the visibility of your brand even past that initial moment of discovery.
Search experience marketing is, true to its name, focused on providing a sound and appealing experience for the search engine user. As such, it certainly involves many of the concepts of SEO. It also entails many other disciplines, though, which all must work together in tandem.
Components of Search Experience Marketing
Local SEO. It’s important for a search experience marketing initiative to improve visibility within the Google map pack, proving the business in question to be reputable and trusted one. This provides great confidence to consumers at the start of their journey.
Organic SEO. It is important for your website to be fully optimized for traditional organic SEO. This means website uses latest SEO friendly technology fully optimized content for both transactional pages (lead\product pages) and informational pages (blog posts) in order to cater to a wide segment of the audience. Always remember that today’s website visitor can be tomorrow’s customer!
Online Reputation Management. Search experience marketing also requires the knowledge that consumers will check up on online ratings and reviews, and also look for complaints on sites like BBB. Simply being discovered, through organic SEO, is not enough; you also want to make sure that what the consumer discovers about your brand breeds trust.
AdWords. In addition to organic search, paid search is also crucial for wielding influence at critical moments of the customer journey via search ads display, including at the actual decision point.
Remarketing. One of the benefits of a holistic search experience marketing strategy is that it allows you to stay focused on consumers even after they make their purchasing decision, following up with related or auxiliary products, product upgrades, etc.
Where is Search Marketing Headed?
Because a commitment to search experience marketing calls for a lot of different resources, it’s probably fair to say that this is primarily an avenue for larger enterprises—at least for now.
Then again, more and more digital advertisers are looking for efficient ways to snowball SEO into something bigger, more robust—something an awful lot like search experience marketing. It seems to be where marketing is headed—and it’s a trend that can benefit the consumer and the advertiser in equal measure.