What can you do with 30 minutes? You can wait on hold for an airline customer service representative. You can enjoy a delicious 4000 calorie meal at your favorite fast food restaurant. You can play shoot the banner ad monkey and go for the record in your office.
Or you can take a break from all your worries that sure would help your search initiatives a lot.
Quick fixes. Short cuts. The paths of least resistance. You can find many of the following examples of search marketing excellence every day in search, and yet many marketers move too fast (or maybe too slow) to spot some of the easiest ways to boost returns.
Search engine advertising is known for its amazing direct marketing capabilities. A few marketers are starting to use search as a brand vehicle by buying terms that exist much higher in the buying funnel. Most ironically, many of the same advertisers forget their own buying process when calculating the return on search.
How much consideration does the average buyer need for your products? Do buyers shop around? Is it possible a potential customer would visit four or five sites before making a purchase? What is the time lag between search and purchase? The average online shopper will conduct multiple searches and visit at least four sites before making a purchase.
There is a confusing array of tracking vehicles available for marketers today. Ad serving numbers will never match analytics, and I wouldn't suggest solving that whole problem in 30 minutes or less.
I would, however, suggest adding tags that will support purchase behavior that is consistent with your products and services. Tracking responses to 30 days of search results or telephone calls leading to offline purchases can go a long way to showing the real value behind a search investment.
People are lazy, followed closely by careless when approaching the search box. Search engines offer help for those who can't seem to get it right by suggesting alternative spellings for keywords. A little known fact in this arena is those suggestions are most common terms and not necessarily the correct terms.
If enough people misspell "Britney Spears," then guess what? That's exactly what a search results page will recommend. Registering domain names with multiple iterations of your brand and product URLs is a foregone conclusion, but what about adding misspelled terms to your search initiative?
In the first few years of search engine marketing, adding incorrect spelled terms and phrases to a search initiative meant insta bucks at bargain basement click prices. Today's search engine advertising marketplace requires a bit more care.
Meeting potential customers on their own terms can now be costly, but spending a few minutes adding a misspelled keyword group can reap rewards.
Where can you find these terms? Start with what you already suspect then take a look at your referring keywords report in your site side analytics. Chances are some common phrase combinations have already led a few visitors to your site. Beyond that, take a look at your keyboard and bang out some combinations of your own, and then check those frequently searched terms provided by search engines.
Just remember that misspellings occur at random, so don't expect consistent rewards.
Add a link or seven
The mythical and elusive value of Page Rank. Page Rank is the term coined for measuring link equity that -- oddly enough -- is not a reference to web pages. It was named after one of Google's founders, Larry Page. Every search engine (worth its salt) that crawls the web looks for links to see how popular your site is.
You can buy links, trade links or simply ask others to link into your pages. However you do it, getting links is almost as important building pages, but I'll talk about the latter in a moment. Yes, kind readers, linking adds perceived value to your pages, and there are a couple of things to which you should pay attention.
One, make sure the text around links being offered to your website is coherent and keyword relevant, because that actually makes a difference. Ever wonder how the query "miserable failure" returns a number one result for George Bush's bio on the official White House home page when the phrase "miserable failure" never appears on the White House page? It's in the links.
Oh and one more thing; seven hundred links from unpopular sites (low Page Rank) are not quite as important as seven links from popular sites (high Page Rank). It's about quality, not quantity.
Fix those tags
The ongoing debate over Search Engine Optimization ethics and the shifting algorithm problem has kept many marketers from having a solid foundation of knowledge about site architecture and its impact on the search; specifically, natural search engine optimization tactics and information.
The truth is that site guidelines are posted on every search engine, and when it comes to architecture and search engine optimization, the easiest thing to do is follow the rules. This includes adding title, description and keyword tags that are consistent with content on each page.
Even with all the free guidance in the world, I still see websites with <insert title tag here> in the code or worse nothing in there at all.
Folks, don't let this happen to you it takes less than thirty minutes to plug in a site description and title and at the end of the day, wouldn't you rather a potential site visitor see something other than a URL in the search results page?
Now stop shooting the monkey and get busy.
Kevin M. Ryan is Chief Executive Officer at Motivity Marketing.