Four Overlooked Natural Search Tactics
If most consumers don’t discern between paid search and natural search listings, as many studies of online behavior by Forrester, Jupiter and Pew Research Center suggest, then marketers might want to be careful not to fixate on paid search tactics. According to Stuart Larkins, vice president of search for Performics, an online marketing services and technology firm based in Chicago, “we’re really catching wind with synergies between natural search programs and paid search programs.” He explains that marketers can get enhancement from both sides of search marketing by working on these programs in lockstep, with the same methodologies or practices from a product and keyword standpoint. By earning the top spots on both paid and natural search rankings, he notes, a company’s impact on consumer awareness and activity is exponential. “One plus one equals three,” Larkins emphasizes.
While firms are doing a good job at getting the low-hanging fruit in natural search, Larkins and Kristen Karczewski, senior manager of Performics’ Natural Search Group, identify four tactics that marketers don’t leverage enough for improved rankings:
Tactic 1—Use natural search as a public relations vehicle. Optimize press releases on new products or other information your company is announcing that could be newsworthy. Consider that the way Google thrived when it launched was through search-optimized PR and not through marketing, says Larkins. Whether the press release is hosted on your site or sent out and picked up by other sites—which hopefully results in good rankings due to links back to your site—your own Web coverage should be optimized to help engines find this content.
Tactic 2—Optimize content for new product launches prior to rolling out the product promotion on your site. At the outset of the launch, says Larkins, your site will get crawled and your debut will have more impact. Karczewski emphasizes that firms should take time to understand how consumers will search for your new product so they then can make sure their product pages are optimized for the right viewers. Often, she explains, companies will get the merchandise information up and ready, but might not have the right keywords in the search engine optimization (SEO) copy to get search users to the promotional page. An example would be running a TV ad that uses certain terminology during the coveted Super Bowl program, but forgetting to include this same terminology in your Web site SEO copy.