On Monday I decided it was about time I get my hair re-done. Due to not entirely being content with the current place I go to, I typed “best hairdressers Melbourne” into Google’s search engine. On Wednesday, a friend called me up asking if I could recommend any decent quality, yet affordable camera’s to her. Having been out of the loop lately, I turned to Google to re-jog my memory.
Google is (and has been for a while now) the holy grail of search engines. Indeed, their current desktop market share sits at 67.78% compared to other engine’s such as Bing, Baidu and Yahoo. In contrast to this, their mobile market share sits at a whopping 94.22%. It is no wonder the word “Google” has now become officially recognised as part of the dictionary and of our society today.
Typically when I’m completing an information search, I never go beyond the first or second page. I might even go on the third or fourth page depending on how desperate or unsatisfied I am with the results listed. However, on the rare occasion that I do find a link on a later page that turns out to be exactly what I want, I think to myself how it would’ve been nice if it turned up much earlier to save all the time and effort.
The role of search engine marketing (SEM) in this case, is crucial if sellers are wanting to be one of the first sites listed and become part of the buyer’s post-search consideration set. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is one of the two main SEM strategies which allows sellers to improve their search listings by modifying their site codes to make them more relevant and more search engine compatible (Sen, 2014). In spite of this, and in most recent publications, online sellers claim that SEO produces results which do not justify its costs particularly as high search result rankings aren’t always consistent or guaranteed (Sen, 2014). Subsequently, paid placement ads are often the strategy of choice among buyers despite that 70-80% of users ignore paid ads, focusing only on organic results (Imforza, 2013).
SEO meanings will vary depending on the person, however stating that “SEO is dead” is an unrealistic claim and in most cases might be the opinion of companies who are not utilising it in an ethical manner (such as through invisible text or content spamming). Google often update their algorithms to prevent these sellers from cheating the search engine algorithms, so you could say that it is this sort of black hat SEO that is being pushed out of existence.
Bottom line is that if sellers want to have high listings, their website must be optimised in a way that is both meaningful and helpful to potential buyers. In fact, SEO is essentially (or should be) built on satisfying the customer’s needs and wants, thus companies should view high-listings as simply a bonus to their efforts. For that reason SEO will always be relevant – just google it.
Ravi, Sen., (2014) Optimal Search Engine Marketing Strategy. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10864415.2005.11043964