The Winner is Google…ah Yahoo…Maybe MSN?

Google LogoPut your marketing program in context.  People are picky.  They like what they like.  The search engines work because people choose to use them.  It’s classic evolution – the most popular features will survive.  So how can you use that to your advantage?

Some search engines convert better than others.  Dana Todd, Co-founder and Principal, Site Lab International Inc. moderated the esteemed panel of John Squire, SVP, Product Strategy, General Manger, Search Services, Coremetrics, Robert Heyman, Chief Search Officer, MediaSmith, and Isabel Sopoglian, VP of Search Marketing, who all offered some savvy advice on how to get your customers to your site and convert them to buyers using the individual strategies of the various search engines.

Using Conversion to Validate Search Budgets      Competition of online customers drives marketing opportunities.  Companies need to allocated money across search engines and they need to focus their dollars in the most efficient way.   Limiting paid advertising to one search engine (Google) will cause you to miss out on too many other customers.

More than 50% of potential customers interact with more than one ad before making a commitment to one.  25% are clicking on at least 5 ads over 30 days before making a purchase.  It is important to understand how your customers search.   Analytics programs will aid in your ability to make good decisions about where to focus your expenditures by identifying keywords that generate cash for your company.

Integrated Search        Searches need to work hand-in-hand with all other branded media that your company does.  Branded ads will generate more inquires.  Google has gotten much of the credit as they most often get the last click from purchasing customers.  But you cannot discount the other search engines.  All major search engines need to be integrated into your paid advertising marketing strategy.

Case study out of Australia shows that paying for searches is more efficient at obtaining customers over email, niche marketing or all other marketing strategies.  However, not doing all of these marketing pieces will drop your customer volume.  Search benefits other forms of marketing and advertising.  Search does not take anything away from them.

What Converts?            You need to track and understand how customers got to your site before you can do anything else.  Methods of conversion that are within your control to change and can influence your traffic are keywords, ad copy, landing pages, conversion paths, negative keywords, and URL blocking.  Not in your control are click fraud, algorithmic changes, SERP changes and search engine testing. Focus on keywords that have a higher CTR.  Only use keywords that are relevant to your product.  Use the right keyword match types. Don’t mislead searches with your ad copy.  Optimize your landing page to maximize your conversions.

Google converts more than 45% of visitors.  Yahoo converts more than 18% and MSN converts more than 13% of visitors.  Yahoo actually converts more of the people using their search engine than Google.  However, while Yahoo converts more traffic it is not necessarily better than Google as the traffic is so much lower.  Yahoo converts only a higher percentage of people, not more people.

Despite everything, Google does it better right now than other search engines.

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