In their quest for higher placement on search engines, Australian businesses spent A$70 million in 2004 for PPC (Pay-Per-Click) to acquire new customers and lift their profile.
PPC refers to programs such as Google AdWords where advertisers pay for a listing on the search engine results page based on the number of times their advertisement is ‘clicked’.
The new report from Frost & Sullivan also projects that the PPC market will reach $130 million in 2005 which represents an annual growth rate of 85%.
Paying for better placement on search engine results is a short-term strategy that is useful for an immediate burst of qualified visitors.
But when you stop paying for your PPC campaign, your listing disappears and your traffic drops.
For long-lasting results, small businesses should consider developing website content for ongoing organic referrals.
An organic or natural referral refers to a free listing on a search engine results page, an unpaid incoming link to your site from another website, a ‘tell a friend’ lead, etc. In other words, a genuine referral. Not a bought one.
Developing valuable and well-written web content is the best organic way to increase visibility for your website.
A web page earns a better ranking on search engine results according to two main criteria directly related to web content:
1- relevancy: a close match to the searcher’s keyword query
2- link popularity: a measure of the quantity and quality of sites that link to your site.
If your relevancy and link popularity rank higher than your competitors, you will be rewarded with a prominent position on the search engine results page.
Organic search engine marketing has the advantage of being customer-focused. It is user-friendly and non-intrusive.
The searcher keys in the query and obtains the most relevant results. Unlike PPC, organic listings contain no unsolicited advertisements from bidders buying their way.
Research reveals that 70 percent of web users click on organic search engine results versus 30 percent on paid listings.
Organic search results are perceived to be unbiased and therefore more credible than paid ones. This could be likened to the credibility of newspaper articles versus paid adverts.
Top ranking on organic search engine results will give your business the competitive edge.
Interesting and valuable content is the backbone of an online business. It increases the commercial value of a website because it not only draws visitors but also retains them.
Web content is often qualified as ‘sticky’ when visitors are ‘glued’ to the website. The longer a visitor is exposed to your message, the more likely that person will be converted into a loyal customer.
How do you optimise your website for top ranking on organic search engine results?
Look at search engine results and review top listings.
No two websites are alike, no template fits all. Websites are built following business objectives; target audience; types of products and services offered; and unique selling propositions.
Therefore, web content that will elevate you from the pack will need to be tailored to the requirements of your audience.
Web content encompasses a range of elements e.g. editorial, product information and forms and also includes search engine optimisation techniques e.g. choice and placement of keywords.
Organic search engine marketing comes with no guarantee of success in regard to top ranking on search engine results.
Nonetheless, your efforts in creating useful and interesting web content will not be wasted. At worst, you can still generate qualified traffic through other organic sources of referrals e.g. links from industry-related websites.
Organic search engine marketing works on the premise that search engines and web users favour solicited, relevant and valuable content.
Optimising your site for organic search engine results can be a rewarding option to increase your online visibility and gain loyal customers whilst cutting your PPC costs.