Marketing experts flag up the key issues in search engine optimisation…
Search engine optimisation may seem a dark art to many businesses. But a grasp of the vital issues is essential for building a sound web marketing strategy. Cath Everett reports.
Given that the vast majority of consumers start their internet quests using a search engine, it is unsurprising that search engine optimisation, or SEO, is widely seen as the marketing channel de rigueur among many large organisations this year.
In a survey of 100 top-level marketing directors at leading global brands by the Royal Mail, 45 per cent indicated that SEO was their most favoured marketing medium at the moment, closely followed by social media at 42 per cent.
Such findings are also reflected in the way budget priorities are starting to shift from simply battening down the hatches towards promoting corporate growth.
Some 42 per cent of respondents indicated that customer acquisition would be their primary budget focus over the next six months compared with a mere 28 per cent last year. And SEO is likely to play a key role in this context as online sales continue to mount even as the high street continues to suffer.
But despite the importance of search in today's online world, SEO is not being adopted to anything like the same extent by smaller companies. A study of 500 marketing decision-makers among small-to-medium businesses by digital marketing agency dotDigital revealed that nearly a quarter knew very little about the subject, while one-fifth did not spend any money at all on such activity.
Just under a quarter said they were unsure of the benefits, while a further 14 per cent were unable to see any, while only 14 per cent saw the channel as strategically important.
But Skip Fidura, dotDigital's digital director, says marketers who do not appreciate the importance of SEO are simply not looking at their own online behaviour and realising how important search and search rankings were.
"The problem is that other forms of marketing are better known and so people go with what they're comfortable. But historically people have also felt that SEO was a bit of a black art and that they had to rely on middlemen such as Google to deliver their marketing messages," he explains.
1. The aim of SEO
Online search engines work by indexing text and information such as images and links on web pages.
Such indexing is undertaken by web spiders or crawlers, which record the words they find on web pages, noting how...