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No channel is an island

Alex Wares, managing director at search marketing agency Mediarun, provides an overview of how non-data based elements of a brand’s profile can directly impact search marketing strategies, as well as the importance of considering these influences in order to better guarantee success rates.

SEO is often viewed as a stand-alone marketing discipline, due to the unique methods employed to improve online traffic and rankings. As a search marketing professional, I can testify that it is sometimes easy to focus solely on the campaigns and outcomes generated by our efforts. However, we all know that no marketing channel is an island and that the various strands of an overall marketing campaign combine to create a net effect on a brand’s success.

Search is an area where this can be too easily forgotten as it is a discipline that is both directly measurable and data led. However, there is more behind why someone chooses to click on a specific search result than simply its position within search engine rankings. SEO activity overlaps other core marketing disciplines, including public relations and advertising, by creating a framework of recognisable terms to be incorporated into campaign activities.

As audiences have become increasingly discerning, editorial PR activity has evolved in order to better stand out from the crowd. Copy therefore often incorporates key terminology and tactics, as online presence and subsequent approaches to SEO are crucial reference points for journalists seeking to ensure their messaging resonates with multiple targets. This correlation between separate marketing activities is best demonstrated by analysing the periods in which media exposure is generated and comparing this with peaks in online activity following this.

Traditional offline advertising is another marketing route where SEO can play a major role. As consumers use associated terms to search for sellers that fall into a specific category, many brand owners make use of tactical search terms within billboard, television and print advertising. These then collectively prompt consumers to associate them with keywords and phrases to use within online searches, driving up the page ranking and prominence of a company as a result. Television adverts, for example, can generate online searches within seconds of being aired.

However, there are certain pitfalls to avoid in incorporating search term strategies into other areas of the marketing mix. For example, it is vital to select unique words and phrases, as failing to so could result in a website being lost amongst a plethora of search results that include the pages of direct competitors. In parallel, it is also important to tread a fine line between unique and confusing: although selecting unrelated terms means there will be little direct competition, there is the risk of a page ranking being lost in the midst of multiple unassociated results where these key words have been used.

Ensuring SEO is included and incorporated into a brand’s core marketing strategy is essential – the basis of this connection is the fact that implementing search marketing tactics across multiple disciplines creates the ability to measure the consequence and outcome of promotional decisions.

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