Elance Blog

Trends in Search Marketing


Over the past few years, Search Engine Marketing has gone from experimental business technique to must-have marketing program for businesses worldwide. It's also one of the fastest evolving marketing channels with new discovery of methods, ideologies, and techniques that are implemented on nearly a daily basis. Ricky Ahuja, CEO and partner in Affiliate Venture Group out of Richmond, Virgina, stops by and explains what has happened in the search marketing industry and where he sees it going in the future.

During the course of the last few years, online business ventures have been doing all they can to generate sales. With the recession looming, they have attempted different forms of marketing to help increase sales, and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) has become one of the most popular choices for many of these companies. In a sixteen billion dollar industry, search engine providers have created an easy way to help individuals looking to buy new products and services.

Keeping this in mind, Search Engine Marketing has given a great way to improved online sales, but in recent times there have been some significant changes. Some of these changes have resulted in a change in how time and funds are being spent. What is becoming very apparent is that SEO and Pay-per-Click, while still very effective, aren't the only search marketing trends that will increase your sales. There are some others you should take a moment to consider.

If you aren't open to your customers for offline sales, your online advertising might not be as effective. In general, many customers are using online results to influence the way they spend their money offline. It is estimated by Forrester Research that close to $915 billion dollars spent in retail last year has been influenced by online advertising. In that same year, only around $155 billion was spent online with the same impression. Because of this, more companies are focusing on ways to offer their products offline as well.

While many online companies believe Google is the best solution for advertising dollars, it isn't the only engine to focus on. Last year, other search engines quickly shot to popularity for regular usage. In addition, an individual may only use one search engine and each search engine is popular with different demographics. Yahoo and Bing are big contenders in the search engine world, and they can offer a different set of advantages by placing your online information with them. Last year alone, Bing saw an increase of 109% in their click thru rates, while Yahoo saw 123% and Google did a modest 32%.

What can be learned from this is that with anything diversifying how you do your marketing online is essential when it comes to promotion of your content to drive traffic to your website. Google remains an important search engine, but focusing on other areas as well can enhance the amount of activity you receive.

Another trend is mobile search along with simple local searches. With this in mind, smart phones are taking the search marketing world by storm. Since the personal computer only offers so much use, those in search marketing need to recognize the importance of the mobile search features.

This means devices like the iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry and other devices are being heavily used in an untapped market. Marketers must realize the potential for marketing in these areas, and begin looking at avenues to tap into the search features these products have.

So for companies that are looking to provide a product or service in a single area, they will need to make sure they appear at the top of these localized search results and have information that can be used in the mobile maps and queries that are done for a small span of area. This segmentation of customers with the geo location aspect along with paid search advertisements will get the best customers to locate and use your business.

While many companies first thought Social Media was a quick dying fad, other businesses are realizing the potential to make business boom. In recent times, social media networks have blown past the daily hits that Google receives. Take into consideration that there are more than 400 million Facebook users and this market shouldn't be ignored. Along with a unique way to fine tune the type of individuals that are given your advertisements your product can reach exactly the individuals it needs to with this powerful website.

In a recent set of studies, it has been mentioned that conversion rates along with click thru rates have generated a higher amount of revenue when they are combined with paid listings inside of a search engine. While many companies focus on lowering their investment in advertising after SEO has helped them to top the search engine charts, many others are recognizing that by keeping their premium advertisements, they continue to generate stronger revenue sales. Some of the biggest players in Search Marketing Include:

  • Google AdWords
  • Yahoo Search Marketing
  • MSN Ad Center
  • MIVA
  • SearchFeed
  • 7Search

In the mix you will notice that Google and MSN are listed, and they are generally known as the big players in this industry. But 7Search and MIVA are quickly becoming strong contenders, and sites that deserve notice as they continue to grow in power and popularity.

Of course while many of those reading this article are experts in the area of search engine marketing, there are some that are novices. For those individuals, here is a set of important things to remember as you begin your search marketing experience:

  • Testing ads is essential for success. Until you try out several you won't know which will be a successful campaign.
  • Focusing all your funds and time on search engine marketing alone won't increase your ranking. Plan on SEO marketing and other effective ways to improve sales.
  • Allow for others input. This means that while you may see one spectrum of your product, others might be able to provide you with more detailed results.

Essentially what we learn is that search marketing trends will continue to change as times passes by. To remain an effective force on search engines, we must focus on what influences other websites and current fads are having on these searches.

By taking a few moments and understand our customer's shopping habits, we can find success with not only search marketing, but overall online marketing in general.

About the Author:
Ricky Ahuja, a serial entrepreneur, is a ten year veteran of the online marketing industry and currently serving as the CEO and partner in Affiliate Venture Group, a privately funded performance based network located in Richmond, VA.