This is the age of digital influence. Since the World Wide Web became prevalent more companies are moving much of their offline business practices online. The internet is also known to some as the “information highway” because it is a place where a person can find an answer to just about any question. Many may say that the driving force to the “information highway” is search engines. Search engines provide an easy and organized way to finding the most useful information about what the user is seeking. When an internet user searches on a search engine they are provided with a number of links to websites that the engine believes will be the most help based on what the user has searched. However marketers have found a way to manipulate the search process to move their company’s website up in the rankings. This form of internet marketing is called search engine optimization (SEO). Moving ahead in the search engine rankings is great but why is it so important for companies to utilize this fast growing form of marketing? In the internet business it is very important increase awareness because it can be easy to get lost in the mix of other websites. One of the best ways to do this is to make sure your website is seen on search engines. According to Alexa.com the top 2 most trafficked websites in the US is Google and Yahoo. There are a number of ways for a company to increase their company’s presence and rank on search engines. The first is to set up a pay per click (PPC) account with the search engine so when a user searches a specific keyword the company link is displayed either on the top of the page or on the side in prime position. If a potential customer clicks on a PPC link then the company is charged a set amount by the search engine. This is called the cost per click. The cost per click is determined by a bidding system on large search engines like Google. A keyword list is created by the company and from there they need to bid on the cost per click for each of their keywords. With a PPC account marketers can track how many clicks their link gets and how many leads that are created from those clicks. A PPC campaign can help marketers get a feel for their customers and what they are searching so they can better target additional potential customers.
The second way to increase awareness and presence on search engines is optimization. Search engine optimization (SEO) is when a marketer optimizes their website to climb higher in the organic search rankings. Organic search is the free search results that show up when something is searched. Usually the earlier a link to a website is presented in the results the more that site will be visited.
It can be a very big advantage if a company’s website is ranked higher than its competitors’ is. Obtaining a high rank on search engines are very important to company’s in large, highly competitive industries as well as smaller ones. A company’s rank could improve or damage their brand’s perception. A study shows that “62% of search engine users look no further than the first page of the search results and 90% of them do not go beyond the first three pages of the search engine result to select a site for making purchase” (SEO guru). When a company climbs in the ranks they not only help themselves but they also push their competitors down.