As always eMarketer is back with another great study.
This time the focus is on search and eMarketer if focusing on more than just organic search. Paid search is always included in the reporting eMarketer shares and I think that provides a good perspective on where companies should be focusing when it comes to their brand.
Because consumers use search so regularly, brands really don’t have much choice but to connect with consumers there.
Moreover, search results influence consumers’ perceptions about a company, according to 81% of the respondents worldwide in a November 2011 study from PR agency Weber Shandwick. “Even the absence of a brand from search results could influence consumers by subliminally implying the brand is not important in the context of whatever the search query involved,” said eMarketer.
I agree that search is an important part of a brands customer acquisition efforts. Nearly all online users use search to browse the Internet. People use search to find answers to question. People use search to find nearly everything on the Internet. The search engines have become the main referral engine for driving traffic throughout the Web.
What this means for your company is that we can’t ignore search. It’s important to have a presence there. We’ve recently talked about search and its lessening importance in terms of free clicks. While the search engines are moving toward paid clicks there continues to be organic search results and that will likely always be the case in some form.
Something search engines are focusing on is the level of brand recognition. That’s the first focus of this post.
In order to establish a brand that is trusted by the search engines (and thus ranked high for various results) it’s important to do things that recognizable brands do. Things like creating branded content, as the article mentions, and other efforts are important. When it comes to branded content your company can focus on creating interesting and useful information right on your company website along with a guest blogging strategy that brings in visitors from other websites.
Another aspect of the eMarketer article that is interesting is a chart showing what is important for consumers.
It wasn’t mentioned in the article, but Company website sits right under What people say and Online search results as one of the factors that influences consumers. I think that’s a substantial finding.
People go online to find solutions to their problems. If people are referred to your company website by a friend or by a search engine they are looking for information to convince them to purchase your products or services.
What content do you have your site that convinces them?
You can see in the chart above that it’s not about social media or even about advertising. People trust what their peers tell them. People trust what search engines tell them and those same people are looking for quality content on company websites.
It’s important to have a content strategy for your brand. People want to see that you know what you’re talking about so they can trust you with their money in return for a product or service.
To me it really seems like all of the items on the chart above are affected by content. You need something for people to talk about. You can help create online reviews by telling customer stories on a company blog. You can influence the search results to a degree with your online content. You can get picked up by news sources by creating interesting and newsworthy content.
A blog is a great way to influence search engines even thought it’s less of a factor and that same content can be used to convince customers to purchase from you. They are looking to your website for useful information.
Are you providing it?