Search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing are very tightly integrated. Think of a search on Google as a query to connect with your business, and the results of that search as your online marketing effort. Google, Bing, and Yahoo are a very strong source of new customers for businesses with a solid online presence. According to The MarketLive Performance Index (report download page) published in April 2012, 39% of customers were acquired via these search engines (up 3% from April 2011). In short, search is how people find, research, and purchase products and services.
When you think how new customers will find your company, you have to think beyond the content on your website, and engage them on multiple fronts. You have to think video, social, and local:
- Video: YouTube is now the #2 search engine—ahead of both Yahoo and Bing—with over 800 million unique monthly users. There has to be thought put into the kinds of videos you post—they must be entertaining, useful, and engaging for your customers. A boring marketing video is not likely to get a lot of views.
- Social. People like to share, and social networking is one of the most popular activities online. Checking and posting updates to social media profiles is a daily part of many people’s lives.
- Local: Spending a little bit of time targeting your marketing efforts on local online guides will pay dividends when it comes to local SEO. To get your site to the top of the local section of the search engine results page (SERP), your business must be listed on local guides such as Google Local, Yahoo Local, Bing Places, Citysearch, Superpages, and Yelp.