A Study on Search Optimization

What Does Zen Mean in Search Marketing Optimization?

Optimization a terribly overused phrase. Nearly every time I hear it, it refers to SEO, or “Search Engine Optimization”. But search marketing optimization means so much more than keyword usage, blog posts, or any other common consideration audiences make. It’s become part of the noise and, to a degree, the algae in the term “SEO” and the industry in general. Optimization means the “process of perfecting”, or as best as can be perfected. The problem with the phrase is that it sometimes connotes a goal or state of completion, that the website or page is “optimized”. But in digital, there is no completion, simply better states of being.

For entrepreneurs or those in management considering how optimization is actually applied, how true business is affected, and what “Zen” means when you reach the next level, here is a real example from a real client experience:

A Recent Example of Search Marketing

We recently on-boarded a client who has 30+ locations nationwide. They were doing PPC, social advertising and re-marketing, and their site also performs standard e-commerce. They had been to prior agencies and had experienced a degree of success but felt there was more they could do.

The Problem: “Can you do this too?”

The prior agencies were performing other work when we were asked, “can you guys handle (Search Marketing, PPC, etc.) too?” We get it. They were a trusted partner. It’s easier to execute with a current partner than look for a new one. And of course, like many agencies, they felt they could certainly oblige. The problem is they often don’t even know that they’re not executing correctly. And it’s honestly the norm.

The Result: Poor Campaigns

The lack of specialization led to soft, uncoordinated initiatives. This created overspending. Local search was not properly configured for each location, so search engines like Google weren’t serving results with the most relevant location. There was little to no page markup, with low structured data integrity, so Google wasn’t being given proper hierarchical instructions for each page, blinding the engine to its structure and relative content. There was also no conversion tracking for spend, no learning being gleaned which would enable fine-tuning of successful campaigns, structure, landing pages, ad copy, and more. Adwords existed but was not being tuned (no testing, optimization of ads, QS review, etc.), no customer experience plan was set in place, and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) and initiatives like Inbound or Email Marketing and Drip campaigns had yet to be considered.

Each component is super-detailed and very technical, and it was being offered as an add-on. But from web design companies to large agencies, very few turn down an incremental lift in revenue, and so they say “yes”. And the casualty is client’s work, because each of the pillars requires specialized management.

The Good News: Opportunity

This type of scenario represents opportunity for massive improvement. Higher conversion rates, greater organic traffic, a drastic increase in visitors for the exact same spend – all possible if orchestrated properly. And it doesn’t stop there. Once corrected and improved (or re-engineered), the new intelligence, exposure, audience share and marketing and automation opportunities represent entirely new tiers of marketing opportunities for the brand.

“What’s first?”

It’s dependent upon the brand, the business model, the breakdown of revenue and audiences, and more. But for this discussion and the purposes of search-centric response (in a vacuum), Part 2 has the answer: