The Seven Myths Of Search Engine Marketing (All Debunked)

The Seven Myths Of Search Engine Marketing (All Debunked)
SHARE
THIS



According to a study by US marketing site eMarketer (you can check it out here) the ad dollars flowing into search (or SEO or SEM, for the more sophisticated) will grow from almost $US30 billion in 2016 to a whopping $US40 billion in four years’ time.

It highlights one of adland’s difficult but fundamental truths – brands decreasingly want “old school” advertising (think print, TVCs, even banner ads) and clients would far prefer to spend their marketing dollars being found, being found before their competitors, and then selling customers “stuff”.

These days every brand has a website and a search capacity. But what works and what doesn’t? Here B&T takes a look at the top seven myths when it comes to search engine marketing and attempts to uncover the truth from, for want of a better word, the bunkum.

1) “I have to spend a fortune on SEM to even play in the game, particularly against my bigger competitors”

No, you don’t, says Deb O’Sullivan, Microsoft’s head of strategic sales APAC. “It’s all about making yourself as relevant as possible to the query the user has typed into the search engine,” O’Sullivan says. “You can do this by making sure that you are frequently testing fresh and relevant creative, and you are bidding on the most relevant terms for your line of business.

“Given search is an auction, it’s absolutely an even playing field. A small player has just the same ability to compete as the bigger player, based on relevancy of their ad against search query,” she says.

2) “Google offers the best ROI on my search dollar”

Actually, that’s not true either. The internet marketing firm Kenshoo recently analyzed nine search programs to determine which publisher yielded the best return on the next dollar of investment. According to the report (download it here) in five of the nine campaigns studied it would make more sense for the marketer to invest their next dollar on Bing. Three cases showed that dollar could be better spent elsewhere, and the final case delivered no clear differentiation between publishers.

The report stated that, “Given the nature of the paid search market, it should not be altogether surprising that Bing holds a bit of an edge here. For example, marketers frequently put many of their eggs in the basket of a single search engine, where they may face greater competition and price pressure, and subsequently receive a considerable amount of attention and optimization.”

3) “I don’t have the knowledge or the full-time staff to properly manage my SEM”

Microsoft’s O’Sullivan outlines four easy tips that anyone can do to improve their business’ search:
One: Make the content fresh and creative. “Keep testing and trailing it,” she says.
Two: Remarketing: “Reach people who have already been to your site with a message designed to pull them through the decision making cycle. For example, if they drop off at the basket stage, retarget them with a ‘free shipping’ message.”
Three: Negatives: “Set up negative keywords to make sure that your ad doesn’t appear in places that aren’t relevant to your business, and reduce wastage.”
Four: Use extensions: O’Sullivan says: “There are a heap of useful extensions these days that enable you to get more real estate on the page. We find that extension significantly drive up conversion rates. Make sure to select the relevant extensions to your business. For example image extensions, call out extensions, product extensions etc.”

4) “Content is king”

It’s the much bandied about catchphrase of SEM, but for Nital Shah, managing director of the Sydney-based SEO specialist firm Octos, says it’s not necessarily true. “The rhetoric is flimsy,” Shah tells B&T. “While it’s true that quality content is an important piece of the SEO puzzle, content alone is not a categorical shortcut to SERP (search engine results page) glory.

“The content-is-king myth relies on a particularly unreliable logic of ‘if we build it they will come’. But the act of creating great content isn’t enough. The content must be supported by sound site architecture and robust on-page optimisation,” he says.

Shah likens content to a great song that needs radio, streaming, whatever to get people to hear it let alone buy it. “To turn a song into a hit, you need an audience, a marketing strategy, a stage, speakers, and so on. Similarly, online content also needs a supporting framework – a platform from which it can be seen, heard and valued,” he says.

5) “Search is all about the sale”

Sure, the ultimate aim of SEM is to get customers to load-up the cart and hit the buy button. But for Chris Wallington, Microsoft’s advertising business lead (ANZ), it’s as much about the customer experience as it is the sale. He tells B&T: “The relationship between brand owners and consumers has become increasingly conversation driven across paid, owner and earned media.

“Whether first or last click, the evolution of the search experience is providing the consumer with ever increasing signals (e.g. customer reviews) and validation (social media follows/commentary); understanding the relationship between these signals, validations and search ecosystems is an increasing focus for marketers managing brand loyalty.”

6) “SEM allows me to target a huge amount of potential customers”

That’s simply not going to happen, says someone whose business is dependent on search – Kenny Tse, digital marketing manager of tradie comparison site hipages.

“It’s really important to just focus on the primary purpose of your business; you’re not going to appeal to everyone all the time,” Tse tells B&T.

“That’s why user segmentation is so important, being able to identify where a user is in the conversion funnel makes converting that user a lot easier. With segmentation you’re able to be there in the right place at the right time with your marketing activities.

“Everybody is turning to search to find a solution to their problem before anything else. But with any activity I would say the main point would be to know your brand, and to know your audience and their behavior,” he says.

7) “SEM’s the silver bullet to a brand’s success”

Ask any SEO company or consultant and they’ll be telling you the amazing results their services will bring before handing you a very large invoice. But you need to be on your guard, says Octos’ Nital Shah.

“Any offer of infinite SEO guarantees or the promise to deliver top ranking overnight should be taken with a grain of salt,” Shah says. “A closer look at those lofty SEO promises usually reveals fine print that is riddled with disclaimers – there’s always a catch.

“Some SEO companies guarantee rankings by promising a certain number of keywords that they reserve the right to choose. By selecting obscure, non-competitive or irrelevant terms, they might deliver on their promise.

“But there’s no proof to suggest that those cunning keyword rankings create any kind of meaningful traffic,” he says.

Please login with linkedin to comment

Advertising Standards Bureau Apple Chris Wallington Deb O'Sullivan einsights GOFB ibisworld Kamber nital shah Octus suppertime

Latest News

Hands using mobile payments, Digital marketing. Banking network. Online shopping and icon customer networking connection on virtual screen, Business technology concept
  • Media

IAS Report: Australian Digital Advertisers Experience Higher Brand Risks Across All Buying

Today, Integral Ad Science (IAS), a global leader in digital ad verification, released its Media Quality Report (MQR) for H2 2020, providing transparency into the performance and quality of Australian digital media, alongside global comparisons. Integral Ad Science’s H2 2020 MQR highlights brand safety, ad fraud, and viewability trends across display, video, mobile web, and […]

Quintis Appoints Illuminate As Global PR Partner
  • Media

Quintis Appoints Illuminate As Global PR Partner

Quintis Sandalwood has appointed Illuminate as its global PR partner following a competitive pitch process. Proudly Australian, Quintis produces and markets Indian Sandalwood oil, logs, chips and powder products across the world to major companies in industries such as fragrance, aromatherapy, cosmetics, handicrafts and Traditional Chinese Medicine industries. Illuminate will be responsible for a global communications […]

Image lead story Even More Pics From The 30 Under 30 Awards!
  • Media

Even More Pics From The 30 Under 30 Awards!

Hopefully the weekend has given everyone enough time to recover from B&T’s 30 Under 30 awards and prepare themselves for our official photo dump! We shared some of the highlights last week, and now you can peruse all of the pictures taken on the night. Thank you to everyone for attending this year’s awards, and […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Kinderling Kids Streams Ahead With Direct-To-Consumer Offering
  • Marketing

Kinderling Kids Streams Ahead With Direct-To-Consumer Offering

Kinderling Kids Radio (Kinderling) has announced the completion of its move from DAB+, where it launched six years ago, to a direct-to-consumer streaming model, accessible online or through the Kinderling Kids iOS and Android app. The Parent Brand, the parent company of Kinderling Kids and Babyology, made the decision to shift as streaming and on-demand […]

RUN Take On The Flu
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

RUN Take On The Flu

Globally award-winning, indie agency RUN, have launched the New Zealand National Influenza Immunization Campaign, running over the next 8 weeks across TV, digital, social, print and press.

Audika Says Stop Ignoring The ‘Whats’ And Get A Hearing Test, Via Ward6
  • Campaigns

Audika Says Stop Ignoring The ‘Whats’ And Get A Hearing Test, Via Ward6

Most people over 60 stay on top of their health with regular check-ups. Whether it’s eyes, prostate or breasts, they realise at their age it’s important. But one that gets ignored is hearing. They’d rather live with gradual hearing loss, and continually ask what, huh, pardon or sorry until it seriously impacts their life and […]

Connecting Plots To Handle [yellow tail] Social Media Following Account Win
  • Media
  • Technology

Connecting Plots To Handle [yellow tail] Social Media Following Account Win

Creative communications agency Connecting Plots has been appointed by Casella Family Brands to handle the social media accounts for [yellow tail] wine in Australia. The win follows an audit of the Casella Family Brands social activities, which led to [yellow tail] rethinking its approach to social media and how it aligns with its overall marketing […]

HERO’s B.B.E Wins v2food Account
  • Media

HERO’s B.B.E Wins v2food Account

v2food, has appointed HERO’s B.B.E as the lead strategic and creative agency for the brand following a competitive pitch process. v2food is an Australian pioneering food technology business with a global vision to feed the planet sustainably. After launching nationally in 2019, v2food has been on a mission to offer Australians an easy alternative to meat […]

Rows of coins isolated on white background. Finance and banking concept.
  • Media

Magnite And Adform See Monetisation Uplift Using First-Party Identifiers

Magnite (Nasdaq: MGNI), the largest independent sell-side advertising platform, today announced it has been working with Adform, the only independent global ad management platform covering all aspects of the digital campaign lifecycle, to scale first party identifiers in privacy-safe ways. With the pending elimination of third-party cookies, the industry must establish future-proof identity solutions for publishers and buyers.

Martin Box Named Co-Chair Of Commercial Producers Council
  • Media

Martin Box Named Co-Chair Of Commercial Producers Council

The Commercial Producers Council is delighted to announce the appointment of Martin Box (pictured) as its new Co-Chair, effective immediately. Box, Head of Production at Airbag, joins Co-Chair Pip Smart, and fills the vacancy left by Lucas Jenner who steps aside from the Co-Chair role after four years of service, in accordance with the CPC’s […]