The major search engines have long argued that paid listings can help boost brand awareness and recall. However, data from iProspect and comScore, Inc. shows that search listings alone may have very little, if any, impact on recall. If you really want to boost your brand recall online, you’ll need a more integrated approach, embracing both organic and paid search, as well as other exposure points like display ads.
Crucially, this research underlines the potency of having both paid and organic search listings for your brand. Combining these two exposure types alone boosted unaided brand recall by more than a third, from 17% to 23%. If you cannot afford expensive display ads, getting your SEO and paid search ads working in harmony will give you the biggest recall bang for your bucks.
And, here’s a gentle reminder for us all: even when throwing everything at consumers, fewer than half of the respondents in this research were able to recall all brands. Widespread brand awareness calls for much more than a few simple online ad exposures, and there are no guaranteed shortcuts. Becoming well-known and remembered is usually the ultimate result of a carefully planned and executed online and offline programme of activities delivered over an extended period of time.
eMarketer article: Uniting Search and Display for Stronger Results
I love case studies like this because it shows just what you can achieve with a little lateral thinking. On its site, Hitwise Intelligence tells the story of a clever campaign by View London to capture new site visitors at the time of the recent UK clock change.
Instead of buying paid-for sponsored listings on search engines, View London optimised their site to perform well against search keyphrases related to ‘clocks go back’. So, other than the cost of updating their website, this activity didn’t cost a bean.
The results were stunning: a 31.1% increase in visits to the View London web site capturing over 14% of search clicks relating to the targeted keyphrases. View London even beat ‘clock change’-related traffic to the BBC’s hugely popular site.
The lesson for marketers: think about how your brand site content can help people searching for information about forthcoming events or newsworthy topics. As View London has proved, a little bit of intelligent SEO copywriting can deliver a huge amount of extra free traffic.
Many SEO novices limit their optimisation efforts to the words on their web site, but the images on your pages can be, to coin a phrase, worth a thousand words.
At the most basic level adding Alt Text for every image on your site helps. But there are host of extra considerations you may wish to bear in mind, as Danny Dover of SEOmoz.org explains in this video: http://www.seomoz.org/blog/image-seo-basics-whiteboard-friday
Any attempt to manipulate natural Search Engine (SE) results listings is frowned upon by the major SE’s. But that doesn’t mean that all SEO is bad; most of it is just plain common sense. There’s no point having a great site that a search engine crawler cannot “see”.
Step forward Google, and their “Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide”. For anyone who’s new to SEO, this is essential reading. And, for anyone who’s highly experienced, I’ll happily challenge that there’s something in here that you haven’t paid attention to in recent months!