“It’s hard to remember the world before the internet.”
If you say that now, wait until five years from now when you might look back on content marketing and forget what it was like before search engine optimization became the standard.
Web marketers have watched strategies adjust over the years to include paid advertising, social media marketing and several other new tools and tactics as part of their repertoire. However, research shows that organic search still holds a vital place within a savvy content marketing strategy, and is even more effective than paying for ads that show up at the top of the search returns.
Don’t believe us? Keep reading to find out why.
Numbers Speak Loudest
Organic search still proves to be the best channel to drive traffic to your site. According to BrightEdge, organic search still accounts for 51 percent of all visitors for both B2B and B2C businesses. In fact, organic search alone commands more impact than all other non-organic traffic generators combined, including:
- Paid search
- Social media
- Display ads
- Referral traffic
However, the team at BrightEdge found that organic search combined with paid advertising yields the best results, as opposed to either channel on its own. In the retail, technology and hospitality industries, for example, “organic and paid search combined make up over two-thirds of their total revenue.” We may see a change to these figures but, for now, organic search is still the anchor.
It’s Not the Tool that Matters, but Who Wields It
Social media has become an invaluable tool to any business wishing to grow its online presence. There has been such a powerful shift in media and publishing that Fortune magazine reported in 2015 that Facebook now drives more traffic to news outlets than Google does, accounting for 43 percent of traffic, compared to Google’s 38 percent.
Given the value of such an effective traffic generator, it is foolish to eliminate social media from your content marketing campaign. But first, consider the pitfalls of the social platforms.
When you rely on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. as your primary source of advertising, you are at the whims of the social media platform. Even though these sites drive traffic pretty impressively, they can change their rules at any time. For example, what if Facebook decides to adjust their timeline-viewing algorithm (again)? How can you assure that your content will be seen?
What if Twitter changes its advertising layout? Will your content be as accessible as it was when you first paid for your campaign?
These questions may seem like small matters to consider, but they will remain relevant as long as social media platforms strive to maximize their user experience. Remember that Facebook referral traffic only bests Google when it comes to news websites. This does not hold true for the websites of your average B2B or B2C companies.
Came for the Bread; Stayed for the Meat
The first goal of advertising is to get people to notice your product. The second goal of advertising is to get people to love your product.
Social media and paid ads do an effective job of driving traffic, but research shows that they don’t produce a “sticky” experience. In other words, people often come to your site once, and then they leave.
According to Kristine Schachinger, a marketing CEO and an author for Search Engine Watch, “If you want to sell something or gain brand awareness, social is an excellent channel. If you want people to find your store and remember you, organic is the way to go.”
Think about it: When an article or ad pops up on your news feed, you’re likely to click on it, then leave the site. Whereas with organic search, when you type in your search keywords and find a site matching your search query, you’re more likely to explore the rest of the site and remember its content.
With organic search, people start off looking a topic or product relevant to you, and their keyword search brings them to you. And if they have a great experience on your site, not only are they more likely to click around, they’re more likely to come back.
You Only Get What You Pay For, not a Penny More
What happens when the money runs out in paid advertising? You have to consider the following factors when choosing your content marketing campaign:
- What to spend
- How much to spend
- Where to spend it
There are two basic paid channel pricing models: CPM and Pay Per Click. With CPM (cost per thousand clicks), a business is paying for the number of impressions on their ad – aka the number of times their ad gets seen. This is an effective way to allocate budget because it allows you to focus on a base price, but it doesn’t guarantee ROI.
With pay per click, businesses are charged every time an ad is clicked on. While this is a great way to measure traffic, it also doesn’t guarantee ROI, and has the added risk of overextending your finances if the number of clicks exceeds your marketing budget allocation.
Eliminating either channel of advertising result can result in a steep drop in traffic to your site, so it’s extremely important to not rely too heavily on paid advertising. Organic search allows you to capitalize on both impressions and clicks. Thus, remember to aim for strong organic rankings in addition to any search ads you might already be paying for.
With organic search, you get the added bonus of flexibility. While it isn’t a good idea to have long breaks in organic search investment, you can decrease the amount of investment you have in your campaign according to the changes in seasons.
Maybe you’re an online flower distributor, and you want to increase your paid advertising around Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day to promote discounts on flowers. Organic search allows you the added bonus of continuing your keyword-targeting strategy while also redistributing some of your marketing budget toward paid seasonal advertising.
Remember: Organic Search Results Are Better than Paid Entries
We can’t speak for the food and diet market, but when it comes to content marketing, organic isn’t just a trend: It’s a staple. A web marketing campaign that doesn’t capitalize on organic search is missing out on a foundational strategy that has proven to be effective, regardless of all of the recent changes in SEO.
Don’t forget to also take advantage of paid and social media advertising, but if faced with a choice between the three, organic will win out every time.
Need help with aiming for organic spots? Or could you use some overall consultation on your digital marketing strategy and where to best allocate resources? Start by learning about Eminent SEO’s Website Marketing services, and then give us a call at 800.871.4130 when you’re ready to hear more!