5 Things Every MD Needs To Understand About Online Marketing (Part 5)

For many marketing managers, keeping on top of current thinking is relatively easy; the difficult bit is explaining what needs to be done to the MD. So this week I thought I’d cover five really basic points which still need making in 2013, not that they’ll be news to you, dear reader, but in the hope that my explanation might help when it comes to making the point to the boss.

5. The only reliable way onto the first page of Google is to pay for it.

Despite what I said previously about the amount of new business being generated by Google searches being far lower than you think it is, the potential is still enormous. If you were the first result returned by Google in its free listings for every product type you supply, your sales team wouldn’t be able to cope.

Sadly, that’s almost certainly not the situation, and it’s not likely to be in the future. Despite the claims of the “search engine optimisation” companies, there’s very little chance of you working your way up to the top spot in Google now, at least not without the sort of time, effort and expense you’re unlikely to have available. You can improve on what you’ve got, but there’s no magic bullet any longer.

And the other bad news is that increasingly, the free listings in Google are becoming second-class anyway. It’s not uncommon now to see a Google results page which contains nothing but adverts and perhaps a Wikipedia entry. Results from companies like yours are being relegated down the page into areas where few people scroll.

The free ride couldn’t last forever, and now you need to direct a substantial part of your advertising budget to buying space on the Google results pages. In exchange, you get to specify where you appear and how you appear, which seems like pretty good compensation to me. It’s also the advertising channel which, for most companies, represents the best value for money available today.

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