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The power of user attention and the art of SEM

The power of user attention and the art of SEM

Think about it for a second: How can you attract something that you aren’t aware of? From a marketing perspective, how can you get a user to like your product when they don’t even know it exists?

If you consider that the "law of attraction" and a user’s attention span go hand in hand, then you’ve got the gist of it. Both work together on a psychological level. The law of attraction is the name given to the principle "like attracts like" which summarises the idea that by focusing on positive thoughts, a person brings positive experiences into their life. Similarly, a user will attract content through their continuous activity online searching for what they need and what they want. This is an area where search engine marketing, when done properly, can generate sales, increase visits and build on profits.

Wait, what is search engine marketing? Search engine marketing (SEM) can be divided into two parts: Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). The main goal is to provide 100% visibility and readability when a user searches for your product, service or business. There are many tools available today that can assist in analysing performance results and an interesting one is called eye-tracking research which measures the motion of the eye on a web page. Generally, Search Engine Results Pages show that visitors read in a "F" format. This is also known as Golden Triangle, visualised as a heat map. It points to an increase in click through rates on the first three search results, due to the way users view the result page. Studies show that users generally focus on the full title and description of the first three listings and, as they move down the page, focus less and less on elements of the title and description. This implies that websites which are well positioned in search results will naturally see an increase in traffic.

Eye-tracking heat mapThe heat map also indicates better Click-Through-Rate (CTR) on high keyword ranking. According to the research made on 7 June 2013 - "The Value of Google Results Positioning" - a website which is ranked first on a Google Results Page receives an average of 32.5% share of total organic traffic and 2.5% share of paid traffic.

Great, but what does this statistic mean? In order to understand and calculate organic and paid traffic, we can use the following formula: Traffic = Search Volume x CTR. Traffic generated from a search engine is equal to the monthly keyword search volume multiplied by the Click-Through-Rate on every page where the website is ranked for that keyword. Let’s look at an example: if you have an average of 1,000,000 monthly search traffic volume for a particular keyword and your website is ranked in first place for both paid, with 2.5% CTR, plus organic search, with 32.5% CTR, you will receive 350,000 website visits or 35% of the traffic share.

Search Engine Marketing Vs Social Media Marketing. Search engine marketing is not a distractive marketing, unlike advertising on social media channels. The user search query is more focused on a product or service, hence search text ads are only shown in the right place, at the right time and to a specific user. Let’s use an example: A Google user who is searching for "cheap shoes" has a higher buying intention than a social media user who sees a “cheap shoes” image advert while browsing and communicating with friends. This is the reason why Search Engine Marketing has strong business potential and better ROI. That is not to say Social Media Marketing doesn’t have its own Of course, social media marketing has its own strategic benefits and uses.

How to get ahead in Search Engine Marketing? Having a good website is only the first step! Success with SEM will stem from having the right strategy to bring the right visitors to your site. An SEM strategy will be made up of several coordinated elements such as keyword and competitor analysis; campaign duration, implementation and management; detailed monthly performance reports. Rather like agile methodology, SEM cannot be a one-off approach and nor is it something you can learn overnight. Although the internet does provide a lot of information for those keen to understand, businesses who understand the value that SEM can bring will usually opt to enlist the services of a digital agency to assist them with integrating SEM as part of an overall marketing strategy. The key to SEM is that it has to be made of evolving algorithms which are measured, tweaked and groomed according to performance and business strategy. As this insinuates, SEM is clearly linked to analytics and big data, a world which shows that marketing has clearly moved on from the shampoo approach of “Wash, rinse, repeat”.

Simeon Kirilov is a digital marketing specialist at Deloitte Digital. Image Source