Did you know that every second, 105 people look up the term “SEO” on Google? If this is true and if this number is growing, why is online marketing largely associated with banner ads?
It fascinates me because I never heard any mention, not even once, of this SEO phenomenon throughout my four-year pursuit of a Bachelor of Arts in Advertising. And, I did not receive my degree in 1999 – I graduated two months ago.
Don’t get me wrong, I was given an excellent and very expensive (as my parents remind me) education. I learned a lot, and I loved my school and the professors – who were all extremely dedicated and knowledgeable. That is, they were knowledgeable in the context of traditional advertising and marketing. Through them, I sharpened my analytical skills because they placed a heavy emphasis on the importance of getting to know clients, their expertise, their customers, and precisely what those customers want.
The only thing I was taught about Internet advertising was that websites contain annoying banner ads and that those banner ads are capable of driving traffic to websites. So, from the design perspective, you better make them visually appealing.
I’ve learned a little more than that at WrightIMC in the past two months. Yes, banner ads are capable of increasing traffic, but because they have become so saturated with intelligence-insulting messages like, “Congratulations! You’ve just won $1,000! Click here to claim your prize!” they are unlikely to captivate the attention and interest of Internet browsers. By “Internet browsers” I’m referring to real people, with discerning minds and unique motivations.
Consumers want to learn something valuable when making a decision to purchase. They want accurate, clear, useful information written for them by smart people. Successful search engine optimization allows consumers to find what they’re looking for, without having their intelligence insulted by inauthentic, desperate, and farfetched “advertising.” SEO allows advertisers to reach people who want to reach them. The fact that SEO is not a staple of marketing students’ curriculum boggles my mind.
SEO Limits the Limitations
I could point out many limitations of traditional advertising. However, I believe the biggest limitation is that judging the results is mostly a guessing game.
“How many sales are directly connected to the TV ads we ran?”
“How many viewers went to go fold laundry during the commercial break?”
“The Sunday paper has 100,000 subscribers. How many of them saw our ad on page D16? How many of those people even open up section D?”
At WrightIMC, we don’t have to ask questions like that. And, the questions that are asked are promptly provided with quantitative answers. Thanks to Google Analytics and other software tools, SEO professionals are able to profile and target consumers exceedingly better than TV and radio advertisers ever could. We’re able to tell you how many people clicked your Google AdWords ad, how many of those people bought something and how much they spent, or if they filled out a request form on your site. We can measure the direct effects of our work. That’s pretty fun.
So, it’s nice to know those banner ads aren’t the only component of online advertising. (OMG, I can’t even believe I just wrote that sentence.) I just wish I didn’t have to discover that gem of information after receiving my college degree. WrightIMC, you’re too good to me.
Images provided by Horia Varlan and State of Search.