Sunday, September 23, 2007

Organic Search on Branded Phrases

Over the past several years, many companies who ignore basic search engine marketing best practices fail miserable at attracting non-branded organic traffic to their website.

For example, we recently worked with a financial institution that had over a quarter million visits per month to their website but only a very small percentage of their traffic came from search engines.

The goal of our engagement was to increase traffic to their website from search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN.

Looking at their historical Google analytic data we discovered that 95% of their traffic came from users that were directly typing in the client’s website URL. Only 3.6% of their website traffic came from organic search results. The remainder 1.4% came from a small pay-per-click campaign and two other websites that linked to them.

Since, the client primarily operated in California where they enjoyed strong brand recognition, they believed 3.6% of their visitors through search engines was a strong figure.

What were the search words that made up this 3.6% of their total traffic?
The top 14 keyword phrases all contained the company’s name! People were searching on the company’s name, the companies name followed by the .com domain, etc.

The 15th keyword was only the first keyword that didn’t contain their company name and was only responsible for less 5% of their organic search traffic and less than 1/100 of 1% of their total website traffic.

The company's organic search engine traffic was attracting visitors (a very small amount) that already knew about the company. The client was not capturing any users that were searching for financial services that were not familiar with their company!

We recommended trying to capture the following types of traffic:
A) People located anywhere in the US that were searching for financial services with a California related geographic term – I.E. "Investment Trusts in California".
B) People in California that were searching on financial services. – I.E. "CD Rate Specials".

Next week, we will describe the search engine marketing (SEM) and pay-per-click (PPC) tactics we used to increase these types of visitors to the companies website.

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