What’s a Brilliant Idea in Search?

I’m at the launch of ad:tech Singapore and enjoying being part of something new in online marketing in a new and vibrant part of the world for me.

This has been another great reminder of the difference in search marketing practices around the planet. And it’s not just due to the usual cultural and language differences. It’s more about the awareness of search marketing’s power.

In my previous column, “Gearing Up for Pan-Asian Search Marketing,” I wrote about the Asian online marketplace and how fast it’s growing. And yet search still seems to be taking the usual back seat in online marketing — a trend I’ve seen before — as it emerges and slowly grows in other geographical marketplaces.

No doubt, the notion of online marketing as an obvious must-do has been absorbed and understood across Asia. Online usage continues to increase at a staggering pace. And marketing dollars have to target that audience.

Paid search is a champion for the cause and receives a decent slice of online marketing attention. Yet, good old-fashioned SEO (define) still seems to be largely misunderstood or shrouded in mystique by mainstream marketers.

The interest level is huge, but the implementation level seems still to be a low priority compared to paid search. I’ve talked to marketers and representatives from various search engines across the various regions, and education is a high priority everywhere.

My company has long been involved in multinational campaigns and we’ve had a base in Singapore for more than two years. But we’ve been doing search in Asia for more than six years.

As part of our sponsorship of ad:tech launch here, our CEO came up with the idea to run our own educational sessions on search marketing at ad:tech. The sessions were eight minutes long and contained eight ideas for the audience to take away and work with.

Some ideas were new and exciting. Other ideas were common knowledge to seasoned online marketers in the U.S. Nonetheless, in an emerging market, almost everything is new, brilliant, and exciting if you had no knowledge of it before.

The eight topics we chose to cover and the ideas which attracted most discussion in the Q&A sessions were:

  • Successful SEO. Speak the language your customers use and understand. Carry out in-depth keyword research, then incorporate appropriate keywords into your Web site, links, and ad copy.
  • Profitable paid search. Start with the right infrastructure. Campaign architecture is one of the most important factors of successful paid search. Proper setup and structure is essential for ensuring scalability and efficient campaign analysis.
  • Integrated search marketing. Bolster offline marketing efforts with search. Don’t silo your online and offline marketing efforts. Ensure potential customers convert by optimizing and bidding for keyword used in your offline advertisement.
  • Competitive intelligence. Look for new opportunities. Analyzing how competitors market products can reveal new markets or channels that you enter. You can also further leverage your competitive edge if you find you’re active in markets or channels that your competitors aren’t.
  • Landing page optimization. Test, test, test. Develop a process for testing layouts and even completely different pages. Utilize A/B splits and multivariate testing, and analyze results to determine which pages and elements work best.
  • Search and keyword analytics. Get inside the mind of searcher. Analyze keywords and phrases that drive traffic and sales to your Web site. Learn to speak your customers’ language. What adjectives or other modifiers do they search with? What order do they search in?
  • Smart technology use. That includes customized reporting. Analytics can overwhelm you with sheer volume of information, so use rolled up dashboards that provide only the keyword insight you need. Most good solutions can be configured to provide data that corresponds to your specific business objectives.
  • The future of search. The days of the 10 blue links are fading. Search engines are evolving. With always-on broadband connections, search engine results pages deliver a vast array of content and file types and result in a much richer end user experience.

All of the above seemed to resonate really well with people who are becoming so passionate about search.

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