Wednesday, October 13, 2010

CDMP Week: A Layperson's Overview on Search

Search has become part and parcel of our daily lives as most of the information we get from the internet we usually get through search. And, this does not merely limit itself to our digital self but our entire being, as what Google’s famous “Search Stories” ad (click to create your own! This is fun, trust me!) drives at.

But, how does it actually play into marketing? In order to fully understand this, one has to look at how Google (and other search engines) work. For one, whenever you type in a keyword, Google returns a list of pages in response to your search and you are most likely to click on the links on the first page, if not just the ones on top of said page. After all, why would you have to go through the effort of going to the 27th page or the 5,723rd link when you know that the first links are most likely to be more relevant than those somewhere last? As a marketer, therefore, your ultimate goal is to reach the top of the heap in order to gain more ogling eyes. Or, at the very least, gain headway in the list than your competitors and/or detractor. Time to call in Aling Nena.

Wakarima-corn has long settled in the long stretch of Katipunan Avenue among a number of other Japanese corn stores. Now that Aling Nena has gained a following among the community and with the Yuletide season fast pulling in tourists, it’s high time she decided to take advantage of the situation. Katipunan Avenue is known for its Japanese sweet corn but, most certainly, the tourists went there for the corn and not for any specific store. So, what to do? There are two ways for Aling Nena to take advantage of this influx of searchers:
  1. Search Engine Optimization. Aling Nena has gained a steady following among her loyal buyers in the community and, with that, she’s more than confident that a handful of them would ultimately lead searchers to her. The more trusted* loyal buyers she has, the higher chances are that searchers would be able to discover her little stall. SEO works the same online. Your website’s organic rank is determined (partly) by the number of trusted* sites which link back to your website. The higher the number of trusted* sites linking back to you, the higher the chances that you’ll be on top of the search results page.
  2. Paid Search/Search Advertising. Aling Nena, despite having lots of loyal buyers remains undiscoverable. So, she resorts to rallying a few of her minions to distribute Wakarima-corn flyers to the tourists. Online, marketers and brands resort to this same tactic through paid search where they bid on a certain keyword so that they could appear in the search results page. Note that this is targeted inasmuch as marketers only pay to advertise to people who search for a certain keyword. In Aling Nena’s case, her minions know full well that they are only to give flyers to tourists and/or people on the lookout for Japanese corn.
*I put emphasis on this as certain search engines put weights (crudely defined) on sites in terms of their relevance. You're most likely to gain more momentum in organic search when Mashable links to you than when a geocities page (one that you built yourself) links to you. Offline, you could see this as that huge divide between President Obama and Aling Nena's son endorsing Wakarima-corn. Sure, most people would believe Aling Nena's son but President Obama would be able to pull more attention towards Wakarima-corn.
+This post is part of the CDMP Week series, a week-long series of blog posts aimed at explaining digital marketing strategies through offline analogies. This has been partially intended as a fulfillment of one of the requirements of the Certified Digital Marketing Program (formerly known as the Digital Marketing Diploma Program). The CDMP (DMDP) is a one-year diploma course under the Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philipppines (IMMAP) and Ateneo's Center for Continuing Education (Ateneo CCE). Enrollees go through a crash course on a number of digital marketing concepts and tactics and, in the end, have the opportunity to be dubbed as one of the few Certified Digital Marketers as recognized by IMMAP. To learn more, visit or go to their Facebook page here.

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