Internet Retailer magazine June 21, 2011 by Amy Munice, ALM Communications
Filed under Marketing, Web Marketing
Every week I speak with a company president, VP of Marketing or some equivalent, who assures me that they have absolutely no need to focus on web marketing, “because we are already number one.” How do they know this? One thing is for certain, they aren’t using artificial intelligence tools for search engine optimization to receive accurate information on their company’s unique competitive position on the web. Rather, they type their main keyword into Google, and consistently find themselves at the top of the page or very near it. But what is wrong with that, you might ask.
How Do Search Engines Work?
Simply stated, that is not how search engines work anymore. In fact, they haven’t worked that way for quite some time. This isn’t just Google; this is also true of Bing, Yahoo, Baidu, etc. Search engines now serve you up what they think you are looking for. They know who you are, and more importantly, who your customers are. They know how you are looking for things, as well as how your customers search for news, companies, products, etc. Plus, they know the zip code and the local geography where each user is located. Search engines are getting better and smarter at knowing YOU and each of your customers, as well as what’s what in your micro-locale every day. A quick type into Google, and you are being fed an illusion.
Personalized Search Algorithms
To the more technically inclined, it takes more than cleaning cookies or turning off personalized search in Chrome to get to the “truth.” Even if YOU turn off personalized search (which is more difficult than an on-off switch in a Chrome browser), you have to ask yourself, “Are my customers doing the same?” With more than 99.99 percent certitude, you can assume that they are NOT. Without math-based search engine optimizer tools, you and your site will remain victim to algorithms that “personalize” search. Simply stated, you are leaving it all to fate, or more accurately, to any/all competitors who do get wind of math-based search engine optimizer tools, that can help transform personalized search algorithms from obstacles to advantages.
Think of it this way: site ranking, an objective site ranking, really only means that you are part of a deck of cards that gets dealt to any prospect seeking out the keyword for which your web page is optimized. If it’s a 50-card deck, the way in which one prospect searches may put your site at the top, and the way another searches, at the bottom, or anywhere in between.
In my next column, we’ll discuss in more detail about ways that search engines work (a.k.a. “search algorithms”) that make it impossible for you to get a good read on your site ranking by simply Googling.
Amy Munice is president of ALM Communications, 773-862-6800.
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