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    Posted May 13, 2014 by
    Charlotte, North Carolina

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    Bill Kopatich, Online Media Strategist, Explains Marketing Beyond Top of the Search Engines

    For many years, online marketers and SEO experts sold professionals and local businesses on the concept that showing up on the top of the search engines, such as Google, Bing and Yahoo, was the key to increased business and customer flow. As a result businesses continue to spend considerable amounts of money, several hundred to several thousand dollars per month, to achieve and maintain a top position in the search engine results.

    Top positioning is typically accomplished in one of two ways. The first method is through Search Engine Optimization (SEO) where typically over a period of several months, a web site is optimized with backlinks to make sure it shows up at the top of the organic search results. In competitive markets it’s mostly a matter of who spends the most to over-power the competitors. The other method is to use Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising networks such as Google AdWords, where the highest bids and highest quality ranking for ads and landing sites generate a top position in the Google search results (at the top or right side of the search results page). Although the PPC route can get a business to the top of the search results within twenty-four hours, the cost per click is high for competitive industries. As an example, clicks can cost as much as $50.00 to $100.00 each in high-competition and high-value industries such as personal injury attorneys or plastic surgeons.

    Bill Kopatich, an Online Media Strategist based in Charlotte, NC, feels that although business positioning at the top of the search engines is an important component of marketing a business and generating traffic, many businesses have not been satisfied with the results.

    “They were sold getting to the top of the search engines but the businesses thought they had purchased getting more customers. Unfortunately for many of the businesses, being on top of the search engine results didn’t directly connect to getting more customers. Today, consumers are very sophisticated with online search and don’t just click on a top search result and do business without some more research, especially for high cost services and products”, said Kopatich.

    “The real challenge for a business is how to stand out among the five to ten competitors that show up at the top of the search results”, continued Kopatich. “For a high-end service like plastic surgery, the prospective patient will do more research on at least three to five of the surgeons found in the search results before calling one of them.”

    The key marketing problem is how to be the business or service provider that the consumer picks to call when so many of the competitors all look about the same online. In doing their research after finding a few potential service providers at the top of the search results, consumers typically perform an online search for the name of several of the service providers to see what other information is available about them. The typical result is a website, a LinkedIn page and maybe some other directory listing. The results are mostly the same for each of the contenders for the consumer’s business.

    The solution for the service provider to stand out and be picked is to have a lot going on online beyond just being on top of the search engines. The most powerful way to stand out is by being featured as the industry expert through quotes, interviews and articles in the news media – newspapers, online news sites, TV, and radio as well as in other new media such as podcasts and Internet radio. Other useful techniques include claiming and optimizing the provider’s Goggle Plus page and publishing online press releases related to the business.

    Now imagine a consumer searching for a local plastic surgeon and there are eight results found on page one. Next, the consumer does more extensive research on six of the surgeons with a Google search of their names. Five of the six surgeon searches result in the typical – a web site, a LinkedIn profile, one or two directory listings. But the search results for the sixth surgeon shows an indication of an expert and an authority in his industry. In addition to the typical search results, the consumer sees this surgeon quoted in newspapers, a news article about the surgeon’s leading-edge techniques and links to online news sites featuring articles about the surgeon. This consumer looking for a plastic surgeon has found one of the six that stands out with several credible third parties talking about him as the trusted expert and authority in his field. It’s clear which of the six plastic surgeons is likely to get the most prospective patients calling him.

    “It’s not so much the amount of traffic the search engines are generating for your business, it’s getting the people that are finding you to pick you”, concluded Kopatich. “A bit of extra effort to position yourself as the expert and authority in your industry can double or even triple your business.”

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