This article introduces the Search Pyramid, a framework for businesses to use to
organize their search engine marketing activities.
Introducing the Search Pyramid
● Organic search is a superior source of traffic and leads
● Keyword research is key to success and a continuous activity
● SEO preferred, but diminishing returns pursuing specialized phrases
A challenge you likely face in your online business is how to prioritize your search engine
marketing activities. While getting on the first page of search engine results is most
quickly and easily accomplished using paid search, top organic search listings – achieved
through search engine optimization – are generally more attractive in the long run. This
attraction is based on two measurable factors: (1) Organic search listings are a cheaper
source of new business leads and (2) Search users consider organic listings a more
authoritative and relevant match to their query (so you get more clicks).
That said, there doesn’t need to be a decision for search optimization or paid search at
the expense of the other. In an optimized campaign for search, both organic and paid
search campaigns have a specific role to play.
Success on the search engines starts with an understanding of what words people use. To
get started with your search engine marketing, you will need to define the lexicon of
your business – the words and concepts that are associated with your industry, products
and services. You’ll define the lexicon a number of different ways: by talking to your
colleagues, talking to your customers, examining how your competitors talk about
themselves, looking at your website analytics and doing keyword research.
What you’ll find once you get the list together is that there will be phrases that are very
general, some phrases that are pretty good at describing what you do generally, and
finally some phrases that are very specific. The easiest thing to do next is to just go buy
all these phrases on the publishers, create a few witty ads and start counting the leads.
Alternatively — and probably at the advice of your SEO consultants — you can start
creating optimized pages for each phrase with the long term vision being that you’ll have
a zero dollar cost to acquire as all leads will come from organic search. Both approaches
will be needlessly expensive. Finding the balance of search activities and deciding where
to use paid search and where to use SEO, is where the Search Pyramid offers a basic
framework to get you started.