Holistic: [adj] Emphasizing the importance of the whole and the interdependence of its parts.
Holistic Theory: [noun] The theory that the parts of any whole should be considered in relation to the whole, and that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Although the word “holistic” is often used to describe a particular approach to medicine (in which the emphasis is on treatment of the “whole” individual), it is also appropriate to apply it to other disciplines, including search engine marketing services. There are three major components of search engine marketing services (and many minor ones, but we won’t touch on them here). These three primary parts are often used individually to great effect – but it is only when they are effectively used in unison that the “whole” can become “greater than the sum of its parts.” The major components of effective search engine marketing are as follows:
Organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Enhancing your website so that it ranks highly in the search engines for targeted key phrases is the essence of search engine optimization. Organic search engine results, which appear below the paid listings on most engines, are often considered to be more trustworthy than pay-per-click advertising by searchers who understand the difference. These purportedly non-biased results can be likened to the articles in a trade magazine, while “Sponsored” results can be likened to the advertisements. A company that is mentioned in an article will usually garner a more favorable impression than a company that is simply advertising in the same magazine, making organic search engine optimization a key component of effective search engine marketing services.
Online Public Relations (PR)
Online PR involves distributing articles, press releases and thought-leadership papers online. This tactic ensures consistent and valuable exposure anywhere one’s key prospects seek information online. This additional exposure has multiple benefits within search engine marketing services, as it delivers targeted and supplemental website traffic and increases a website’s authority status in the eyes of the search engines.
The most often overlooked of the three components of search engine marketing services, website conversion is equal in importance to the other two. Conversion is the art and science of determining predominant user behavior on your website and trying to improve it – in other words, attempting to influence visitors to take a specific action on your site that eventually leads to a sale.
How They Work Together
While each of the above components by themselves can return excellent results, the power of each is multiplied when they are used effectively together. The results returned by search engine marketing services using any combination of the three pieces applied simultaneously will almost always outperform the collective results of the same pieces applied separately.
SEO with Online PR:
Often, many companies do not take advantage of an easy way to get exposure for their business. By regularly publishing both press releases and articles online, a company can raise its profile and establish its key players as authorities and experts in a particular industry. This tactic works seamlessly with other search engine marketing services – by optimizing the press releases with targeted keyphrases before distributing them to wire services, the information is more likely to be found by a searcher, whether it is simply someone looking for additional facts or a reporter looking to build a story, and it can therefore help drive specialized traffic directly to the site. In addition, a link to the company’s home page within the bio of an article can add valuable incoming links from unrelated sites, which is a major contributor to search engine rankings.
While incorporating online PR into search engine marketing services is not a replacement for offline PR or the strategy behind it, it does provide the opportunity to expand upon your PR efforts as a whole and reach an audience you wouldn’t likely reach otherwise. Unlike a one-time print placement, online content remains, continually increasing your online exposure and visibility.
SEO with Website Conversion:
Often, firms are willing to spend many thousands of dollars to increase traffic to their site, but not a penny on website conversion. In a medium that makes it so easy for a searcher to look elsewhere, conversion is critical to all search engine marketing services – and the net effect of raising your conversion rate from one to two percent is the same as doubling your traffic (and in one sense it is actually better, since it means that far fewer people have left your site unsatisfied). Conversion naturally works independently of any search engine marketing services (provided that your website gets any traffic at all). But the combined effect of increasing your conversion rate and your traffic naturally yields more impressive results. Say, for example, that your website currently provides you with only two solid sales leads per week. By doubling your conversion rate, you will get four leads, and doubling your traffic on top of that will yield eight.
However, the above example does not take into account the quality of search engine traffic from targeted keyphrases. It is often the case that current site traffic is not particularly targeted (a look into a site’s web logs will often reveal a large number of search engine-referred visitors that found the site using non-targeted phrases). It is not uncommon to see conversion rates skyrocket in search engine marketing services as the quality of traffic improves due to targeted keyphrase advertising or organic search engine optimization. With PR campaigns, you can further boost conversion rates by attracting an audience and then directing them to optimized pages – another example of how seemingly separate disciplines can complement each other so well
The Bottom Line
The fact that these components of search engine marketing services are most effective when used in concert does not mean that each should not be tracked individually – of course they should. But do not be surprised when your returns on two or more of these disciplines used together are greater than the combined returns from the individual components used separately. And this presents a dilemma – highly successful holistic search engine marketing services can make extracting exact ROI figures for each individual component difficult, since “the whole” has become “greater than the sum of its parts”. But as many savvy companies are discovering, this is a nice problem to have.<< Back to Archive Blog