May 27th, 2010
Search is sometimes referred to as the “database of intent”. The reason is simple – never before have prospects so clearly told advertisers what they want before they arrive at the site. The trick is to maximise this opportunity.
The concept of deep-linking isn’t specific to search. It applies to all online marketing activity, such as display, email and social. The difference however, is that the search phrase is an additional data point that should be used to segment and effectively funnel the user towards desired action.
Consider the site structure below for a moment:
Just a few years ago, it wasn’t rare to find campaigns that were all pointing to the home page (or worse, the many times severely limited internal site search functionality).
The first issue with this approach, is that someone arriving from a specific search such as “product x specs” will not immediately see the product they are expecting, and possibly just hit the back button in frustration and appear as a “bounce” in the site analytics.
Secondly, even if they are determined enough, and decide to give the site a second chance, they still have to find their way through via internal navigation and search functionality. This leaves them vulnerable to getting lost, frustrated and ultimately giving up, and return to their search engine of choice for a better match to their original query.
Simplistically, there are two levels of segmentation when it comes to keywords and landing pages:
- Type: e.g. Category, Product, Service
- Intent: e.g. buy, compare, complain, trouble shoot
At the first level, advertisers will send category searches (e.g. “printers”) to a category page, and product specific searches (e.g. “brand X model Y”) to the product page. Isn’t that nice and simple?
At the second level, the advertiser will utilise the search modifiers to better understand what the consumer wants. E.g. a search for “brand X model Y specifications”) will send traffic to the corresponding sub page or section of the landing page.
While this might seem like common sense and straight forward to implement, there are a few things to consider. The second level of segmentation increases the complexity of the campaign by quickly multiplying the number of individual landing pages. These individual landing pages need to be checked so they are up to date, accessible and have the required call to action for up sell or cross-sell.
In return when all stars align, advertisers can expect happier site visitors and improved conversion rates.
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