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Wayne Ens

Win, Place, or Show?

Win, place, or showdoes it really matter?

Youve probably seen shady characters in the movies or at the track who hot "tips" to help race enthusiasts bet on the winning horse.

Advertisers eager to see their website win the race against competitors websites  can be the victim of similar tipsters, calling themselves S.E.O (Search Engine Optimization) consultants. Many of these "consultants" are flying below your radar, taking bigger chunks of marketing budgets than you might imagine. 

These S.E.O. consultants promise to make advertisers' websites win the race to the top of a search engine page with keywords, and various other tactics and tools. But just like those "hot tips" at the track, there are real problems inherent in their tips and tactics.

1.) The same search engine optimization "expert" who sells your client a "hot tip," is selling that tip to their competitors tooand there is only one top slot.

2.) Other search engine optimization "consultants" are selling different hot tips to get their clients, your clients' competitors, to win that same race.

3.) Still other competitors are literally trying to buy their way to the top of the search engine page.

4.) The tactics to win the race to the top change daily and there are more in the race than can fit on one search engine page.

The bad news is, the race to the top of a search engine page is never ending, and  impossible to win consistently as competitors enter the race to find new avenues to take them to the top.

The good news is, websites dont need to win the race to the top, they only need to place or show to be effective.
Could it be true? Is S.E.O. over-hyped? Lets examine why "winning" the S.E.O. race isnt necessary.

Consider your own search habits. Its highly likely that when you go online in search of a business, you are more likely to bypass the business at the top of the list if youve never heard of it, in favour of a business you noticed a little deeper in the list that you had heard of.

In an ENS Media survey of 2,640 Internet users in 12 markets, less than 6 percent of Web surfers clicked exclusively on the first business their search reveals at the top of the list. Nearly 80 percent (79.6 percent) preferred to click on a business they had heard of or are familiar with. And radio certainly can make a business "heard of."

There are several reasons for more familiar businesses being preferred.

1.) The number one search engine is Google. Youve probably noticed that the first few names at the top of a Google search have a light-pink shading behind them, and you probably know why.its because they are not there through organic search, they are paid ads. You know that, and so do consumers. They prefer to visit the organic search results.

2.) People prefer to do business with businesses they trust, and they seldom trust a business theyve never heard of.
The real "inside tip" to getting results and higher returns from websites is to create a pre-need awareness, preference, and trust for a business before  prospects begin their online search.

If you own a business called Bobs Tire Store, for example, do you really want victims of flat tires to search "tire stores" to reveal a list of all of your competitors, or would you prefer they search for Bobs Tire Store?

Of course, youd rather they search for your business, negating the need for S.E.O.

Creating pre-need awareness, preference, and trust really gives you a two-fold advantage online:

1.) Many prospects will search for you specifically, rather than viewing a list of your competitors, and

2.) If they do a generic search, having built awareness and trust in advance of their search increases the odds of them choosing to click on your link, rather than your competitors.

Websites can be a powerful marketing tool in any advertisers tool chest if they are part of a greater marketing mix that gives the advertiser top-of-mind awareness before their prospects begin their online searches.

Wayne Ens is president of ENS Media Inc,  producer of the SoundADvice radio e-marketing system and the Winning in the New Media Economy revenue development system. He can be reached at


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