Saturating Your Message in Search Marketing

In marketing, saturating the market with your message ensures you're in front of as many eyeballs as possible. Whether it's buying ads during the Super Bowl or sponsoring a show to feature your brand during the hour or half-hour it's on, most big advertisers are cognizant of getting the most "bang" for their buck by purchasing time slots and placements that maximize exposure.

Online marketing is no different, and in competitive markets, saturation can be a challenge. Here are some tips to ensure you're controlling as many spaces on a page as possible.

First, let's define how many spots are available. For any given query, Google will return 10 organic listings and approximately 11 paid listings. That's, on average, 22 opportunities for you to gain or lose a click.

Your job, as someone who wants to control the market for that query, is to place yourself in as many spaces as possible. There are a few ways to do that.

Long Tail Phrases

Organic Results Saturation

For search terms that are less competitive, it's possible to gain two organic spaces for your own domain by getting more than one page to rank for a query. Indented listings represent two pages that may rank somewhere in the first 10 results.

Instead of showing a result at number two and number four, Google will combine your listings to be results two and three, respectively. This is a great strategy for less competitive terms, but what do you do when you're working on a top keyword phrase, and attempting to take away your competition's visibility?

Paid Results Saturation

Grabbing multiple spots for paid listings is much more difficult, whether your terms are competitive or non-competitive. The truth is you need to rely on other Web sites to help you.

Usually, a variety of directories and resources purchase sponsored ads at the top or right side of a page on Google. Buy directory listings or ads on the sites that are competing with you to take advantage of these listings. This means that, in addition to your own site's PPC ad, you're listed at the top of the page when someone clicks on the PPC ad for one of those directories.

I'm not a huge proponent of having multiple Web sites, especially for small businesses. If you do have a few domains that you're adding content to, and that provide a positive user experience, you could try buying PPC ads for those sites for the same queries.

This means if you have five domains, each with a unique page about Outer Banks Beaches, you could buy placement for those five domains for that term. Expensive, yes -- but this strategy can ensure that you're grabbing a large share of the market.

I'll warn you now: competing against yourself in paid advertising can be expensive. Make sure you aren't bidding against yourself, and if you are - don't outbid your own domains. Use placement targeting to make sure things stay even.

On the flip side, your competitors could easily drive up the bids for these long-tail phrases, so only use this tactic if you have a lot of time to put into analyzing and paying attention to these ads.

Competitive Phrases

Organic Placement

The truth is, for a competitive term you're probably only going to gain ranking for one page on your domain. It takes creativity to take search engine results away from your competitors.

Certain Web sites allow you to obtain or buy top of page advertising or whole page ads or listings that will rank well for your strong keywords, if you optimize the listing correctly. Some sites that can help with this are Facebook, Twitter, Squidoo, HubPages, and Yahoo Directory.

Make sure to write your page titles and meta descriptions like ad copy. As you craft your message, do the query yourself and see what you can write that will make your placement stand out from the competition.

Paid Placement

Buying paid ads for competitive phrases can be tricky and cost a lot of money in a short amount of time. The top spot isn't necessarily the only place on the page that makes money. Listings four through six have a smaller CTR, but with large dollar items, a higher conversion rate.

The problem with top listings is the $2 to $10 per click you're paying to shoppers and people who have no intention of making a purchase. Although shoppers come back to buy in many cases, if you're providing a great experience and price, $10 a click for maybe is too much money.

Most paid advertising platforms offer a variety of options for targeting, including day-parting, geo-targeting, and placement targeting that can help you show up for high-competition phrases, but may narrow the field enough to cost you less money. To determine if these tactics are right for you, make sure you have good analytics in place that will tell you the geographic concentration of your buyers and bookers.

You can also use your analytics to determine what time of day your purchases happen, and only show ads during those lucrative timeframes. This can help cut costs for your most competitive paid advertising terms.

Brand Messaging

Organic Placement

Organic saturation for your brand is easier to come by, provided you have a unique brand name. It's very important to saturate the page for your brand -- even though it's yours. Disgruntled ex-employees, not-so-friendly competitors, or review sites with negative brand messages could rank top 10 in the organic listings for your brand if you aren't careful. Although easier, saturating the top 10 for your brand is just as important as it is for your top and mid-level keyword phrases.

Paid Placement

Buying your brand name in the search engines may sound silly -- you're already there right? But if you take a page you own organically and add another space at the top for a paid placement, you're virtually guaranteed a click.

Studies have shown that an organic ad that is supported by a paid ad is more likely to convert than those not supported by a paid ad. It shows searchers that you're serious when you give them multiple options to get to your Web site.

Saturating the results at Google, Yahoo, or Bing is one way to ensure your message gets in front of as many eyes as possible while blocking your competitors from taking over those slots. To be better than your best competitor, you must do what they do plus 30 percent. Make sure you're the site your competition needs to beat -- not the other way around.