Back to the Search Marketing Basics

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I’m currently preparing a presentation for the local advertising association’s lunch that I’ll be speaking at this week. As I’ve gone through the presentation and asked others for their opinion, it has occurred to me as search marketing experts, we may expect that our clients and users know more than they actually do.

In fact, I’ve also noticed that sometimes it doesn’t hurt to go back and take a look at things from a non-experienced searcher’s perspective. As a result, I’ve pulled some of Google’s search features and attempted to describe each in one sentence.

Organic Search – The original product offering from Google, results are completely organic in nature; that is, Google has not received payment in exchange for placement.

Paid Search – An option for advertisers to pay Google per click to their websites based on a bid-for-keywords model in exchange for priority placement.

Local/Maps Search – Search results filtered by a location and ranked partially on that location.

Personalized Search – Search results customized based on past search behaviour.

Image Search – Search results that display only images from web sites.

Video Search – Search results that display only videos from web sites, including YouTube.

Related Search – Suggested search queries located at the bottom of the search results, related to the original search query.

Social Search – Search results are from your friends and trusted resources, as determined by your contacts and profile links (“social circle”).

Product Search – Search results are products with price and item description, submitted by e-stores directly to Google.

Mobile Search – A modified version of Google available on smartphones like the iPhone and Blackberries.

Real-Time Search – The latest search results, often only seconds old, from sites and social networks like Twitter.

When you’re talking to a non-search-savvy client, do their eyes often glaze over when you talk about Quality Score, Page Rank and Universal Search? How would you describe these features in one sentence to a non-search-savvy client?

Lyndsay Walker is the Director of Online Marketing at Canada’s Web Shop, located in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She is responsible for the strategy and coordination of all online marketing tactics and internal marketing efforts. Her experience includes several years of working with internationally recognized brands and some of the most competitive industries such as Internet pharmacies, payday loans and travel. Also involved in web design and development for over ten years, she brings a technical background to compliment her marketing skills.


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  • SysComm

    very good post!
    It is true, sometimes we tend to overestimate the knowledge our clients have on SEO. But you’ve managed to make it quite straightforward for everyone to understand.

  • Lana Galileo

    I just write on my blog about real time searches, this is new thing that Google just started to mix in they search engine and people can get good traffic, but be careful with spamming your twitter.

  • Duanermb

    Great post Lyndsay! While I am usually presenting somewhat different stuff in my day job, sometimes it’s too late when I realize that the blank looks on their faces is because I didn’t give them enough background material and went right to the meat of the presentation. We have to find a balance between boring the heck out of those who know, and giving those who don’t enough information to understand what we are talking about!

  • Alan Bleiweiss

    Ah yes, the importance and value of remembering that clients and prospective clients and business people in general, who are not in our industry, don’t know our jargon!

    It’s so easy to assume otherwise, even though one of our primary responsibilities when first tackling SEO is to apply the same concept to discovering the most important keywords for our client web sites – stepping into their customer’s shoes, and also helping the client do the same in the keyword selection process!

    Quality score – Google’s determination as to how closely a paid ad’s content matches the web page the ad is pointing to in terms of relevance

    Page Rank – one of many values Google uses in their overall assessment of how relevant one of your web pages is as compared to others in matching results to an individuals search.

    Universal Search – Google’s attempt at providing search results that come from the wide variety of content across the web, including web pages, images, video, product listings, news, and even social media.

  • Thomas

    Great post! The longer I’m in this business the more I have to remind myself to tone down the acronyms and SEO and programming related terms.

  • Brent Rangen

    Thanks for sharing your presentation, I think it’s spot on. I’ve done a few on local seach for local small businesses and basically covered local search for an hour. One thing I like to do is walk the audience through the adding their site to Googles business listings and usually I pick an industry and show monthly traffic volumes for related keywords. Good luck!

  • Lyndsay Walker

    Thanks for all the feedback everyone!

    Alan, I like what you’ve added. It’s almost like, first step – what are the products. Second step – what are the terms you need to know about each one (ie, quality score and page rank). I think you’ve given me an idea for next month!

  • Tom Murphy

    And the list grows longer…daily it seems. Goes back to who your audience is and what they hope to get out of your presentation. It’s the “What’s in it for me?” that they are looking for.

    When I go to a presentation, even if it concerning something I know nothing about, I am looking for one thought, one idea, one piece of information that will help me in my business. I would imagine these folks are doing the same thing.

  • Michael Martin


    You think I wouldn’t notice you conveniently left out Android as a smartphone example in mobile search 😉

    Now you gotta include mentioning BUZZ.

    ,Michael Martin

    • Lyndsay Walker

      You’d think I’d learn by now eh Michael? It’s because we simply do not hang out enough. 10 lashes with a wet noodle for me.

      • Michael Martin


        Well if it wasn’t for border patrol we would hang out more;)

        At least your neighbor Lyndon is coming around on Android to help influence you and then of course SMX Toronto.

  • SEO Melbourne

    This is great, perfect for those simple yet difficult to explain type of questions. Thanks!

  • Uri

    Hi Lyndsay,
    Agreed, we tend to overlook the fact that we, SEO’s, live in this world and our clients don’t.
    I would add to your list the differences among search options – match, phrase and broad; they play different roles in SEO and should be explained to an uneducated audiance (they can also learn from how to use it).

  • wz

    regurgitation. written by a noob for noobs.

  • wz

    regurgitation. written by a noob for noobs.