Contrary to popular belief, ranking on the first page for what you do is not always necessary to do well in search. Especially when you’re in an industry where outbound marketing is prevalent and searches for what you do are geo-targeted. Many companies invest heavily in these SEO campaigns when they don’t always need to. It is critical to determine whether or not your industry’s outbound marketing efforts have trained consumers to search for specific companies rather than generic geo-targeted products or services. Below is an example of such an industry:
The above shows that people indeed do generic geo-targeted searches for mortgage services. However, many more people type in specific mortgage companies into Google in lieu of a general search. Similar results were discovered in the South Bend area as well. Why do some people search this way?
The answer is nuanced, but two prevailing reasons are outbound marketing and word of mouth. Many mortgage companies have traditionally relied on outbound techniques and their sales staff for lead generation. This means many people looking for mortgage services have already been touched by an outbound campaign at some point or had a trusted family member or friend recommend a particular service provider. This is what drives searches for specific company names rather than generic geo-targeted searches.
It’s ok to go after the generic geo-targeted search phrases. However, the resources dedicated to that effort should match its potential return. In the above case, much more opportunity presents itself by ranking for the different company names. They're also far less competitive than the generic searches. It makes more sense to develop a strategy and execute tactics with the intent of ranking alongside of the different brand names. This can be accomplished by publishing individual pages which highlight the differences between the two companies or via some strategically written blog posts.
The chances are pretty good however, that traditionally outbound-heavy industries will begin to gravitate more towards inbound marketing in the future, because as a percentage of leads, inbound campaigns tend to cost 60% less than outbound. Until that happens though, expect to see outbound marketing effect the search habits of many people looking for certain products and services. For additional help with SEO feel free to download our search engine optimization cheat sheet.