Mani Narayan (pictured) is director of demand generation at Intermedia, a cloud business application provider based in Mountain View, Calif., that's No. 189 on CRN's Solution Provider 500 list.
Organic search drives 51 percent of channel partners' website traffic, on average, and yields an average 14.6 percent close rate on sales leads. By contrast, email marketing has a close rate of roughly 1.7 percent.
Organic search has become one of the most cost-effective digital marketing channels, with a high return on investment. The Search Engine Marketing and Professionals Organization (SEMPO) estimates that 87 percent of search-engine dollars are spent on pay-per-click (PPC) vs. 11 percent on SEO efforts. SEMPO also states that organic search is more than five times more effective – mostly due to extended reach.
With 100 billion searches each month on Google alone, there is enormous opportunity for channel partners to grow their revenue and traffic with very little investment.
However, channel partners may not always have the budget or resources that bigger, national brands have to invest in organic search. They may even find themselves trying to rank above the large, national brands and compete with aggregator sites, such as Amazon. But the key for channel partners to winning at organic search is to align their strategies with those of lesser-known vendor partners to create a mutually beneficial strategy to rank above their competitors, particularly in certain geographic markets.
Since nine out of every 10 people say they review only the first webpage of each set of search results, it's important to think strategically about SEO to land on that first page. Collaborating on organic search strategies is a win-win for both a vendor and its channel because developing shared assets, such as images and videos, will make the efforts more cost-effective.
Here are three organic search strategies channel resellers should consider in leveraging their vendor relationships to grow market share.
1. Use Product Locators To Seamlessly Increase Local Organic Search Rankings
One challenge vendors and channel resellers face is successfully implementing a local organic search strategy. A little-known secret is the impact a “vendor locator” can have on increasing rankings for geography-targeted keyword combinations, and on increasing rankings for high search volume keywords across desktop and mobile search. The key is to implement this URL structure: “/company.com/products/ca/san-diego/.”
Once that's in place, the functionality of the product locator should be configured to allow users to search to find the nearest vendor. The key here is to increase the ranking of your page by using reciprocal links. For example, if “Business A” and “Business B” link to each other, a reciprocal relationship is established and each site can receive a rankings boost. However, if both are located in the same area, reciprocal links could cause one to rank above the other or compete for organic search visibility.
2. Add Schema Markup To Boost Visibility
Channel resellers should also consider adding schema markup, or specific tags that can be added to HTML, to increase product visibility within Google, which has very specific implementation instructions. While this may seem intimidating at first, schema markup is actually very easy to implement and follows the same logic pattern as standard HTML.