As a marketer of an organic product, how would you feel about your brand being showcased in a full-page, magazine advertisement that also featured your direct competitors? In other words, would you invest in a full-page advertisement that you had to share with the competition? Let’s say you were forced to be in this form of advertisement, but your competition’s organic brand had a larger percentage of the page? In this scenario, wouldn’t you fight to get your brand more space than that of your competition?
SERP’s Are Modern Versions of the old Yellow Pages
It is safe to say that most marketers would not be satisfied with participating in an advertisement that featured their competition, especially if the competition was featured more prominently. However, this scenario is being played out on SERPs (search engine results pages) everyday. It is more likely than not, that critical keyword searches are displaying results pages on Google and Bing that are under-representing your organic product or business. Your organic brand is probably falling into this marketing pitfall, because many businesses only work to ensure that its brand is displayed within the top half of the first results page. However, establishing this shallow marketing objective only ensures that a brand will have a small piece of the pie. What is more, buying your way to the top half of the SERP via a PPC (paid-per-click) listing is only slightly more strategic than paying for a tiny listing in your local yellow pages.
This is not to say that Google Adwords, and other programs like it, are a waste of money, especially since these advertisements clearly guarantee that a brand is featured on prime real estate within the SERP. However, buying this one space on a SERP also guarantees that every other spot will be filled with your competition’s listings. Similar to buying an old-fashioned listing in the yellow pages, investing in paid presence can be easily devalued if you share it with multiple competing brands.
YouTube Videos as a SERP Domination Tactic
Consequently, it is not enough to have one PPC listing displayed in the search results for a critical keyword, nor is it sufficient to have one PPC listing and a couple of mentions within the organic and universal search sections. To truly rise above the competition and create brand awareness for your product through search engine marketing, your brand needs to the dominate SERPs for critical keywords. By doing so, your product’s multiple appearances on the SERP will tell the searcher that your brand reflects the most relevant and trusted result for the keyword search, thus creating a compelling reason for a consumer to prefer your brand over the competition.
While there are many tactics that can help to earn valuable real estate on a SERP, in this article I will focus on rich media, specifically YouTube videos. To demonstrate how YouTube can aid in a SERP domination marketing objective, I posted a simple demonstration video featuring Amy’s organic pasta sauce. Before I present the video, I will begin by analyzing Amy’s current standing on the first SERP for a critical keyword phrase related to its product. After I share the video, I will offer recommendations on a corresponding custom landing page and meta tags to support the YouTube tactic.
Amy’s Current Share of SERPs
As this photo, taken on July 14, 2013 at the Whole Foods Market in Lexington, KY, shows, the natural and organic pasta sauce category is crowded.
As this picture from Lexington’s Whole Foods Market accurately depicts, the organic pasta sauce product category is crowded. In fact, there were at least a dozen organic pasta sauce brands represented on the grocery store’s shelves on the day that the photos were taken. This fact alone is cause for Amy’s to invest in digital marketing tactics that will increase brand awareness among consumers for its products prior to arriving at a grocery store. However, the online marketplace is equally as crowded with Amy’s direct competition.
As shown via the pdf link above, when the critical keyword phrase, “organic pasta sauce” was entered in Google on July 14, 2013, Amy’s brand was drowning in a red ocean of competition. For instance, Amy’s pasta sauce was featured in the sponsored section as being sold at iHerb.com and DrVita.com, but the organic brand was not shown at all in Google’s universal “Images” search feature and only once at the very bottom of the non-paid results via a Vitacost.com product description. As shown in the above pdf, which illustrated the said search results, Amy’s organic pasta sauce is sharing a valuable online advertisement with its direct competitors. Moreover, Amy’s slice of the pie in this advertisement is narrow and unflattering. In other words, the spot that Amy’s pasta sauce has earned on the SERP is very small compared to its competitors’; and the price of the product, rather than the attractive features of the brand, is the most prominent.
A Way to Increase Amy’s Real Estate on SERPs
To combat this competitive online marketplace, Amy’s should feature rich media via YouTube and corresponding landing pages and meta tags. By using this tactic, Amy’s new YouTube listing will push down a competitor’s listing to the second page, thus increasing the amount of SERP real estate Amy’s maintains. Below, I will offer an example of a video that Amy’s could include as well as recommendations on how to incorporate meta title and description tags via a custom landing page.
As shown in this video, I featured an easy recipe that incorporated Amy’s organic pasta sauce along with a couple of other complementary brands: Dr. Mercola and truRoots. The SEO (search engine optimization) potential of this tactic is two-fold. First, although Amy’s official website currently features recipes, changing these recipes to a video format would increase the likelihood that Google would return the videos as a result for a specific keyword phrase. Linda Rastelli of the magazine, Web.Search.Social., explained that “Google favors video, with YouTube being its most indexed site” (2013, One, The Biggest Search Engine Loves Internet Video section, para. 1). Beyond the fact that search engines are likely to display relevant videos on first SERPs, because the video I suggested for Amy’s incorporated complementary brands, the likelihood that consumers will share the content would be dramatically increased. For example, since I showed how Dr. Mercola’s ceramic cookware and Himalayan salt, as well as truRoots sprouted green lentils complemented Amy’s organic pasta sauce in this recipe, the video is more likely to attract loyal fans of these two brands, who now have a reason to share content about Amy’s organic pasta sauce on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.
Critical Elements in Achieving a New Spot on a SERP
Although the YouTube video on its own has the potential to increase brand awareness on a SERP and generate sharable online conversations, there are two critical elements needed to secure a new spot on the SERP for “organic pasta sauce”: a custom landing page and thoughtful meta tags. It is simply not enough to leave a video featuring Amy’s organic pasta on YouTube or bury it within Amy’s official website. A custom landing page designed just for the video that also incorporates tactical meta title and description tags is required to reap the full SEO benefits of the rich media.
Custom Landing Page. Search engine marketers have been persuading their clients to design custom landing pages for their AdWords campaigns for many years. But, it is less likely to find instructions on how and why to create custom landing pages for critical keywords that businesses hope to be displayed for in the non-paid results. Nevertheless, this is an effective SEM tool that Amy’s and other organic businesses would benefit from implementing.
To that end, a custom landing page featuring a video, such as the one I presented above, should also include a full-text version of the video that highlights critical keywords, widgets to share the content, a comment field, and several places on the page that reads, “Buy Now,” which of course should be linked to Amy’s online store or a list of geo-targeted local retailers. Additionally, links to websites where the complementary brands, i.e. Dr. Mercola’s and truRoots, can be purchased should be included to increase the cross-link and relationship-extension potential. All of these proposed characteristics of a custom landing page would not only fulfill search engines’ guidelines, but contribute to the overall effort to increase brand awareness for Amy’s. Moreover, content that is interactive and sharable is more likely to engage a consumer in a meaningful relationship than a simple product description page, hence increasing brand preference.
Title and Description Meta Tags. Finally, this custom landing page should be designed to incorporate meta tags that provide specific title and descriptions to feed to search engines. Since Amy’s does not currently own a listing on the SERP for “organic pasta sauce,” I will discuss the title and description meta tags used for the Vitacost.com listing that featured Amy’s brand. Next, I will propose a better set of tags that could be used for the proposed landing page. The meta tags used in Vitacost’s listing appeared as (poor utilization of title and description meta tags):
Amy’s Organic Pasta Sauce Family Marinara — 24.5 fl oz – The Premium Pasta Sauce. . . turns an ordinary spaghetti dish into an extraordinary meal. Amy’s …
While this search result’s listing mentioned “Amy’s” brand name three times and the search phrase “organic pasta sauce” twice, this advertisement does little to create a compelling reason for the searcher to click this listing over another one on the SERP. Moreover, precious space on the SERP is being wasted by mentioning the “Net Wt.” twice. Furthermore, a searcher would have a hard time comprehending the meaning behind the awkward description, as would a search engine’s crawler. Therefore, a more strategic version of this listing for a custom landing page featuring the proposed YouTube video should read (tactical utilization of title and description meta tags):
Buy Organic Pasta Sauce | Amy’s Organic Marinara Sauce | Organic Spaghetti Sauce
Amy’s makes the best organic pasta sauce in the world. Watch a video about how to use organic marinara sauce to make a healthy dinner. Read product reviews and testimonials.
These title and description meta tags are tactical in nature, because they explain what the searcher can expect to see when she or he clicks the listing, and the tags are written in a natural way, which search engines favor. The targeted keyword phrase, “organic pasta sauce,” is in the title and description tag, as well as in the URL address. Currently, Amy’s product description for its organic pasta sauce does not include the phrase, “organic pasta sauce” (http://www.amys.com/products/product-categories/pasta-sauces). This oversight could be significantly contributing to the fact that search engines are not returning it as a relevant result for this keyword phrase. Beyond including the actual keyword phrase in three key areas of this listing, the tags incorporate variations of the search term, such as “organic marinara sauce” and “organic spaghetti sauce.” Most importantly, this tactical use of meta tags feature two calls-to-action: “Buy Organic Pasta Sauce” and “Watch a video about how to use organic marinara sauce to make a healthy dinner.” Employing these action statements would give an incentive to both a searcher who is ready to buy and one who is simply researching or looking for inspiration.
In this article I examined how SERPs (search engine results pages) can be viewed by a marketer as a newer version of the yellow pages. I explained that marketers should increase brand awareness among consumers and advertising space on SERPs by implementing search engine marketing tactics that are designed to achieve a SERP-domination marketing objective. I suggested that YouTube Videos featured on custom landing pages, which also include thoughtful meta tags is an easy and effective tactic to use towards achieving this objective. To demonstrate how this tactic might look, I created a YouTube video and corresponding ideas for a landing page and meta tags featuring Amy’s organic pasta sauce, as well as Dr. Mercola’s cookware, Dr. Mercola’s Himalayan salt, and truRoots sprouted green lentils.
***Follow-up: In less than an hour of posting my demonstration video featuring Amy’s Organic Pasta Sauce on YouTube, the video earned the second non-paid spot on Google for the keyword phrase “organic pasta sauce.”
End Note: It is important to note that the SEM tactic outlined above is one of many that can contribute to brand awareness and a SERP-domination objective. This article, by no means, is intended to represent an integrated marketing communications plan, nor does it begin to skim the surface of all the brand building tactics I would recommend for Amy’s. If you are a marketer at Amy’s, or manage a socially responsible business like Amy’s, Dr. Mercola, or truRoots I have more ideas for you! Please message me at seacatanna@gmail, @AnnaSeacat, or send a smoke signal to horse country (that’s Lexington, KY for those of us who are ignorant to all things equestrian).
More Pictures of the ingredients and final product of “Socially Minded Minestrone”
Rastelli, L. (2013). Four Reasons You Need Web Video. Web.Search.Social: The Marketing
Magazine for Smart Businesses. Retrieved from http://www.websearchsocial.com/four-