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Episode 3 – SEO or Paid Media?

Video Transcript

Rokture Ramblings – Episode 3 – SEO or Paid Media?

Hello everyone, and welcome to Rokture Ramblings, where I discuss topics around digital marketing, marketing technology, and marketing operations for the financial services industry. My name is Fernando Pena, and I’m the founder of Rokture, where I provide services to help you master the digital channel. And so today’s topic is going to be one that is often discussed, and I do get a lot of questions around, and that’s whether to make use of SEO or paid media for growth. And oftentimes my response here is it depends. And so what I’d like to do in today’s video is just go over what SEO benefits are and concerns and the same thing for paid media and how you should use one or either or both in order to be able to achieve your growth goals and objectives. So this will be what we go over today as I just described SEO benefits, concerns, paid media and also how should we use them.


So the first thing is, what is SEO? And this may be a review for a lot of you, but I just wanted to sort of set a baseline. And it stands for Search Engine Optimization. Now, oftentimes, most people think that that means achieving results within the Google Search Engine results. And that is true, because Google is the leader in the market. But it’s certainly not the only search engine out there. There are other competitors, namely Bing. and depending on if you’re doing work internationally, there may also be some big players there as well. But the one thing that they all have in common is that they have a very closely guarded algorithm that there’s been a lot of studying around in terms of making sure that you can try to achieve that high visibility position. But it’s something where not anyone who is outside of those organizations really knows exactly what’s going on. But my second point here is that It’s one of the many free ways to generate traffic to your website. So it’s certainly


not the only method to do so, but it is probably the one that is most studied and also most pushed in terms of what agencies and other types of service providers want to do in order to be able to get a website to generate any large amounts of traffic. As I mentioned, the algorithms are closely guarded secrets. However, there are some best practices that have been established and also observed and documented. Many of those have to do around link building, making sure that certain keywords are very prominently displayed within the website, and also making sure that the content is readable by a human. And it’s not just something that’s, for example, AI generated and may make sense to a computer, but it’s not necessarily useful for human consumption. What’s important here is that the top three results in Google, for example, get over 50 % of the traffic, and so it’s critical if you’re trying to make use of SEO as part of your promotional strategies that you achieve those top positions because


after that, there’s a lot of crumbs that everyone is sort of fighting over. I’d say that in reality, as long as you’re in this first page and higher up, of course, is the most important, then SEO is working to an extent, but of course, those first three positions are going to be very visible and likely to generate the clicks that you might need.


Now what are the SEO benefits and concerns? So the benefit is that it’s free and I put in quotation marks free because as we all know nothing really is free. But what that means is that you don’t have to pay to actually be included in the search engine but you do have to work and dedicate time, energy and resources to optimize your page and to create a and sort of SEO strategy. I mentioned links before, that’s a big part of it. And what that means is that there’s people linking into your site. So that also could mean generating content that is very interesting and people want to share it and therefore it links back to you. Now, the reality of it is that in financial services, there’s not a lot of fun content. A lot of it is not something that people want to share to a point where it becomes viral. But there is some useful information. And I think that there’s a lot of different viewpoints that can be offered from a content perspective to make SEO a possibility in generating those links.


The efforts within SEO are cumulative and sustainable. So what that means is you put a lot of work into this in the beginning. And this could eventually get to a point where that ranking that you have remains within the search engine results for years. years. And there’s often people out there that have pages that have been generated for several years or have been out there for several years and they still generate results on their behalf. So it’s important to lay down that foundation, create some credibility within the search engines and you’ll have your results. And then search engines often associate your brand with terms that you may not have considered. So what that means is if you’re trying to push for, let’s say, checking accounts, there’s There’s a lot of content around a checking account and maybe there’s something related to having money easily accessible for expenses. And that search term then would be associated with your checking account and the search engine again makes this


decision on their own and you’ll be able to rank for that term. Now my concerns on the SEO side is that it’s not an exact science. So I can’t say for certain that if you do A the result will be B. And so there’s a lot of questionable best practices and gurus out there, and even some things that potentially could damage your business’s reputation in the search engine’s eyes that really need to be considered and evaluated before you go through with it. The other thing that has happened to many businesses is that the algorithms often change. And so if you found a sort of loophole or backdoor approach to generate SEO results, then oftentimes the search engines will catch up. Unfortunately, what that means is that all your efforts have been done in vain because you’ll get pushed lower down to the rankings and maybe even delisted, which is the worst of all consequences. These results do take some time to materialize. It could take several months, honestly, to see any real movement in search engines.


In the beginning, there could be a little bit of a bump, so it’s like working out where you get a big boost when you first start, but then after that, it takes a lot of effort to push towards the top. Now, the search engines aren’t always fair, honestly. There are many instances where you’ll see that big brands don’t have great content, don’t have great best practices, but they still rank highly. And so there is a manual component, I believe, behind the scenes, where those bigger brands are going to have a little bit of an advantage over the smaller ones. The smaller ones have to do it right, but the bigger brands have a little bit more leeway, and they can get away with some things that you may not be able to. you. So next is paid media. And I use here the parking meter because that’s basically what you have to do with paid media is you have to feed the meter. And as long as you do that, then you’ll get visibility. But the moment you stop feeding the meter, then that parking ticket is


going to end up on your windshield. But what this does allow is participation in an infinite number of options for brand exposure. So that could be a paid search campaign where you actually show up in the search results. It could be banner advertising across any number of sites. Retargeting is a big one that I’m a huge proponent of. But it just opens up your world to anything, any opportunity that’s out there. Also, there’s extensive tracking, testing, and learning capabilities that are associated with paid media. So it’s a great thing to sort of try out different approaches messaging tactics and and see what works for your audience And what resonates with them and then you also could make exclusivity Arrangements with some of these providers so you could be the only banner that appears on a certain website Or the only one that sort of pops up on the screen So these are arrangements that can be made with these provide with these Channels that are associated with paid media that really can’t


be done with SEO Now, disadvantage there, or let’s go with the benefits first. The results are virtually immediate. So the moment that you turn that campaign on, you can get a click on that pretty much immediately. So that is great validation to see if your methods are working or if they’re not. And also regardless of the company size or competition, a paid placement will appear in front of a prospect. Now of course there is a bidding process that takes place here. so your bid has to be competitive. But unlike SEO, where I mentioned earlier that those big brands get preferential treatment, in this case, if you have the dollars and you’re willing to make that bid, then you can be a company that is substantially smaller than the competition and you’ll still have your voice heard if you are willing to pay the price. And then there’s lots of opportunities to, again, test, learn, and refine your marketing approach. That’s something that you really can’t do with SEO because it does take so long.


You sort of have to get it right the first time. But here, on the other hand, you can experiment, give different tactics a try, and see what works for you. So to the concerns, and that’s that you have to pay to play. And in financial services, unfortunately, it could get very expensive, as those tend to be some of the more lucrative keywords. So they tend to be very competitive. There’s also limitless choice for channels and formats and creatives. So when you’re looking at multiple variables, It can get pretty complicated when it comes to your testing scenarios. So you have website A, B, or C. You have banner sizes. There’s probably 10 sizes that are pretty standard. And then you have messaging. You have to figure out if you want multimedia, do you want sound, do you want video, or is it just a static ad? So there’s just so many possibilities. And of course, it can be exhausting trying to go through all of them, figure out what works for you. Then there’s also the increase for advertising


fraud. And I bring this up because of course what you’re doing is that you’re paying a channel to place your ad and what could happen There’s the competitors could click on that if you’re doing sort of a pay -per -click and and inevitably you end up being charged more So really you’re looking at putting trust into this Advertising medium to make sure that they’re counting proper clicks and not just charging you for everything that’s clicking there So there could be advertising fraud that happens and oftentimes when that takes place you have to dispute what’s what’s happening but again you have the ability to track results if you see any unusual activity then you have the the option of bringing that up and and hopefully working with that provider to to work through that potential issue so the instruction manual on how to best use both tactics so SEO is a long -term play it’s gonna take a lot of time to really get to the top of the game there so you have to develop a content link building


strategy to help build up SEO over time. I mentioned links earlier and I’ll mention them again because they are a critical component in my viewpoint to getting to that point where you have that high visibility within search engines. Benefits are not immediate, but eventually it could get to the point where it can support your business growth goals. So it is worth investing time and effort into it. Paid media is simple but complicated. And you’ve probably heard this with many other things before, but it’s a simple concept. You’re paying someone to show your ad, but it’s complicated because as As I mentioned before, you’ve got so many options and you’ve got, I mean, even just the bidding strategy can be an entire topic by itself where you have to consider all of this and do so with a sort of point of precision or you waste a lot of money. But I do recommend if budgets allow to devote a portionable size, a sizable percentage of your media dollars into paid media, because you are going to get


those immediate results. And you also have the ability to do that testing and learning, which I think is critical in trying to establish what your marketing message and your offer is going to be. And then I think perhaps the most important is when you’re just considering digital, and this is something that I’ll touch upon in a different video, is to make sure that it works and aligns very closely with your other channels. Now I know some of your institutions are just purely digital, but I’m sure that there’s also advertisements and messaging and interactions with the public outside of just a digital channel. So make sure to work digital into a comprehensive marketing strategy and not just a separate digital strategy. And that will make sure that you’re able to really resonate with your buyers and your audience and you’re able to get them to convert on your offer or your messaging. So that concludes today’s video topic. If you do want any more additional assistance on this or you would like


to discuss anything around digital or marketing or technology, please reach out to me and we’ll go from there. So thank you so much for your time and until the next time, bye bye.