January 28, 2010

Google Who?


Hostway Team

By Julie Bombacino

Can other search engines help your business?

By now, you’ve most likely tried the major search engines (Google, Yahoo!, Bing) to grow your business. Maybe you liked the initial pay-per-click (PPC) results, so you started spending more and more until eventually it wasn’t worth it. Sound familiar? If so, might be time to test some of the smaller engines (what we in the industry refer to as second- and third-tier search engines).

Why Go Small?

If you are a small business, you should understand that bigger is not always better. Yes, the main engines have the bulk of the search traffic, but you also pay for a lot of eyeballs that would never be interested in your company/product/service.

Some of the smaller engines (ask.com, LookSmart, 7search, Miva.com etc.) can provide quality traffic to your site at a lower cost. In fact, you might be able to bid on terms/positions that you could never afford of the major engines.

Isn’t Everyone on Google/Yahoo!/Bing?

Well, yes for some searches. But what about the job search industry? Indeed.com is the go-to search engine for that. You need to assess what industry you are in before making any decisions. Business.com is great for B2B companies. (For more information about serach engine market share (and a pretty graphic!),click here.)

Which Engine Is Right for Your Company?

There are more and more specialized search engines popping up, so you need to keep an eye on your Web traffic every month. If you notice a lot of traffic coming from one domain, it could be an engine that warrants a test piece of your PPC budget.

Manage Your Expectations

Most likely, a second- or third-tier search engine is not going to revolutionize your business. However, they might help you squeeze a bit more out of your search marketing budget—that first sale/lead from a second-tier engine could be a lot cheaper than the last one from Google. So test, test, test before making any huge adjustments to your PPC program.

Caveat Emptor

As always, let the buyer beware. Make sure you are tracking your Web site visitors and traffic—and match that up with data from the engines. Some of these smaller engines might not have the click fraud protection or sophisticated tools of the big boys.

About the Author

Julie Bombacino is a Chicago-area independent marketing consultant with over 12 years of marketing experience, specializing in online marketing. Mrs. Bombacino is a graduate of The Ohio State University and earned an MBA in marketing at DePaul University. She can be reached at bombacino@gmail.com.

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