Among the many traffic sources available to adult marketers today, search traffic is prized most highly. The reason for this is simple: the search audience does not need to be convinced that they want a particular product or service, since they are already actively seeking it out — a profound distinction over traditional advertising models that strive to place a particular notion in the prospect’s head — such as a billboard featuring the latest automobile. Sure, many folks driving cars in need of replacement might find such an offer interesting, but there are many other viewers passing by without a second glance.
Contrast this to the prospect walking onto a dealership lot, or scanning the automotive section of his local newspaper’s classified ads. Search customers are like that — literally searching for what you have to offer — making them the most qualified of all candidates.
It is an investment in learning, time and money, but savvy marketers know that you don’t need to convince folks to want porn — you simply need to be the one who is found when they come looking for it.
Google and Bing may be the two 800lb. gorillas in the room when it comes to search marketing, with an approximately 67 percent and 16 percent respective market share, but there are many other sites to consider when developing a comprehensive marketing plan — most of which will provide incremental increases in search traffic, due to their often less competitive nature — but limited in quantity by their sub-one percent market shares.
According to eBizMBA.com, the top 15 search engines for September, 2012, based upon its eBizMBA Rank, said to be “a constantly updated average of each website’s Alexa Global Traffic Rank, and U.S. Traffic Rank from both Compete and Quantcast,” are Google, Bing, Yahoo! Search, Ask, Aol Search, MyWebSearch, Blekko, Lycos, Dogpile, WebCrawler, Info, Infospace, Search.com, Excite and GoodSearch, in order of their reported traffic volume.
There are other, lesser known but uniquely useful search engines available today, which offer opportunity for adult operators seeking highly qualified website visitors.
For example, in a listing of the “best” search engines of 2012, Paul Gil wrote for About.com that “Most people don’t want 290 search engines, especially people who are Internet beginners.”
While Google may be the default choice by a wide margin, it doesn’t fit everyone or every need, leading specialized surfers to look elsewhere.
“Most users want a single search engine that delivers three key features,” Gil stated. “Relevant results (results you are actually interested in), [an] uncluttered, easy to read interface [and] helpful options to broaden or tighten a search.”
Beyond several of the search engines mentioned above, Gil adds DuckDuckGo.com, The Internet Archive, Yippy (formerly “Clusty”), Mahalo and Webopedia to the site list as examples of these three usability factors; based on e-mail suggestions received from About.com readers.
Because it’s a big world, you also need to know about Baidu and Alibaba, as well as the regional versions of major U.S. engines, such as Google U.K. — and all of the local search sites targeting the same countries as your offers do.
Once you know where you want to present your pitch, it’s time to dig a little deeper.
There are two main ways to get traffic from search engines: through paid placement (a topic discussed elsewhere in this issue of XBIZ World magazine), and organically, via the process of building topic-relevant, content-rich websites.
These sites are “crawled” by search engine “spiders” — programmatically deciding which sites are related to a given query, and determining how far towards the top of the list to place that site’s link, based on how relevant to the search terms the website is in comparison to its competitors.
These are known as “organic” listings.
Theoretically, “better matched” sites should rise to the top, depending on the search engine spider’s particular algorithm — unexpected changes to which can cause serious harm to programs relying on organic search results for the bulk of their traffic. This has been seen in Google’s “Panda” and “Penguin” updates that has wreaked havoc on adult sites and which is also explored in this issue of XBIZ World.
Few people delve past the first page or two of search results, however, so being found on page 3,142 isn’t of much use — fueling the need for paid placement — but awesome traffic for free can’t be left on the table, so organic initiatives persist.
Organic search marketing today is as much of an art as it is a science, and it takes a mastery of both if you wish to succeed at it; but the rewards make the pursuit worthwhile.
For example, many search engines offer substantial advice on how to rank well within their system and provide tools for analyzing search patterns and other data. Google is chief among these endeavors, with its Analytics and Webmaster Tools helping operators understand and make the most of their websites — this is the science of search marketing.
The art of search is expressed in various, ethereal ways, which capitalize on the latest trends in order to attain a competitive advantage over legacy efforts.
For example, image search marketing can offer considerable benefits to adult content owners, as can video transcripts and searchable dialog. Social media recommendations and other real-time information is also playing a growing role in search engine algorithms — illustrating the importance of a multi-tiered approach that focuses on external “cues” that encourage a search engine to rank one site above another.
Consider that user-friendliness equals search-friendliness, and that by making your site better, faster, more readable and easier for its visitors to use you will rise in the ranks.
Learn about terms such as bounce rate, time-on-site and transparency, and understand how the increasing personalization and localization of search results is affecting your site.
Consider also that commonly used strategies, such as paid links and link exchanges or “SEO” software that performs automated ranking lookup and other questionable shortcuts can dramatically (and negatively) impact your site’s position in the search engines.
It is an investment in learning, time and money, but savvy marketers know that you don’t need to convince folks to want porn — you simply need to be the one who is found when they come looking for it — and search engine marketing is the way to go about it.