Since the rise of the Web in the 1990s, more and more of your customers have turned to the Web, and more specifically to Web search, to find what they are looking for. Most searchers are clicking organic search results, although some are selecting paid search listings. Regardless, your Web site cannot ignore these searchers without losing them to your competitors. By focusing on searchers as part of your marketing plans, you will raise your sales (or raise whatever your Web site's goal is).
But paying attention to searchers takes more work than you might expect. To maximize your search marketing success, you cannot focus on just one or two search engines. Search engines come in many flavors and colors, ranging from worldwide sites to single-country engines to specialized shopping searches. Depending on your business, we discuss later how any or all of these might be key parts of your search marketing plan.
It is even more complicated for some organizations because the larger your Web site is, the more elusive search success can be. Large Web sites have multiple teams split by technical specialty, product line, country, and other organizational boundaries. Your company's organizational structure might be perfectly aligned for its overall goals, but can fracture search marketing.
Organizational splits hurt search marketing precisely because search marketing cannot be treated as a specialty performed by just one department. Rather, successful search marketing efforts pervade your entire Web organization, transforming jobs all along the way. Do not worry if you cannot imagine how you will persuade all these folks to change the way they do their jobs—we show you how.
Your multiple Web teams fail at search marketing because of their search ignorance—ignorance that can be overcome only through knowledge, knowledge that must start with you, the search marketer. The following chapter examines what a search engine actually does. As you learn how search engines work, you will be better prepared to train your far-flung Web teams to transform their jobs and to take advantage of the huge search marketing opportunity.