October 29, 2007
Blog Entry

SherpaBlog: Shorter URLs Equal 250% More Search Marketing Clicks

SUMMARY: No summary available.
By Anne Holland, Content Director

Search pay per click (PPC) URLs are fairly short because of the nature of the beast. You are not given much room to type in a long URL.

So, the hot search PPC testing tactic is specific wording and capitalizations. Example: Should your text ad say www.ClickHere.com, or will you get better response with www.ClickHERE.com, or perhaps www.ClickHereFREE.com?

As all experienced search marketers know, organic search results get the lion's share of traffic instead of PPC ads.

Naturally, your first concern must be to make sure your site or blog gets high organic rankings for critical keywords in your marketplace. For seven years now, in fact, when marketers debated SEO-tactics, practically all anyone talked about was rankings, rankings, rankings.

But once you get high rankings, what's next?

Are you even tracking your click rate for those SEO ranks?

And, once you've measured your organic click rates, are you running any tests to optimize them? Most marketers aren't.

I think that's partly because marketers perceive SEO-driven traffic as "free" so why invest in it? Also, testing SEO listings involves some risk; if you tweak inexpertly, you might damage your ranking. And, lastly, testing SEO listings often means involving your IT and Web departments, which means get in line and take a number.

If you are one of the super-lucky marketers who can measure and run tests to optimize SEO-driven traffic, however, the payoff could be enormous. Just look at how much traffic you get from organic search today and do the math -- how much more would you get if your tests raised clicks 50%?

A 50% lift in organic traffic sounds insane, doesn't it? But it's based in new lab tests. Here's how:

MarketingSherpa ran lab tests this year for our newest Search Marketing Benchmark Guide asking real-life business professionals to conduct Google searches. Among other results, we discovered that executives are 250% (yes 250%!) more likely to click on an organic listing if it:

(a) had a fairly short URL and
(b) appeared directly below a listing with a long URL.

So, in SEO, keeping your URLs as short as possible can be an enormous competitive advantage.

Why not search for your company or brand online right now by a super-competitive keyword? Look at how long your organic listing URLs are compared to the URLs of your competitors on the page. How does your URL stack up?

If your company is considering a new microsite, blog, Web content management system or revamped site for SEO purposes in 2008, please add to your specs list: "Must make short page URLs." I bet you it's a factor your IT department won't think of. Marketing has to bring this type of knowledge to the meeting.

Want documentation? Here's a free PDF link to the Search Benchmark Guide's Executive Summary, which includes color heatmaps of the lab tests I just mentioned:

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