4Ps exists because we help our clients grow their businesses. We have grown from being an SEO agency, a PPC agency, a social agency and a content marketing agency – all working in partnership with our clients. We have a demonstrable track record of helping our clients’ customers (past, current and future) find our clients’ products and services online.
SEO and PPC are trying to solve the core business challenge – how can we sell more – but through the wrong lens. They are all about “search engine optimisation” or “search engine management”. Either way, it is about trying to influence the channel to market.
When potential customers are looking for products and services, they have already signaled some form of intent. They want to find results that are relevant to what they are looking for. Almost by definition they are buying (information, data, products) and what they want is a trusted source. The search engines are merely the conduit. What matters most are the actual results. If I want to find purple kettles, please show me purple kettles not the best range of kettles on the high street.
The difficulty is that the way people are searching has changed.
From keywords to keyword phrases to context related search (see Hummingbird). From typing to pointing and clicking (how do you search Netflix?, for example).
The content has changed
People are searching 140 character snippets on Twitter, for photos on Instagram, for videos on YouTube and for films on Netflix.
The start of search has changed
People are looking for hotels on Trip Advisor, for products on eBay or Amazon, for news on the BBC and for insurance on comparison sites. These services have become the trusted advisors for the consumer.
The tools they use have changed
The decline of the desktop search. The rise of so-called mobile. From typing to swiping to voice. Multi-device (laptop and TV). Showrooming and the blending of off- and on-line behaviour.
The channels they search have changed
People search on Facebook, Twitter, eBay, YouTube, Netflix etc etc
The results have changed
Google’s SERPs (Search engine results pages) are no longer a list of 10 or so links (though Bing results still are). They are packed with adverts, Google + information, social feeds, knowledge graph data.
So if you think that it was hard enough understanding how you did best at Google ranking, there’s more head scratching to come. It is no longer all about Google and rankings. Search has become multi-faceted – different customers are using different search channels for different purposes. A single focus risks losing out on opportunities.
Which is why we have had to look deeper at our agency and our approach – as an Advanced search agency.
Of course, there is still a lot of good practice that we will continue to champion. But a lot that we would stop: keyword stuffing, mass link building, bloated anchor text. It is pretty easy to spot a web site that is search optimised – it just doesn’t look natural. Have a look at British Airways and look at the text at the bottom of the page – how random are those choices of destinations?
In the end, competitive advantage can be gained by listening to your customers. Search terms are a very powerful customer voice. Setting your business up to respond to what your customers are looking for is how we help our clients – not by following everyone else but by leading them.
I hope you found our story helpful but I also hope that you noticed that we were able to create something useful but including pretty much every keyword term that someone looking for an SEO agency would be searching on.
4Ps isn’t just another SEO agency. To discuss how SEO and advertising are evolving together in order to keep pace with new developments in user interaction and technology, give us a call on +44 (0)207 607 5650 for a no-obligation coffee and chat about data, marketing and user behaviour across all inbound channels.