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Marketing Fail 2.0: Seriously Advertisers, Give SEO a Thought

Posted on Monday, December 28th, 2009 by Print This Post Print This Post

Categories - Featured, SEO

This weekend I spotted another marketing fail, once again I wondered why these advertisers don’t consider the full implications of their campaigns before asking people to search.

Free Delta Flight – Maybe

The commercial in question was for the Delta Skymiles card. It instructed people to search for “free Delta flight” no less than three times in the ad – both in the ads graphics and the voiceover.

I happened to have a computer right there next to me on the couch, so I went to my friendly neighborhood browser and did as instructed.


I’m a good SEO, and my eye immediately goes to the organics. Imagine my surprise when the Delta credit card didn’t appear anywhere in the top 10 results. I tried Bing and Yahoo, too. Same result.

Free Delta Flight

Finally I spotted the #1 position for the term in the paid listings. In fact, their ad is the ONLY ad in Google. From an SEM perspective, that’s an easy win. From an SEO perspective, it couldn’t be a bigger fail.

Why Sacrifice a Portion of Your Search Traffic?

Although people do still look at and click paid ads, there are many like me who don’t look at the ads. By failing to optimize an organic page for the term “free Delta flight,” they’re missing a huge opportunity to bring in users who saw the commercial and want their product, but didn’t notice the ad. They’re also missing an opportunity to snag people who search for “free Delta flight” without seeing the ad.

At the very least, optimizing a page on their site for the keyword would score them a second spot in the SERPs. They might even get the first ad spot and the first organic spot. A double-whammy that will bring them tons of traffic from both sources, and possibly save them the cost of a few clicks.

What Delta/Amex Should Have Done

First, they should have created a page on their site for “free delta flight.” I’ll even give them a free URL: www.deltaskymilescard.com/freedeltaflight.html

Boom, that’s one key step. Next optimize the Title tag, Meta Description, and H1 tag around the term. Include some content explaining how customers can earn a free flight by signing up and using the card. Go one step further by use some of the same colors used in the ad to reinforce the message. Finally, direct a link or two to the page internally and ask partner sites to link to the site with the anchor text “free delta flight.”

All of this wouldn’t cost much, less than $10,000, but it’s a worthwhile investment before you spend millions of dollars on a TV campaign where you ask people to search.

About Aryn Kennedy

Aryn Kennedy has been with The Search Agency for three years as an SEO Content Manager. She’s a bookish sort who has been seen lurking the halls waiting for her muse to return from lunch.

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