Clients will often indicate that their online marketing efforts are in good shape because they have a Search Engine Optimization Strategy in place. Or some will say they‘re all set since they are involved in a Pay per Click program with Google AdWords. Some may actually tell me they don’t need to do either and that all of their business comes from word of mouth.
The best case scenario is to truly cover all of your bases and the only way to do that is by engaging in all components of online marketing. This can be a daunting task, given the fact that there are so many options available today. I’d suggest starting out with baby steps and then broadening your efforts slowly, but surely. Below are just a few of the most commonly utilized forms of online marketing initiatives to take into consideration:
Search Engine Optimization (frequently referred to as SEO)
According to Wikipedia’s definition, Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results. Clients love achieving high organic rankings in the search engines. This is especially true when it comes to Google, which is no surprise considering it holds about 65% of the market share. Remember: organic rankings equate to FREE traffic.
Pay per Click (also known as PPC)
In this platform the advertiser is paying or bidding on keywords based on their specific business or industry, in an effort to have their ad displayed in the sponsored section of the search engine. This section is typically on the very top of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) as well as on the right hand side, listed vertically.
Onsite Blog + Blog Postings
In my opinion, having an onsite blog is no longer an option, but rather a necessity. The main reason it ought to be onsite versus offsite is for the SEO benefits your website will gain. Blogs should have fresh and regular content on them, which the search engines love when crawling. You will want to ensure that your blog is updated on a regular basis (minimum of once a week).
Nearly everyone has a Smartphone or iPad these days and more often that not, most are surfing the web via their device. You ought to make sure that you have a simplistic, mobile friendly version of your website that allows for easy navigation.
Social Media Marketing + Strategy
This form of marketing has become increasingly important the last few years and continues to maintain its necessary place within a marketer’s ad budget. Social Media is an excellent medium to reach and engage your consumers and should be utilized to its fullest potential. Just having a Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn page is not enough, however. You must have a solid strategy in place before diving in.
When someone reads a newspaper article online, there is normally a picture of the author/journalist above or next to that article. What would happen if everyone had their faces posted by article they have written? We could be closer to that happening than you think because Google+ is helping to make this a reality.
Google+ members who publish an article, and link to it in their Google+ account are standing out in Google’s organic listings. It’s one thing for a person’s article to appear in the organic listings, it’s an even greater bonus when your name and picture show up next to it. Look at the example below. This article has a picture of the author right next to it along with their name. It definitely makes it stand out from the other listings.
The organic listing links to the website where the article was originally published and the picture links to the author’s Google+ account.
This can be utilized as a great SEO tool for businesses. For example let’s say the CEO for company A, which is a home improvement store, publishes blogs monthly. The CEO also has a Google+ account. Every time the CEO posts a blog to company A’s website, he links to it through his Google+ account. As people are searching the web for home improvement they come across the blog in the organic listings. It stands out because there is a picture next to it, and it seems to be related to what they are searching for. After clicking on the organic listing, they read the blog and proceed to do business with Company A. Company A received several benefits. First they received a sale. Second they improved their SEO value when the CEO linked to the blog. Third their blog drove traffic to the website which brought in a sale.
Many companies could benefit SEO-wise from this Google+ feature. In fact, it’s all the more reason to blog and publish articles. There’s no word yet, if this capability will be given to individual companies (once Google+ opens up to companies), so it’s good to have a company representative(s) who can post and link to articles that they have written on the company’s behalf.
Many businesses have watched the movie Field of Dreams one to many times. They have the notion that if they build a website people will come, which isn’t the case. Having a website is only part of the process, in addition to having a website, it should be SEO friendly. When a website is SEO friendly, it will help “visitors come”
Let’s start with the basics. SEO stands for search engine optimization. It is the continual process of making your website visible in the search engine results page, also known as SERP’s. There are several steps to take in order to give your website the opportunity to appear in the top SERP’s. One of the first steps is making sure each page has good keyword density. Keyword density is important because it is the number of times a particular word or phrase appears on a specific web page of your site, compared to the total number of keywords on the page. Each page on your website should have a goal or rather a keyword theme.
Let’s say your company sells puppies. The content on your home page should be geared toward puppies. Discuss what type of puppies your company sells and that these puppies need a good loving home. For interior pages of your website that cover different breeds of puppies, focus your keyword content on the specific dog breed. For example, if there is a page for cocker spaniels, your content should be about cocker spaniels. If there is a page about golden retrievers, then your content on that page should be about golden retrievers. Each page should have content written that is relevant to that page, but what about your pictures?
It is possible to have a website that is aesthetically pleasing to the eye, photos and all, that is SEO friendly. Just because a website employs SEO, doesn’t mean that the entire web site should be content only. There should be a good balance between content and photos. If a website only has content, it may not be as pleasing to the visitor. At the same time, a website that only has pictures, is in danger of having a very low ranking in the SERP’s.
Relevant keyword density is only a first step in making a website SEO friendly and helping pages of the website to rank well in the SERP’s. When a page ranks well it helps to bring in visitors to your website. Learning what SEO encompasses and how it works is the first step in understanding why your business needs it.