Having an online presence is essential for just about every form of business these days. What many people don’t realize is that building a website is only the first step in online marketing. Websites are great resources for describing products and services, providing information and education, and attracting potential leads for businesses. But without any online marketing efforts, your site might as well be a billboard in the middle of a desert that no one ever sees.
Here are a few ways to help your site get discovered.
Search Engine Optimization (S.E.O.)
Search engine optimization is a phrase you will hear quite often with regards to websites. Essentially it’s optimizing sites so that they rank higher organically (not-paid) in search engine results for keywords relevant to the site or business. It’s estimated that Google uses over 200 ranking signals to determine where a site should rank for certain keywords and keyword phrases. Some of these ranking signals include unique page content, proper meta-data, site speed, responsiveness (mobile-friendly), and backlinks to a site.
S.E.O. is not easy and, if applied incorrectly, it can hurt a sites ability to be found by search engines. Fortunately there are many applications and software that can help determine the S.E.O. health of a website to help steer the direction of S.E.O. campaigns. Analytic reports can also help analyze the effectiveness of S.E.O. campaigns by providing a wealth of data such as amount of site visits, traffic sources, and demographics of visitors just to name a few.
Search Engine Marketing (S.E.M)
On the other side of the coin from S.E.O is Search Engine Marketing. Where the goal of S.E.O. is help sites get found via organic searches, S.E.M. is basically paid advertising. You will often see ads above and below search results on Google, Bing, and most every search engine. How often the ad is clicked (often called pay-per-click ads) or the impressions it receives determines the cost of the ad in most cases.
S.E.M can be a very complicated process. The art of Search Engine Marketing really comes in the keywords selected for advertising so keyword research is paramount. Competitive keywords can be very costly and easily run an ad campaign into thousands of dollars if not monitored closely. On the other hand, crafty keyword research can yield less-competitive keyword phrases that can often be as effective obtaining website visits and a much lower cost.
Social Media Marketing
The role of social media in helping drive traffic to websites can not be underestimated. Just about everyone you know is on social media in one form or another. The pool of potential customers and followers is almost unlimited. Many companies even have departments solely dedicated to maintaining social accounts in order to promote their brand and message.
Like search engines, Social Media Marketing comes in two forms, organic and paid advertising. Organic techniques involve posting information, gathering likes and followers, engaging in pertinent conversations regarding your industry, and generally educating the public about your product or service. Paid advertising on social media platforms is a little more straight forward but comes with many more options than search engine advertising. Social media advertisements can create website traffic, find followers, promote products, generate leads, and encourage engagement.
One of the biggest advantages online marketing has over traditional advertising is the ability to target specific audiences. Audiences can be targeted by location, age, gender, income, education, interests, online search habits, past online purchasing history and many, many other metrics. The level of audience specification is helpful but advertisers need to be careful not to narrow their target audience down too much. Analytic data from your website is a great source to help determine who your online advertising target audience may be.
If you have any question regarding online marketing or wish to get started on an advertising campaign, please call Sadler Web Design at (602)460-5610.