Search engine optimization can help you gain rankings. The problem, however, is that if you aren’t careful you can mess up your rankings or get your site banned altogether. Google intentionally makes it difficult to rank high in its listings and stay there, because they don’t make money from the natural listings. Inbound marketing, like blogs, and an active social media community are very strong indicators for gaining rankings in today’s landscape.
Another form of advertising on the major search engines is in the sponsored ad area, also known as search engine marketing. These are the ads at the very top of your search and down the side. These have gained in popularity of late for a couple of reasons, including the fact that more than half of the general public doesn’t realize the difference between the “natural” listings or the ads.
Although you can do this form of marketing yourself, you could easily waste thousands of dollars a month by knowing just enough to be dangerous. Truth is, Google did a phenomenal job of making it seem easy, but there’s a reason that Internet companies are certified. If you don’t understand things like “negative keywords,” click through rates and how they relate to the amount of exposure you get, you really are hindering your own success by managing it yourself.
The third area to explore in search engine marketing is display advertising. You can spend a lot less for a lot more exposure, but if it’s not set up and managed properly you may end up with very few conversions. The true power of display advertising isn’t just throwing up a text ad.
There are two primary ways to increase your conversions:
1. Limit your exposure to the partner sites that your potential client is interested in
2. Have your ad appear on partner sites only if the client has previously clicked on your website (essentially reminding them about your services and increasing your opportunity for conversion)
A fourth area to explore would be social media marketing. If you have organically built up a following on these forums, remember to respond to people and keep it professional and polite. Recently, I have seen some of my clients get into public arguments, only to block the person or to delete the unflattering posts. The problem is that it’s far better to deal with a client on Facebook than to worry about a bad review on Google.
Social media marketing also has a creative marketing side. Remember when you filled out your profile with your birthday, special interests etc? All of that info enables you to have a pretty targeted marketing program. For example, my husband put in his profile that he likes motorcycles, so he sees motorcycle-related ads.
For most businesses, focusing on marketing on the major search engines is your best bang for your buck. However, if you have a visual business (like a beauty salon, advertising specialty company, etc.) marketing on the social sites is equally important in the total scheme of things.
Monique Bushnell-Rice is VP of sales and marketing for Effective Web Solutions. She can be reached at 888.400.4002.