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4 STEPS TO IMPROVE YOUR SEARCH ENGINE MARKETING STRATEGY

jpegSearch engine marketing can be a complex and scary topic. Endless opportunities to advertise and market, constantly changing trends and technologies, and overly complex solutions all come with the territory. So, what you don’t need when you’re evaluating or creating your search engine marketing strategy is lengthy explanations about how different techniques work. Instead, seek out advisors who can guide you with simple explanations and techniques based on real results. That’s exactly what the following article is about. It’s a simple list of four things business owners can use when creating or evaluating their search engine marketing strategy.

1. Establish Your Internet Marketing Strategy Goal

Many consultants will tell you to set goals about what you want to achieve with your website. Forget it. Those are distractions from the real question you need to ask yourself, which is

“What is the PURPOSE of my website?”

Once you answer that question, all other aspects of search engine marketing strategy can be leveraged to help you achieve that purpose. Typically, people use their website for many different purposes. Regardless, you still need to answer this question. The focus you will get from it will help you create a more effective strategy.

Here are the top three most common answers to the question “What is THE purpose of my website?”

  1. To sell things
  2. To generate leads for my sales team
  3. To educate my target audience

It can be this simple! Just decide which of the three answers above suits you best (or create your own) and then move on to step 2.2. Establish a Search Engine Marketing Plan

There’s a reason why search engine marketing is so hot: it works. It consistently generates leads, sales, etc. at a lower cost-per-lead or cost-per-sale than traditional mediums like TV or direct mail advertising. It makes sense when you think about it: when people want to find something online, they go to Google, Yahoo!, MSN, etc. and search for it.

Search engine marketing is all about SHOWING UP when people search for what you sell, offer, or have on your website. There is a growing body of knowledge (books, articles, etc.) on how to do this. And like anything else, it has become over analyzed and too complex. To further complicate things, some search engine marketing techniques are ethical and legitimate, while some are not. The best approach is to create a search engine marketing plan that focuses on two aspects:

  1. Search engine optimization – showing up in the “free” area of the search engine’s results
  2. Pay-per click advertising – showing up in the “paid” area of the search engine’s results

3. Conduct Search Engine Optimization (SEO)The goal of search engine optimization is to make changes to your website to get higher rankings in search engines. Yet, search engine optimization can be confusing. On one hand, there are “snake oil salesmen” ready to get you a number 1 ranking with their latest trick. On the other hand, the things that actually do work are very simple, and frankly, just not very “sexy.”

For search engine optimization, first realize there is no “silver bullet.” There just isn’t a way to easily get ranked consistently high in the search engines. It is a combination of factors that always come down to three underlying truths:

  1. Build your website according to web standards, with a focus on accessibility for all
  2. Create great content, highly optimized for your target keywords
  3. Get credible websites to link to your website

4. Leverage Pay-Per Click Advertising

Just like search engine optimization, there is no “silver bullet” for pay-per click advertising, either. Instead, the formula for PPC success is in well-placed bids (what you will pay to have your ad show up) combined with meaningful landing pages (where people go when they click on your ad).

Pay-per click advertising helps you get more traffic from search engines through advertising in search engine results. You pick terms that people search on. You bid a price per click on your ad that you are willing to pay. You ad shows up when someone searches on that term, and, if you’re lucky, they click on your ad and come to your website.

DO-IT-YOURSELF VERSUS PROFESSIONAL SEARCH ENGINE MARKETING

imagesProfessional search engine marketing can sometimes be costly which encourages website operators to do their own search engine optimization and manage their own pay-per-click campaigns even though professional services has definite benefits.

If you would like to put forth the effort to learn about search engine marketing, to devise your own marketing campaign and to manage the marketing process yourself rather than obtaining the assistance of a professional service, then I certainly wish you the best in your pursuit.I strongly believe that internet business operators, or any business owners for that matter, should take advantage of the opportunity to save money any time they can.

However, we should all also be conscious of the time and effort that we put into our businesses and consider the cost savings and other benefits that might be realized if we were to outsource some activities that don’t necessarily utilize our expertise.

Professional search engine marketing is one of those outsource services to be contemplated.

The obvious advantage of doing your own search engine marketing is cost savings.

On the flip-side is the disadvantage of time spent learning about search engine marketing and actually designing, implementing and managing the search engine marketing campaign.

Another advantage of doing it yourself is, you will learn more about your industry and the use of data from website logs and pay-per-click programs that will be useful to you in developing your business strategy now and in the future.

You may even come up with some superb ideas for expansions or for marketing your company that you otherwise would not have thought of.

Professional search engine marketing services that you might consider include market research, keyword research, search engine optimization, development of keyword copy, development of strategic coding on your website, and the design and implementation of linking campaigns.

Pay-per-click planning and implementation which consists of research, strategizing, budgeting, bidding, development of advertising copy, and campaign management or additional services that are offered by professional search engine marketing providers.

In making the “do-it-yourself versus outsourcing” decision, you may consider outsourcing some of the tasks while taking personal responsibility for others, or delegating some of the duties to members of your staff or marketing team.

If search engine optimization is not your profession, you’ll likely have a hard time keeping up with search engine optimization techniques that are effective while a professional provider of search engine optimization services would be more apt to keep up with effective strategies.

Are you at the end of your rope, fed up and confused by all the scrambled internet marketing advice you’re getting? Whether you are new to internet marketing, or a website owner who wants to make more money from your website.

SEARCH ENGINE MARKETING SERVICES: TRENDS AND PREDICTIONS

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The search engine marketing industry is consistently evolving, sometimes at a pace that makes it hard to believe that search engine marketing services can stay on top of all the latest developments. The one constant for search engine marketing firms, and for the industry in general, is change–usually for the better, sometimes for the worse, but almost always significant. The industry is not for the faint-hearted or those who abhor change. However, savvy search engine marketing firms try to look ahead to anticipate trends. Here are my predictions of issues that search engine marketing services will face in the short term.

More Accountability Demanded from Search Engine Marketing Firms

Search engine marketing firms that use tactics designed to trick the engines into showing results that aren’t directly addressing the search query will struggle, as more companies begin to look at the larger goals that lead them to investigate search engine marketing services in the first place. The “traffic-centric” mindset will evolve as companies begin to demand accountability from search engine marketing firms in terms of bottom line increases. Ranking increases delivered by search engine marketing services will be questioned if they do not lead to significant traffic increases, and traffic increases will be questioned if there is no subsequent increase in business generated from the website.