Traditional methods of advertising, branding and acquiring new customers are slowly fading away. More and more people are turning to the internet to conduct business. Think about it… when was the last time you actually opened the Yellow Pages business directory to find information about a company or a service? I would bet it’s been a while. Like myself, you probably just opened your internet browser, went to a search engine (such as Google or Yahoo), typed in what you were looking for and instantly received the results you needed. Conducting an online search is easy, fast, effective, and – like it or not – it’s the way your customers are going to try to find the services you offer.
Many of you probably have a website for your company, but how much of an internet presence does it really have? When we mention ‘internet presence’, we are talking about how well you have created brand awareness for your company on the web and how easy you have made it for a prospect to find your website. There are many ways to do this including digital advertising and placing links to your site on related third-party websites, but most important is how well your company’s website shows up in search engine results.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is the science of search as it relates to marketing your company, products and services on the web.
There are two ways to show up within search engines:
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – This is also known as organic or natural optimisation. The objective of SEO is to increase web visitor counts by ranking high in the results of searches that pertain to the content of your site. It is not just about copy, linking or infrastructure or just search engine submission, but rather a complex mix of many variables that need to be built into the fabric of a website. In other words, if you optimise your site for search engines, it will naturally show up for the keywords you specify.
Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC) – These are all the ads that show up under the ‘sponsored links’ sections on search engine results pages. You define your keywords, create your ad copy and set a cost-per-click for each ad. Essentially, you are paying the search engine each time a user clicks on your ad. PPC campaigns can be very effective, but require careful strategy and management.
In a nutshell, the difference between organic optimisation and pay-per-click campaigns is that with PPC you pay for each click to your site. With SEO, the rankings are naturally high because you were smart enough to optimise your site for your specific, carefully targeted keywords.
SEM is a science. If implemented correctly, the benefits can be enormous. You should try to set goals for your website, which your internet marketing strategy should achieve. Your website should ultimately:
• Acquire new customers frequently
• Increase sales (especially if you sell products online)
• Retain existing customers
• Serve as a lead generation tool
• Establish brand awareness. If done successfully, this can go on to result in brand domination
• Be a contact point for customer service, support and company information
• Ultimately grow your business.
It’s time to take a little test. Go to Google and pretend you are an office supplies buyer looking for an office supply dealer. For example, type in ‘office supplies London’ (or wherever your company is based). What shows up? Is it your company or your competitors? I can tell you right now that all the major store chains are definitely going to appear and maybe even some of your local competitors. So, why not you?
It’s time to get serious about your website. There are many ways to help grow your internet presence – regardless of the size of your company.
I once read an anonymous quote in an online publication, which said: "The internet is not simply a way to conduct business, it redefines the business itself."
That was true five years ago when I first read the quote, and it holds even more truth now. Think about how many companies have successfully harnessed the power of eCommerce to open a new sales channel and revenue stream.
In the coming months, we will be sharing tips, techniques and best practices with OPI readers regarding organic optimisation and pay-per-click advertising. In the meantime, take a good look at your site and analyse how much traffic it’s receiving. After all, what good is having a website if no one can find it?
Article supplied by Fortune Web Marketing, a New Jersey-based full service internet marketing agency. Fortune Web Marketing offers the latest insight, knowledge and technology that can help companies achieve significant internet presence with its website. They offer services including natural search optimisation techniques, pay-per-click strategies and website design. www.fortunewebmarketing.com