Search engine marketing is using popular search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo! to market your products and services. Effective search engine marketing means that when a potential customer or client types in keywords matching what you offer they are greeted with your website. More and more customers are using search engines. We use search engine to price shop, to research and even to buy.
Think about this - the traditional marketing tool that would have been considered similar to that of search engines was the yellow pages. We depended on the yellow pages to help us find products and service providers. That dependency has diminished, but that doesn't mean that consumers have stopped shopping. They are just using different tools - search engines. There are nearly 2 billion searches done each day. Do you think that there are a few of those searches looking for your products or services? The answer is yes!
Ok, so enough talk about why it's important. How do you do it? First, let me say that if you think I can teach you search engine optimization in one article I hate to disappoint you, but I can't. What I can do is tell you what's important when it comes to search engine optimization. You can teach yourself search engine optimization, which is learning how to gain higher rankings in search engines for your specific targeted keywords. It will take effort and time, lots of time - but it's not impossible. You can also outsource search engine optimization, but know what to look for. There are many out there that claim to do search engine optimization, but yet don't get clients the results they desire, so do your homework.
There are three major components to a website that can help in gaining higher search engine rankings. These components will help in creating a foundation that will help you in reaping rewards in search engine marketing.
- Your Website Must Be Search Engine Friendly.
A search engine must be able to read your website in order to index it appropriately within search engine results. Your website must be accessible to search engines. If it is not a search engine cannot index you and that means you will not show up in search engine results, which will detour from search engine marketing attempts. You can use spider simulators to view what search engines see if, and when they spider your website. My favorite is a spider simulator provided by WebConfs.com - it's easy and free to use.
- Keyword Research - What Are Your Customers Looking For?
Keyword research is important to search engine marketing, because you need to know what potential customers and clients are looking for. You may think someone is looking for a widget, but perhaps they are looking for a specific titled widget. You want to select keywords that are going to be targeted as well as give you the most best performance for the work that you put into search engine marketing. Keyword research helps you to know your audience and it helps you in reaching them online. So how do you do keyword research? Put your gloves on, this is about to get dirty. There are four phases to keyword research. They include:
- Phase 1: Keyword Discovery
In this phase you identify the keywords that are related not only to your website, but to your targeted market.
Tools for Phase 1
Wordtracker -Wordtracker is fee based, but it does offer a free trial. It will allow you to look up popular keyword phrases. You can also use the Competition Search feature to help in building up your shortlist of keywords.
Google Keyword Suggestion Tool - Google offers a keyword recommendation tool that works really well. You can use their recommendations as a guide in selecting the correct keywords. It is a free tool.
- Phase 2: Keyword Analysis
You are going to use the information from Phase 1 to determine who your competition is online. Who is competing for the keywords that you selected in Phase 1? You also want to see how you are ranking for those keywords as well.
Tools for Phase 2
Wordtracker works well for analyzing your keywords and the competition. You can use this tool to find the number of pages for the keywords that you have selected. This will show you the amount of competition you will face. Use this information wisely. Go out and look at who it is that rank on the first page of those keyword terms and study them. What are they doing? Do they have a lot of content? Don't copy them, but use this information to improve on your on website. The information is valuable.
- Phase 3: Keyword Selection
Using the tools and the information you gathered in both Phase 1 and Phase 2 spend some time selecting the right keywords for your website. You want to base this on who you are trying to target. List out the keywords that you have identified in prior phases. You will use this list within the content of your website.
- Phase 4: Keyword Implementation
Now it's time to put the information that you've gathered to work. You want to implement the keywords you have identified in your website copy and in your HTML code. (Don't worry I'm not going to get geeky here, if you don't know what HTML is it's best to talk to the person that designed your website or visit the HTML site here at About.)
- Phase 1: Keyword Discovery
That's right, I said content! Content is one of the most important things when it comes to search engine marketing. The reason is that search engines spider or read your site and they are looking for keywords that your potential customer may be looking for. You want to make sure that you have relevant and original content. Your content should not only engage and interest your customers, but it should provide search engines with enough food that they feel your are important to their users that search for what you offer. The more frequently you update the content on your website the more interested search engines will be in spidering and indexing your website. Formatting and font size of your content is also important. When you bold content or you change font size, such as in the title of a paragraph the search engines will see that you are emphasizing certain topics. Now, this doesn't mean go through your entire website and bold everything - that won't work. Emphasize what should be important to your readers and the search engines will follow. Don't forget to use the knowledge you gained in keyword research when writing your content.
It's important to realize that search engine marketing is not going to happen over night. It takes time and the only way you will know how you are doing is tracking. You want to make sure that you have website analytics. If you don't have analytics to track where your website visitors are coming from I suggest using Google Analytics to get started. It is not as advanced as some website analytics, but it is free and will at least help you in getting started in tracking your results.