The design of your website should capture the attention of the visitor and should effectively represent who you are and what you do. It should represent your brand – play off the strength of your logo.
The site functions or works well. It loads quickly, has live links. Good functionality makes the experience center stage and the technology invisible. For seniors, this equates to user friendliness, ease of use, clarity and simplicity.
The success is going to be based on the sum of these elements, including the intangibles that cause the visitor to stay or leave, come back, place a bookmark, or requests a brochure, emails it to a friend, or feels out an inquiry form!
Keyword Research – Finding relevant keywords that people are searching on is critical to both SEO and Paid Search.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – SEO can offer long term positioning, however it can take up to several months to see results; especially if the site is newer.
Paid Per Click (PPC) Search – PPC is a great supplement to an SEO campaign as it allows for (immediate) targeted web traffic. It is optimal to run a PPC campaign as you build your organic (SEO) traffic.
Social Media Marketing (SMM) – Utilizing Social Media can produce immediate results, however, the visitors are often less targeted and more curious due to how the information is shared.
Local Search Marketing – Combines elements of SEO, PPC, and SMM with a focus on local search results. Also targets map based search results and local search directories (i.e. Cityscape, Merchant Circle, Yellow Pages, etc.)
Why Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is Important to Business Owners
It is Intentional vs. Opportunistic and
usually Gives a Much Better Return on
SEM solves a problem by connecting a
searcher with a website and consumers
generally trust search results.
Advertising relies on: 1. Opportunity – Does the person viewing the ad currently need my product or service? 2. Branding – Does the person recognize or trust my brand enough to do business with me?
On page SEO tells the search engines (i.e. Google) what
your website is about. Content is KING Make sure to have a separate pages for each product or service that you offer. Each page is a unique opportunity to rank for a set of keywords. Optimized Coding for Search Engines - Title tags are key - META tags are great to have but have less effect than they used to for ranking. - Optimized content. Write for humans, but keep the search engines in mind (don’t just repeat keywords).
Off page SEO (also known as “link building”) – Tells the
search engines (i.e. Google) how important your website
is as each inbound link is a “vote” for your site. - Directories (i.e. Yahoo, Best of the Web, Illumirate, GoGuides, etc.) - Links from other related websites - Press / Media links - Online press releases - www.HelpaReporterOut.com - Blogs (start your own, comment on others) - Social Media sites (LinkedIn, Plaxo, Twitter) - Links NOT to acquire (link exchanges, link farms, bad neighborhoods)
Obstacles for newly launched websites: - A brand new site is unknown to the search engines and will take longer to obtain organic search rankings because it will take time for the search engines to discover it’s content. - There is no way to “speed up” the process or the search engines will suspect that you are doing something “shady” and could penalize your website.
Obstacles for older / existing websites: - Poor website architecture such as a dynamic platform that the search engines cannot read well. (dynamic URL) http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001PIBE8I/ref=s9_simz_gw_s2_p23_t1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=0K07H8PK66XB2H8Y6KRN&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=470938631&pf_rd_i=507846 (static URL) http://www.akaim.com/online-reputation-management.php
Obstacles for older / existing websites: - Poor use of technology such as a website built completely in Flash which the search engines have a hard time reading. - Lack of on page optimization (i.e. poor keyword usage or limited content). - Lack of inbound links. Age alone does not give the site much credibility, but the older a site is the more time it has had to develop links to it.
Some factors that impact the cost of an SEO campaign: - Effective keyword research, code development, and copy optimization takes several hours per page. More pages = higher cost. - First year directory fees can cost in excess of $1,000 if the site is not listed in quality directories. Some (Yahoo & Business.com) even have annual fees of up to $299 per year. - Higher competition requires more linking power to obtain top rankings. - Larger outreach often equals more competition (local campaigns are generally less costly than national or international campaigns)
Get Started – Do “something” as opposed to nothing. If you cannot afford to compete on page one all up front, don’t give up. They key is to start small and continue to make improvements along the way; ideally reinvesting your profits.
Here are some low cost entry level SEO strategies:
Basic on page optimization. At a minimum, optimize your home page since this is usually the top entry page.
Focus on a few top search engine directories (Best of the Web, GoGuides, etc.)
Local directory submissions. Even if you are a national company, this will get the link building process started and perhaps get you some local business.
Online Press. Many small companies neglect to use the media, but it can produce amazing results.
Bottom Line - Your website should be a profit center not an expense. If not, let’s talk about how to change it.
It is more prudent to spend money on getting people to the site as opposed to having all of the bells and whistles which can actually be a distraction. Don’t get caught up in spending lots of money on enhancing a site that no one knows about.
Online marketing is only part of the battle. Once your customers get to your site, the site has to solve their problem and convince them to take further action by calling you or making a purchase. Also, make sure to capture your visitors information (legitimately) to continue marketing to them.
A comprehensive online marketing plan leverages components of SEO, Paid Search and Social Media and provides the maximum benefit in terms of both targeted visitors and brand building.