4 Steps To Improving Your Search Engine Marketing Strategy

4 Steps To Improving Your Search Engine Marketing Strategy

Search 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 following article is​ about. It's a​ simple list of​ four things business owners can use in​ 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​ consistent 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

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​ one underlying truth: build your website according to​ web standards,​ with a​ focus on​ accessibility for all.

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).

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 is​ a​ confusing sector. on​ one hand,​ there are "snake oil salesmen" ready to​ get you​ a​ #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."

The best strategy to​ take is​ a​ common-sense approach to​ SEO: develop standards for your website that ALL pages must adhere to. if​ you​ do this,​ and enforce it,​ you​ can then branch out to​ some of​ the​ other "niche" aspects of​ SEO.

Here's a​ sample list of​ SEO standards to​ enforce on​ your website:

1. Write descriptive HTML page titles that really describe the​ page it​ is​ on​ (in 255 characters or​ less)

2. Write a​ summary sentence that really describes the​ page it​ is​ on​ (in 255 characters or​ less)

3. Write page content that is​ focused on​

4. Write descriptive ALT text for all images that describes the​ concept the​ image illustrates and never use images for text

5. Build all pages to​ comply with current web standards observed by the​ World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

Only once your web pages comply with the​ above standards should you​ start more advanced SEO techniques,​ including keyword targeting,​ 301 redirects,​ link building (getting more links to​ your site),​ RSS news feeds,​ blogs,​ and SEO-specific metrics and tracking.

4. Leverage Pay-Per Click Advertising

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.

So,​ pay-per click advertising really boils down to​ 3 components:

1. Picking keywords to​ advertise on​ (i.e. target keywords)

2. Determining what to​ bid for those target keywords

3. Writing copy for the​ ads that show up when people search

Picking keywords is​ all about knowing what terms your customers,​ clients,​ etc. would use when searching for your product or​ service. There are several tools to​ help you​ generate ideas. the​ best tools also check to​ see how many searches-per-month your target keywords receive. you​ typically want to​ find keywords that generate a​ lot of​ searches every month,​ but are focused enough for your business. For example,​ a​ company that sells Keen high-performance outdoor sandals probably would be best served bidding on​ "keen sandals" versus "sandals" which could include searches for the​ all-inclusive resort,​ Sandals.

Determining what to​ bid for your keywords can be a​ highly-scientific process,​ sometimes managed by complex software and several key metrics. to​ keep it​ simple,​ let a​ tool like Google Adwords Traffic Estimator recommend to​ you​ what to​ bid at​ first. Start there,​ and start small. Your best bet is​ to​ lock-in a​ low daily budget limit until you​ are comfortable with the​ impressions your ads are getting,​ the​ flow of​ traffic from the​ ads to​ your website,​ and what those people do once they get to​ your website.

Writing ad copy comes down to​ writing a​ headline that people will click on,​ and creating compelling copy below that headline/link that will get people to​ click.

Headlines are best created by following what magazine covers do: focus on​ getting attention through eye-catching,​ short phrases. Using words like best (i.e. "Best Tips for a​ Summer Barbeque"),​ ultimate (i.e. "Ultimate National Park Vacations") and number-based lists (i.e. "Top 5 Hybrid Cars for 2018") have all been proven to​ work.

Writing effective ad copy below the​ title/link is​ really about reinforcing the​ term(s) search for. This means using the​ keywords in​ the​ ad copy,​ and starting the​ copy with an​ action verb.

By following the​ approach above,​ you​ can create or​ evaluate your search engine marketing strategy,​ focus on​ what matters most when executing your plans,​ and more effectively achieve your goals.

4 Steps To Improving Your Search Engine Marketing Strategy

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