As a product or service provider, you probably have learned a lot about marketing. You know how to present your product so that it draws attention. You produce marketing materials perfectly calculated to convince the consumer to buy from you. You invest in carefully designed websites that will attract consumer’s attention. But one specialized niche in marketing online involves search engine optimization or SEO.
What is SEO?
Well, think about bricks-and-mortar stores. Location is everything in that world – if you have a storefront that is visible from the main road, consumer awareness will work to your benefit. That would be like having your business advertised on the front page of Yahoo! – effective, but expensive.
So what do store owners do who find themselves tucked between a barbershop and a convenience store behind a block of apartments? They need to be in a directory. That way, when someone on the other side of town browses through the yellow pages, he sees their name and decides they are worth looking up. The online equivalent of yellow pages is Google. But there are literally thousands and millions of websites wanting to be listed on Google. What decides who gets listed high enough on the list to be seen?
This is what search engine optimization does for you. Google doesn’t explicitly state the requirements for high ranking in their search results, but an entire business segment has sprung up among people who study search results and the factors know to affect them, and they have proven methods to increase your ranking.
For instance, Google is looking for keywords on your site. If someone goes out and searches for a given phrase, Google shows them sites which discuss that phrase a lot. Does that mean that you should use phrases relevant to your product in every sentence?
Unfortunately, Google’s artificial intelligence is smart enough to know that you’re probably just gaming the system. In addition, consumers who read that material are also smart enough to be turned off by it. But SEO experts have the appropriate amount of keyword usage down to a science.
Google wants to see links to your sites from other prominent sites. But getting these sites to post your links is obviously problematic. SEO experts specialize in the judicious use of inter-site linking to boost your site’s ranking.
Finally, Google, like the yellow pages, offers paid advertising. They charge you according to the number of people who click on your ads. This is a double-edged sword, though. If you can pay a reasonable amount and attract actual customers, then great – it’s working for you. On the other hand, if thousands of people with casual interest click through to your site and move on without being convinced to buy anything, then you are going to be out. Once more, consider the use of an SEO expert to help you design a campaign to convert these curious clickers into paying customers.Continue reading »