The other day I was asked a question regarding SEO - Search Engine Optimization. This led me to ponder if Search Engine Optimization is still the most affective way to spend your marketing dollars.
If you have a local small business or cater to a niche market, optimizing your web pages can bring them to the coveted top spots of the search engine results pages. For this type of website, it can be as simple as coordinating your Meta tags (title, description) with the <h1> tag and the first paragraph in the content, and adding your local city names and zip codes.
What about websites that have a regional or global scope and/or a more generic market? For this type of website, Search Engine Optimization is a piece of a larger marketing strategy. Individual pages can be optimized for specific markets within the generic market. Take toys as an example. Red Wagons are more specific, and a Radio Flyer Classic Red Wagon is even more specific.
Given the current volume of websites, optimizing pages is a good start, but for most websites it is no longer enough to keep your pages ranked on the first page of the search engine results. Looking for toys? Google search results returns over a billion websites. Red Wagon fetches over 20 million. Radio Flyer Classic Red Wagon brings up over 150,000, with the top spots going to Amazon, Radio Flyer, Walmart, Target, and Toys "R" Us. How do you compete with them?
If SEO becomes less affective over time, or is already no longer affective for your website, what else is available?
Pay-Per-Click is a fast way to drive traffic to your website. You pay a fee each time a user clicks on your ad. Click fees vary by keyword popularity. Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Facebook offer PPC programs.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, and Pinterest are popular social media websites that can be used affectively for marketing your business. Each is distinct and some may be better suited to your products and services than others. A store that sells coffee to the general public can do well on Facebook, while a professional accountant may have better results using LinkedIn.
Developing a list of "your people" is the most affective tool for longevity. Pay-Per-Click brings fast traffic, but has to be fed continuously. Social websites allow you to build lists of followers, but by using their tools and their databases. Building your own list from your SEO, Pay-Per-Click, and Social Media traffic will help you keep "your people" in the loop no matter which road led them to your website.
Whichever tools you choose to build traffic, website marketing is a continuous process, not a one-time event, and is forever changing. Track your progress daily, weekly, or monthly depending upon the tool. Tweak the campaigns that are working well and revise or remove the one's that aren't. Be deliberate, be consistent, be BOLD!
Happy Hunting! And, if you haven't already, please join the Web Tips Wednesday email list!