According to Stokes in eMarketing, 59 per cent of all Americans use a search engines daily; that’s a potentially huge market for your business. How do you steer these people toward your business?

Search engines grease the wheels of discovery. The algorithms that power search engines want validation that your website has trustworthy content so your site can be confidently recommended. If you can prove that your site is authoritative, your site will rank higher in searches – and in customers’ minds.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can provide this proof. As per the Zen Marketing Group, SEO is you telling search engines who you are via efficient site construction, keywords and content, and other sites confirming this quality by linking their sites to yours.

It’s important that your site is compatible with the words searchers use to find you.

Key search terms should be deliberately yet logically sprinkled through every page of your site and in your title, header, body text, URL, meta page description, and link anchor text. These keywords can also be used in file names and captions of videos and images on your site.

Determine these keywords by reviewing your site’s referral logs for the words which historically draw visitors to your page, as well as being specific, such as including a location or product. Don’t forget to consider human nature when determining your keywords. What alternate terms can be used to describe your business? How are these words misspelled? How many sites are targeting these same terms? How many are in direct competition with you?

As you regularly maintain your end of the bargain via quality content and design and keywords, other sites will organically want to link to you.

There are a number of search engine strategies (SES) you can employ to increase your visibility and links.

You want quality links: create tools and documents that people want to download, games people want to play, and widgets that will make people’s lives easier. Social media can also help your brand name dominate the search results – and don’t forget to develop a mobile version of your site; a site with “mobile” in the URL helps populate search results.

But – what if you could be the first search result almost every time you’re sought out, and only pay when people visit your site?

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) can be an amazing way of drawing searchers to your site; after all, 73 per cent of American web users employ a search engine, according to eMarketing. Google AdWords is the gold standard for SEM; in fact, in generates 95 per cent of Google’s revenues.

SEM is affordable, and can be an excellent source of keywords and improve your SEO by creating an immediate web presence.

Search ads appear at the top of search results and are marked as ads; they contain a keyword-optimized heading, a few lines of copy, a URL, and an ad extension, which can flesh out the ad by including your business’ location, a call button, seller ratings, images and more. The best ads employ a “call to action”, inviting searchers to take a specific action via the click.

AdWords offers myriad options for directing and placing ads, but first, an advertiser must bid for placement, or for how much they are willing to pay per click. The advertiser must also create the copy, establish the landing page the click will lead to, and set a budget.

AdWords provides a comprehensive video tutorial, and it’s important to know key terms before beginning. An impression is each time someone sees an ad, and is free. When an ad is clicked on, there is a charge; the advertiser determines the maximum amount of this charge. Click-through rate is the ratio of how many clicks versus impressions; anything greater than 1 per cent is considered good.

If you have a high Quality Score – meaning that your site content, copy, landing page and click-through   rate are all relevant – your bid price per ad will be discounted. Search engines, after all, want quality advertising to make them money, too.

What you’re hoping to achieve is conversion; how many clicks turn into customers. SEM  allows you to track all of this to ensure you’re receiving return on investment and making money.

Ready to start your advertising engines and drive business to your site? Let me know in the comments!

Andrea

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