SEO stands for search engine optimization. Search engines attempt to satisfy you (the searchers) by providing the most relevant results based on your keyword search. If you can easily find what you’re looking for from the search engine results, consider yourself a satisfied customer and you’ll likely return to that search engine in the future.
Results found on the left-hand side of the search engines are called organic or natural results. Achieving high rankings in these results is the aim of SEO.
In some aspects, SEO is similar to PPC with respect to keywords. Before you do anything, you should choose relevant keywords that you want to rank for. Keep in mind that it is going to be much harder to rank for generic keywords than it is for specific keywords. If you service a specific area, I’d suggest including a geographic indicator like a city, state, or region within your keyword.
Although there are many things you can do to optimize your website, SEO can basically be broken down to on-site and off-site optimization. This can literally be interpreted as optimizing your website structure and content (on-site) and optimizing the volume and manner of backlinks to your website on other sites (off-site).
Don’t be fooled by those SEO specialists or firms that guarantee you a #1 ranking or claim to do it in a short period of time. Many of these individuals use “black hat SEO” tactics. While it’s true that they may achieve a high ranking for you quickly, your ranking will just as quickly fall and your site will be penalized or even black listed from the search engines. In order for you to achieve a high ranking with longevity, it will take time.
Depending on how much work is done to optimize your site, the quality of work, and your keyword selection, it could take anywhere from 3 to 6 months just to see noticeable increase in ranking. To put it lightly, if you’re competing for common keyword terms, you should get comfortable and expect it to take more than a year before you reach your desired position.
If you’re able to achieve a high ranking for your desired keyword terms, you can expect to see more traffic than any of your PPC rankings. As mentioned in part I of this series, the majority of clicks from any keyword search go to these organic results.
I’m a big advocate of SEO. While the initial time and money—should you hire an SEO agency—can be a difficult investment, it can reap incredible results.
One might say that social media can be considered as any form of online interaction or expression. Think of it simply as online buzz. Social media has exploded online and it appears that, as the newest member of the online marketing family (PPC, SEO, online directories, social media) it has the potential to ultimately become the leader.
The reason why social media can be such an effective form of online advertising is because it can spread quickly, be done with little cost, and most importantly it carries credibility with it via word of mouth.
These days there are many businesses using social media as a primary source of marketing. With the recent surge of Twitter, great deals and promotions can be found in abundance from big businesses. If you’re capable of putting together the right kind of promotion, you can get quite a following.
Just last week on Twitter, Air New Zealand started giving away 1 free flight to New Zealand every day for the next 30 days. I started following KiWeets last Thursday when there were about 80+ followers. Now they have over 2,200!
Don’t forget that blogs are a big part of social media. Even if you don’t have many subscribers to your blog, sometimes it only takes one good post to put you on the map.
For me, it’s a no brainer to use social media to market your site because most of it is free and ready to use. Consider social media as a way to get personal with your target audience. The more time and attention you devote to them, the more loyal they’ll become to you and consequently promote your site.
In summary, online marketing can be an amazing tool because no matter what your site may be about, you can easily locate and serve a unique niche. Now get out there and find them, they’re looking for you.