Internet search marketing should be an integral part of your overall business development plan. Although many people understand that this is true for Internet-based businesses, it is just as essential for tradition offline entities. Today, there are approximately 1.4 billion people with access to the Internet. Any business can get their message to millions of targeted prospects at costs substantially lower than traditional offline methods.
While there are a number of components of Internet search marketing that can be assembled in many different ways, there are two broad classes of Internet search marketing into which all of these components can be sorted. However, before we discuss those, it’s important to have a general understanding of what makes the search engines happy.
Often, when Internet marketers talk about search engines, they talk about Google. And, while there are several others, Google is currently the king of the hill. Further, they are share similar criteria.
As a general proposition, it is useful to assume that the search engines are not primarily interested in the internet marketer. They are interested in the person who comes to the search engine looking for information. And, the want to make very sure they give that user what he or she is looking for. So, if a person enters a search term, the search engines want to make sure they get back links to sites with lots of relevant information about that search term.
So, the first requirement for a business using internet search marketing is to figure out what search terms (called keywords) a potential customer is likely to use and to provide content relevant to those search terms.
Organic Search Marketing
The goal of organic search marketing is to develop a website that is so close to exactly what the search engines are looking for that you achieve the top result when a prospective customer or client searches for your goods or services. The techniques used to develop that high-scoring site are collectively referred to as Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
In turn, SEO strategies may be divided into on-page and off-page strategies.
On-page strategies are, obviously, those that can be implemented within the content of your website. These have to do with things like keyword density, relevant content, appropriate page linking, and more. In contrast, off-page optimization strategies can involve things like content marketing, social networking, and other strategies intended to drive traffic to and increase the popularity of your site.
You see, the search engines figure that if your site is popular for specific keywords, it must be giving the searchers what they want. Many of the techniques used to increase a site’s popularity do so by increasing the number of one-way links to your site (called backlinks) from other sites. Backlinks work best when the keyword is used as the anchor text (the text that is the clickable link on the other site).
Paid Search Marketing
Paid search marketing relies less on SEO strategies to get on the first page of the search engine results. Commonly called pay per click (PPC) advertising, this involves placing an ad that appears on the results page whenever certain keywords are searched. The idea is that you bid on certain keywords and when someone searches on those search terms, your ad shows up. They click on your ad and are taken to your squeeze page or sales page.
Although not as heavily dependent on SEO as the organic search strategies, relevance is still important to the search engines. The more relevant your ad and landing page are to the search term, the less you have to pay and the better you’ll place among everyone bidding on that keyword. Although theoretically you can buy your way into top position, it wouldn’t be cost competitive even if it could be done. In today’s competitive world, you just can’t justify paying an order of magnitude more than your competitor whose ad would be right next to yours.
So whether you decide to use organic search or PPC strategies in your Internet search marketing, it pays to understand how the search engines work and what they’re looking for. That’s complicated by the fact that the major search engines don’t use identical algorithms and that they change those algorithms without warning.