When most people think of web marketing, the first thing that comes to mind is getting found in search engines, most likely Google. Here are the key points business leaders need to know about search engines as part of their comprehensive web marketing plan and strategies.
No Quick Fix
The first and most important thing to know about search engine marketing is that there is no quick fix! It takes time, effort and strategy to get results in the search engines. Putting in the time and effort almost always generates results, but you may never be number one for the terms you desire. That does not mean you can’t be successful and get a large amount of targeted traffic over time. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a long-term marketing effort that requires patience and careful tracking to produce results.
Google has almost all the market share among the most popular search engines. This could change, but as of 2014 and the near future, Google has well over 70 percent market share among the major search engines. MSN and Yahoo make up most of the remaining market share. The vast majority of your qualified search engine web traffic will come from Google. The primary search engine focus of this book is on getting found in Google. The good news is that what works in Google tends to work in other search engines as well.
Google as a Branding Tool
Getting found in Google is more than just getting traffic to your website. It is also about your company’s brand. Research and target the right keywords and then make sure you are on the first page of Google for those search terms. The branding impact is as important as the actual website traffic and you may have to use Google AdWords to get listed in these searches.
AdWords is Google’s online advertising service displaying paid ads in search results. It is the reason Google is highly profitable, and one of the most valued companies in the world. For these reasons alone, business leaders should learn more about AdWords. You can read more about Google AdWords and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising in upcoming posts.
Prospecting and Google
Google search results have replaced prospecting and cold calling. People want to find you in search results during their online research. This has replaced cold calling and other push marketing techniques. Remember, it is more effective to pull qualified prospects into your website than to go knocking on doors, hoping prospects will make time to talk with you. They will make contact with your company when they find your website by targeted web searches.
Use the Google keyword planning tool found in AdWords to determine the keywords most appropriate for your website. Select the keywords used by your target market. Keep in mind these keywords may not be your first choice because most people research the terms they think best fit their needs. These may not be the terms you thought they would be. Also, if you find there are too many keywords and it is overwhelming, organize your keywords by market segments or keyword themes. Google’s keyword tool can help with this process.
The Four Key Areas of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
There are four important areas to address when optimizing your website for Google searches. Your keywords should be implemented in these four areas:
1. Website Code
Keywords should be strategically placed in the code of your website. This code is not visible on your website pages. The code can be seen in web searches, at the top of your browser, when you mouse over a photo and in other ways, but not in the actual web page content. The code includes title tags, meta descriptions, headers, alt tags and related code.
2. Website Content
The appropriate keywords must also be in your website content and must complement the keyword strategy used in your website code. This is the content read by your website visitors. Regular content updates are important along with a blog that includes optimized code and content.
3. Links from Other Websites
Google made its mark as a search engine by using website link popularity as a key part of its ranking process. Websites with more links from important websites ranked higher in search results. This popularity approach made results more relevant and is still important today, although Google has placed less emphasis on this recently, in favor of content. At a minimum, have several high-traffic websites linking to your website. It is best to make this an organic process and ask for the links.
4. Authorship and Content Leadership
Google respects content leadership, and improved search engine results go hand-in-hand with the credibility of the content’s author. This is why a Google+ account is important and necessary to improve search results. Make sure your content is appearing in Google+ and work to position yourself as a content leader in your marketplace. More on Google+ in upcoming chapters on social media.
Google Webmaster Tools
This Google tool is essential to SEO results and the only method available to communicate directly with Google and track Google bots (also known as spiders) as they index your website in the Google search database. This is the software run by Google to rank your website in Google search results. Google also uses Webmaster Tools to help prevent spam and track malware. One of Google’s major priorities is to prevent spam websites from showing up in search results. Sites that have a Google Search Console or Webmaster Tools account are less likely to be spammer websites.
Hopefully this book is teaching you that there is much more to web marketing than getting found in Google. Yet, it is very important to have a basic understanding of how Google works and the steps needed to get results in online web searches. You can use this knowledge to help direct your search engine optimization (SEO) staff and better understand what they are doing to drive traffic from the search engines.
- Make time to learn the basics of search engine optimization (SEO) and Google.
- Compile a list of search engine keywords that you want to be listed on the first page of Google, and drive your web marketing team to make that happen. Some keywords may be too competitive, so look for niches and conduct local searches as needed.
- Make sure all four steps of SEO are covered on your current website.
- Research and learn more about Google AdWords and run a few test campaigns to get hands-on training with AdWords.
- Set up and review Google Webmaster Tools os Search Console.
- Select someone to be your website and blog content authority. This may be you!