SEO Guide Part 9-What is SEO?

Decide on your SEO strategy

Before you begin to develop your own strategy and implementation plan to optimize your website for improved page ranking and more importantly Search Engine Result Page results (SERP), you have to reflect on what is the major objective of your SEO.

Is it your objective to attract more visitors to your site (eyeballs)?

Convert more persons from being a visitor to a subscriber who registers for a free newsletter (lead generation)

Create special pages for existing users to cater to their specific needs (lead management)

Create a loyal stakeholder in your business (a customer)?

The dot com mania period showed a marked change in evaluating a website’s success in terms of number of eyeballs that it could collect, since the model was lacking any perspective as to what these eyeballs or site visits meant to the business.

The attitude was; “If we get enough visits, the money will come.”

That has changed now (to some extent, though I am still amazed at how many people are still traffic focused rather than conversion focused), and most companies realize getting new visitors and making them RETURN visitors is what’s really critical to a business unit’s success.

It is sticky visitors, loyalty and ultimately the financial impact return customers have on its bottom line that really counts.

A business can only go up, down or sideways. In other words, increase, decrease, or stay the same.

A person is only your customer if they take the action you want, ie, buy from you (or perhaps give you their email address in the hope they will eventually buy from you). There is no such thing as ‘they almost bought’. They either did, or didn’t. Eyeballs don’t have wallets.

So you need to have an SEO strategy in place which leads them to the EXACT customer experience you want to create for them, in order to achieve your specific goals (which in most cases is going to be to sell them stuff).

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SEO Guide Part 8 – What is SEO?

Why is SEO so important?

The art and science of understanding how search engines identify pages that are relevant to a query made by a visitor and designing marketing strategies  based on this is called search engine optimization.

Search engines offer the most cost effective mechanism to acquire “real” and “live” business leads, because the people you are marketing to are ALREADY LOOKING for what you want to sell.

That’s right, ALREADY LOOKING for you. It is not “interruption marketing”, where a person is watching the Super Bowl and you stop the game to show them a car that 99% of the audience are never going to be interested in.

For the purpose of continuing this metaphor, you are marketing to people who have already typed in Jaguar S-type or Volkswagen Passat.

It is found that in most cases search engine optimization delivers better ROI than other forms such as online advertisements, e-mail marketing and newsletters, affiliate and pay per click advertising, and digital campaigns and promotions, because it is easy to use and does not take hours of effort or strategy. It is also relatively easy to measure. You can run a search on any of your main keywords to see if you are in the top 10, and various software programs will also help you with this.

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SEO Guide Part 7 – What is SEO?

SEO vs PPC-the differences

PPC, or Pay Per Click, is the second aspect of search engines you need to know about. It is closely allied to SEO in some ways, in that both are interested in ranking on the first page of results, and both use keywords to drive this traffic.

The difference is as the name suggests—Pay Per Click means you have to pay every time someone clicks on the ad you are running.

The good news is, you can get a lot of traffic really fast with this method. The bad news is you can also lose a lot of cash really fast with PPC.

The plus side is that you can test marketing messages really quickly by running an ad in front of a few hundred people in a matter of days to see if you have a winner. You can test and track every aspect of the campaign if you set it up correctly.  This is far more efficient in terms of time and cost than anything you could achieve with a print-based marketing campaign.

The plus side is also that SEO and PPC reinforce each other. In other words, if people see the ads on the side, they might be a bit reluctant to click, but if they see both a high placement for the PPC ad, and one for the SERP, they are 70% more likely to click and even take action (either give their email address, or actually buy something).

But let’s be realistic about this here and now.  Online advertising and marketing budgets have also soared since PPC was first started by Google in about 2000.  Relative to these, the investment required for getting traffic through search engines is much lower.

However, as search engines have billions of pages indexed in English alone, let alone any other language, it is important to have a proper approach to using SEO effectively.

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SEO Guide Part 6 – What is SEO?

Why take the time and trouble over SEO?

In addition to big businesses all bying for top search engine rankings, ordinary people looking to make additional income online, or give up their day job, are also putting up targetted, highly focused niche websites in order to try to make income as an affiliate.

Affiliate marketing is selling a product on a company’s behalf in exchange for a commission. Many of the top names in software, banking, dating services, and more, are members of Commission Junction, just one of the many affiliate networks out there you can join as a publisher.

Anyone can be an affiliate, and it makes sense=dollars and cents.  If you already have traffic, you are trying to monetize your site to pay for the annual hosting fees and so on. If you are more ambitious, you can write reviews, set up pages with robust data and information on how to use the product, and so forth, with one of your affiliate links pointing to the site where they can purchase the item you have been discussing.

If they buy, you get a commission. In some cases, all they have to do is sign up (lead generation) and you will get a commission.  My last ‘sale’ was affiliate payment of $10 just for someone joining a bookclub.  All I did was join the program and put up an HTML link.

If you have several hundred visitors a week coming to your site and even 1% of them take the offer, that could be $30 a week, over $1500 a year, which would more than ccover the cost of the site hosting and so on.

If this sounds like a good proposition to you, and you are more ambitious, you can drive traffic to your site in one of two ways-SEO and PPC.

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SEO Guide Part 5 – What is SEO?

Why take the time and trouble over SEO?

Because a search engine is the most effective tool that can bring a prospective customer to your company’s website. Particularly  if you work with Google and Yahoo.

Millions of web visits are initiated daily through one or the other search engine to locate information or sources of products, usually for the best price possible.

Search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN, and the AOL search community are considered to be the most effective and targeted channels for you as a website owner to acquire a hot lead without breaking the bank.

Businesses all the over the world spend a huge sum on designing, building, maintaining and promoting their websites. There is more competition in certain hot marketing areas, and everyone wants a slice of the niche market they are in, no matter how large or small.

A niche market is a highly focused, targetted market—not just cars, but Honda Civic Hybrid cars. The more specific your niche, the more likely that yes, the pool of traffic will be smaller, but they will be closer to making a purchasing decision.

So if you are an affiliate or car salesman, or a person selling accessories for the Honda Hybrid car, you are much more likely to make money and not throw away time and effort trying to get to the top of the SERPs with the word cars.

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