This is the second of my two talks delivered at www.f5-expo.com last week.
(Follow this link to see my talk on local web marketing.)
Grab the SEO & PPC talk on slideshare here:
SEO and Paid Search: An Intro
Search Engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing continue to be the main sources of website traffic for most businesses but if your company is just starting out on the web, what should you focus on?
In this session, youâ€™ll learn the answer to that question as well as:
- Why search is so powerful & how to take advantage of it
- How to get started with SEO & PPC
- And how to make money using search: a tried, tested, and true formula
Why Search is so Powerful
Search is a powerful tool for businesses because it gives you the ability to show up in front of your potential customers at exactly the point in time when they are looking for your products and services.
It is also powerful because huge numbers of people use search engines every day. In the end it has to do with timing, relevance, and numbers.
Each of us has multiple â€œinformation needsâ€ throughout the day. We have questions to problems, we have things we need to buy, and a million things we need to learn about. Typically we use search engines to satisfy these needs, to find answers to our questions, and to find products that satisfy our desires.
Because search engines like Google are very good at giving us what we want, and fast- weâ€™ve become accustomed to using them, almost to an extreme.
Getting back to why search is powerful to you as a business owner:
If you show up in front of people at the exact moment in time theyâ€™re looking for something AND what youâ€™re site is showing up for is targeted, timely, and relevant to what the user wants, you have an excellent chance at starting a relationship with that visitor, generating a sale or getting that visitor to take some type of meaningful action with your business.
Contrast that to traditional advertising:
In the past, weâ€™d have to hear about over and over again in order to know about it. Weâ€™d see it on TV or in a print publication multiple times.
By taking advantage of search engines, you put yourself in front of people only when they actually have an interest in what you have to offer and are actively looking for a solution to their problems. Thatâ€™s power!
How to take advantage of Search
So how do you take advantage of search?
It comes down to showing up in the right places.
What I mean by this is your website needs to show up when people do a search for your products and your services or information related to your business.
Step #1 Know Your target market
When it comes to any marketing you ever do, the most important thing you can do is understand your potential customerâ€™s needs, wants and desires. You need to get inside their heads and understand what problems they have, what their fears are, and what the itch is that your product or services will satisfy.
Step one then is market research or customer research. By doing this kind of research, youâ€™re going to begin addressing step 2 which is:
Step #2 Your keywords (actually your potential customerâ€™s keywords!) are key.
When it comes to search and paid search, everything starts with keywords.
Keywords or key phrases are the words and phrases people type into search engines like Google in order to search for a result. Every time we type a search query into a search engine, our hope is that we will quickly find the most relevant piece of information to what we are looking for.
So keywords are where you start when it comes to showing up in search engines. Keyword research is the process that you use to figure out what terms and phrases your website should be showing up for.
You can get started on keyword research by checking out Googleâ€™s free keyword research tool. Just Google the term: Google Keyword tool.
Step #3 SEO & PPC
Once you have a very good idea of who youâ€™re trying to reach and the terms and phrases they use when they think of your business, the next thing to do is look at getting your website to show up in the search engines of your choice for the terms and phrases your target market is looking for.
There are two main ways to do this: SEO & PPC
SEO refers to search engine optimization. Search engine optimization is the process of working on a website (a.k.a optimizing) to have it show up in a search engines search results for a given search term or a variety of search terms.
There are things you can do to a website to make them easier for search engines to â€œreadâ€ and find and there are also things you can do such off of a website that can help your rankings. These are known as on page and off page factors.
- Title of your blog posts
- Title of each web page
- Content of your web pages
- Meta Description tag
- H1 Tags
PPC refers to pay-per-click marketing. PPC is the process of showing ads along side the search results. Typically, in Google, Youtube, Yahoo and Bing, the top 4 search engines, ads show up on the right hand side of the page next to the search results. Sometimes they also show up at the very top or the very bottom of the page depending on how many advertisers there are and other factors.
The idea with Pay-per-click is that you can show your ads to as many people as are searching for the keywords youâ€™ve chosen but you only pay when someone actually clicks on your ad. Because your ads only show when the keywords you choose are searched on, your ads have a much greater chance of being relevant to the person doing the search.
In the past impressions were what mattered most. Today, impressions are important but more important are clicks AND even more important are conversions. Clicks are when someone sees your ad and finds it relevant or interesting enough to click on it. Conversions are when they visit your website as a result and actually purchase something or fill out a contact form or take some other measurable action.
Clicks mean website traffic.
Conversions mean sales, leads or sign ups.
Both are important but ultimately itâ€™s conversions weâ€™re all after.
How to get started with SEO
Your goals: remember, itâ€™s important to always keep your target market, your customers in mind when optimizing a site.
What they are looking for is what you need to show up for.
The content of your website is important for two reasons. First, itâ€™s what your prospects and customers will be interacting with when they visit your site. Your content needs to answer their questions, solve their problems, make them feel good and build belief that your company, your products and your services will make them better off.
It also needs to persuade them to take action, for example: purchasing your products or completing a contact form.
The second reason content is important is that it can be read by search engines. Now, this is not a big deal on its own, remember, itâ€™s only important to us because millions of people use search engines every day and we want to get in front of a portion of those people.
So how do you get started on your content?
Open up MS Word and re-write your website to do a better job of answering your customers questions and prove to them that your company can scratch their itch! (aka: satisfy their needs, wants, desires-)
Then submit your updates to your webmaster or make them yourself if you manage your own site.
The other thing you can do is to add relevant content to your website regularly over time.
Links from other websites are important as they can bring you traffic from other websites and possibly improve your rankings in search engines. Typically, the more links you have from relevant websites (websites in your industry for example) the better. Search engines have long looked at links as a vote for your website- an indication that your site is important.
A way you can start building links is by talking to anyone you know in your industry, or in related industries who runs a blog or a website, to link to your site.
The code of a website can be optimized as well. Optimizing the code of a site is beyond the scope of todayâ€™s talk. However, there is a ton of information about this online.
If you want more information on optimizing the code of a website, please email me or message me on Twitter and Iâ€™ll send you a few links to great articles on the topic.
How to get started with Pay-per-click Advertising
Probably the simplest way to get started with PPC is to hire someone to create and manage a campaign for you.
The next best way, if you want to get your feet wet, would be to visit http://adwords.google.com and watch their introductory video and read their intro material and then go through the steps of opening a Google Adwords beginner account.
Adwords gives you the option of starting a simple, beginner style campaign when you first get going.
Note: before you start, itâ€™s best to invest time learning about how to do keyword research. Google has a free keyword research tool that will help you get started. Google the term â€œGoogle keyword toolâ€ to find it.
How to make money using search: a tried, tested, and true formula
- Market research + Keyword research = Targeted Relevant Content*
- Targeted Relevant Content + Targeted links = Targeted Traffic
- Targeted Traffic + Relevant Calls to Action** = Conversions (sales & leads)
Summarized: Traffic + Conversions = Sales
*For our purposes content can mean website content and the content of your advertising.
**This assumes you have something to sell at a profit!