Your marketing plan will most likely include a marketing objective about using the Internet for lead generation and a core strategy about how to increase your search engine rankings. Without a marketing team this can be overwhelming and you may not know where to start. This is the first article in a series on this topic. The articles are written to help sales and marketing professionals gain a broad understanding of how search engine marketing works, knowing that they will continue to rely on experts to manage the technical aspects of their web strategies.

In order for your website to appear at the top of search engine results, the search engines will have to “crawl” your website, evaluate it, and then give it a high ranking. Search engines use a wide variety of algorithms to rank websites, and the criteria are constantly changing. Generally speaking, you’ll need a keyword identification and inbound link strategy, you’ll need to update your content frequently, and you’ll want to avoid using a lot of fancy software like Flash. Equally important, you’ll need a high-quality website with informative content in a user-friendly, customer-friendly format. This article focuses on identifying keywords.

sponsored vs. Organic Results

Sponsored or “paid” campaigns are a way for your website to appear at the top of the results pages using, for example, Google AdWords. However, there are downsides to doing this. For one, you will be charged every time someone clicks on your link, and in many cases, they may simply visit your website without contacting you for more information. Also, the ad will appear as a “sponsored link” and potential customers will know that you paid for it, which means your ad will have less credibility than if your website appears as a standard listing, often called an “organic result.” “

This is similar to using a paid print ad vs. using an advertorial or even better, gaining coverage in a magazine as a result of a public relations effort, having your company’s name appear in an article written by a third party or an existing client. The latter will obviously bring much more value in the marketing of your company.

The other issue is the cost. If you invest time and energy into building a high-ranking website, one that appears at the top of the results organically, you won’t be charged every time someone clicks on your website link. As long as you continue to invest time and energy in maintaining your website, you will continue to appear at the top of the results. The investment will not be in pay per click, it will be in developing strategic content such as articles, White Papers, etc. All of these efforts will have the added benefit of helping you in other areas of your marketing. This will be discussed in more detail in a future article in this series.

search engine optimization

The first step is to implement search engine optimization (SEO) tactics on your website. This phrase is so well known at the moment that it is often used as a verb, for example “I have done SEO on my website”. So what does it mean? Search engine optimization defines the steps that are required to make a website discoverable and easy to find by search engine crawlers, the software that search engine companies use to find, rank, and list websites. on search results pages. There are some basic steps that need to be implemented and this is where a good web developer will add the most value.

For example, the web developer will set up strategic names for each web page, embed titles and meta tags in the code, organize the sitemap, and once the site is ready, manage search engine submission to make sure the pages of the site are indexed with the main search engines, for example, Google. But before any of this can take place, you’ll need to work closely with your website development team to identify keywords.

Key to success

Keyword identification is literally the key to success. People often wonder how to improve their search engine rankings, but in many cases, they don’t realize that they need to be very clear about what “search words” they want to target. Your business is most likely to appear if you type your business name into the search box, especially if your business name is unique and appears in the text of your website. However, this won’t help you if people aren’t familiar with your company name and will search by industry keyword instead. If, for example, they are looking for a moving company, what will they type in the search box? “moving”, “relocation” or maybe “moving quote?” Figuring out the right keywords is where you should partner with your developer.

Prepare a list of keywords that you think your prospects will type. Then ask your existing customers what keywords they would use. You can also make a list of your online competitors and take note of the ones you see appearing in search engine results most often. Give all of this information to your web developers so they have a general idea of ​​who you’re targeting and what kind of keywords you’ll be targeting. From there, the developers will use web analytics software to research the best keywords to market your business and then provide you with a possible list of words. Then you’ll review the keywords to make sure they match the services you provide.

Aligning your business strategy and geographic goals

As you develop your keyword targeting strategy, you’ll also want to think about your business goals. You’ll find that some keywords are searched quite a bit, but they may be for a service you don’t provide or would prefer not to provide, for example ancillary services. Sometimes, though, providing ancillary services is a good way to at least get an introduction to a new client. To reuse the example of a moving company, maybe someone is looking for packing boxes. While box sales may not be your source of income, it could lead to a moving project. This is a business decision you will have to make.

You’ll also want to consider geography. One way to think about this is to compare the Internet to the old days of advertising in the yellow pages. There was a certain comfort in knowing that the phone book that arrived at your door every year was full of local businesses, ready to serve your needs from your own neighborhood. As the Internet has grown, more and more services are being delivered virtually. This might be fine for certain industries, but some potential clients like to know that they are working with a company that is in their own country or even their own neighborhood. They might use a keyword like “New York moving services” or “New York moving companies.” If you don’t include “geographic keywords” in your SEO strategy, you may be missing out.

On a related note, it can actually be helpful to list a local exchange phone number on your website instead of, or in addition to, a toll-free number. Historically, providing prospects with toll-free numbers was considered good practice, but since the price of long distance calls has come down considerably and the fact that customers prefer to do business locally, using a local phone number, even if it seems contradictory, it can help you. . In fact, up to half of the leads businesses get from the Internet are likely to come from the phone number listed on the website, while the rest, unsurprisingly, come from an email address or phone number. online application form. .

You’ll want to give your web developer or search engine marketing company clear instructions about the geographic regions you’re targeting. It will be more efficient for your website to only be displayed in the regions you are targeting and it will help prevent you from getting a lot of worthless leads. You want the highest quality leads possible, and you don’t want to waste time sifting through unqualified web leads. Knowing which regions you’re targeting will be especially important when setting up a paid web marketing program like Google’s Ad Words.

Less is more

One of the hardest parts of identifying keywords is resisting the temptation to use too many words. You can create a keyword list for each different page of your website, but the most important pages are the home page and the services pages. If you’re a big lead driver on the web, you’ll also want to focus on any web page that receives incoming leads with a “contact form.” You’ll want to focus on five to ten words or phrases for the home page and for each service page. It’s more important to use those three words frequently than to cram a long list of keywords.

This can be a challenge for the writer. In earlier days, the job of a copywriter was quite difficult. They had to write compelling and catchy copy that would set the company apart from its competitors. In today’s world, the writer receives a list of keywords that he must also integrate into the text. A copywriter with SEO skills will understand this and can use phrases like “keyword density”, meaning how many times does he want the keywords to appear in the text? Usually it ranges from 2 to 5%.

Another precaution with copywriting is not to copy and paste text from other websites. The search engines have software that will detect this and if the text does not pass what they call a “copyscape”, the search engines will not publish or “crawl” the text. It has to be original. Again, a good copywriter will know how to write original, SEO-friendly content.

Here are some general guidelines on how to start a keyword identification strategy and will help you develop a search engine optimization strategy. The next step is to integrate those keywords into every aspect of your website and as many external web pages as possible. The next article in the series will look at this in more detail.

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