Time to optimize Featured

1:56pm EDT February 18, 2011
Jim Jay Jim Jay

Studies have shown that 90 percent of all Internet sessions start with or include the use of a search engine. This means that it’s likely nine out of 10 visitors to your company’s website probably typed a few keywords into Google, Yahoo, Bing or another search engine and stumbled upon you.

Directing search engine traffic to your site is not a simple one-step solution. In fact, a good search engine optimization strategy, also known as SEO, requires a variety of tactics and frequent maintenance in order to continue appealing to unique visitors.

Many SEO tactics can be done in-house at little or no expense to your business. All it takes is time and talent and a little bit of know-how. Affordable search engine marketing tactics are a great way to augment your SEO and win the competition for visitors. That can mean the difference between your website being an expense or a sales engine for your business.

Here are some things for you to keep in mind.

Content is king

In order for your website to be ranked by search engines, you need well-written, relevant content that includes the usage of a set of keywords or keyword phrases. These are words that identify your business, products or services and come up when users type them into a search engine. Tools for establishing which keywords are most relevant to your business include Google’s Keyword Tool and Wordtracker’s Keyword Questions. These keywords should be used throughout your website as often as possible.

Each product or service that you offer should have its own page of content. For instance, if you are a retailer, you should create a Web page for each product. Try to avoid copying and pasting the descriptions that come from the manufacturer. Every other retailer selling the product is doing the same thing. Instead, write your own description and be sure to use your keywords and keyword phrases.

Put in the time

When used correctly, meaning updated frequently with relevant and recent posts that include keywords, a blog can push your content to the top of search engine results pages and introduce your company, products and services to those who are seeking them.

It takes time to develop keyword strategies, measure the impact those strategies have on conversions and build authority with Internet users and search engines. Marketers must allot the time and have a measured, purposeful strategy to ensure long-term positive results when it comes to organic search. The ROI is incredible, but it’s not a silver bullet. It takes effort, consistency and resources.

Not all good things are free

The pay-per-click Internet advertising model is an effective search engine marketing tool to help you get noticed. Advertisers bid on keywords or phrases relevant to their target market’s search habits, such as Google Adwords, and pay only when their AdWords are clicked and the user is directed to their company site or landing page. Pay-per-click allows you to influence the user experience, control your message to a specified audience and PPC typically converts at higher rates than SEO efforts alone.

Be cautious

Just because a website has a good ranking doesn’t necessarily mean it will generate a click and deliver engagement or produce a sale. SEO is a tactic that makes your business easier to recognize in a vast marketplace of products, services and ideas — which can give you a decisive advantage over your competitors. It is not, however, a magic spell that ensures the success of your company. You still have to have desirable products or services, reasonable prices, exceptional customer service and the other attributes that are common to successful businesses.

Jim Jay is the president and CEO of TechPoint, a statewide initiative to grow the tech sector and entrepreneurship in Indiana. To learn more about TechPoint, please visit www.techpoint.org and for more information on Indiana’s Measured Marketing Initiative, please visit www.indianameasuredmarketing.com.