Marketing plan 17: What is Search Engine Optimization?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is something we hear about often when researching Internet marketing. For someone new to Internet marketing, SEO may seem like just another acronym in a sea of acronyms. So, let us begin with the basics.
Marketing plan 17.1: Search Engine Optimization Defined
Anytime you enter a search in Google, Yahoo, Bing or any other search engine, the search engine must determine which websites will appear in the results page. The way search engines do this is with a complicated mathematical formula that compares all the pages on the Internet against each other.
The comparison of web pages is done to determine which web pages are the most relevant for the search term you entered in. The factors that are considered in the formula include:
-The words in the URL
-The words used in the text
-The tags placed in the coding of the site
-The links from other sites that go to your sites
Search engine optimization is a series of tools and practices that enhance your site’s score in the formula so your website appears in the search results.
Marketing plan 17.2: Why SEO is Important
Search engines divide the search results on a webpage to include sponsored listings (pay-per-click ads) and natural listings. Most consumers know the difference between the sponsored listings and the natural listings.
Consumers generally equate a website’s position in search results with the quality of the company. Though there is no real correlation between the two, the perception is an important one to be aware of.
SEO is also unlike pay-per-click because you do not have to pay every time someone clicks on your listing in the search results. Though you may hire someone to do your SEO campaign, their fee is the only cost associated with getting traffic through search engine optimization.
Marketing plan 17.3: Pitfalls of SEO
It is important to know that SEO takes time to reap results. Unlike Pay-Per-Click ads that can bring traffic to your site in minutes, SEO generally takes several weeks to many months to bring traffic to your website.
Many website owners view SEO as an essential long-term marketing initiative rather than an immediate, instant traffic initiative like PPC or taking out ads on other websites.
If your goal is long-term success online your Internet marketing plan should include search engine optimization for your most important search terms.
You have probably read about search engine marketing, search engine results, search engine advertising, etc. Understanding how search results work is the first step towards making the right Internet marketing decisions for your business.
Marketing plan 18.1: Pay-Per-Click Advertising
The three major search engines (Google, Yahoo and Bing) all include sponsored or paid results along with natural search results when someone does a search through their search engine. Typically the sponsored results appear at the top and to the side of the natural results (and are designated as “Sponsored” or “Paid” ads).
Most consumers understand at this point that the reason those websites are appearing on the results page is that they paid to appear there. Generally speaking, consumers review those ads but first look in the natural or organic listings to see if any websites fit their needs.
Marketing plan 18.2: Local Listings
The three major search engines have recently began to ad local listings in the search results. The search engines are able to determine where someone is searching from (based on their IP address) and will display local results just above the organic listings. Consumers are looking at these results and are clicking on the sites that appear.
You want to try to get your business listed in the local results for your keywords.
Marketing plan 18.3: Search Engine Optimization
The organic listings on the search results pages are those that appear in the very center of the page. These are the web pages that the search engine determined are the most relevant for the search entered. This is based on how the website scored against other websites in a complicated mathematical formula.
Appearing in the organic searches is important because consumers equate ranking in the organic listings with quality. Though there is no correlation between the quality of a company and their search engine ranking the perception is an important one to note for Internet marketing purposes.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a system of tools and practices that enhance your website’s score in these formulas. You should consider engaging in a SEO campaign as part of your overall Internet marketing strategy in order to maximize your position in the organic listings.
A comprehensive online marketing strategy will include trying to get your website in the organic listings, local listings and even the paid listings. The more opportunities you give potential customers to find your site the more traffic you will receive.
Internet marketing is about gaining the confidence and trust of a consumer so they will buy your products or services. One way you can do this is with putting customer testimonials on your website. If presented properly, these testimonials can turn website visitors into customers by gaining their trust and loyalty.
Marketing 19.1: Make it Personal
Testimonials are an excellent way to gain consumer confidence. Many websites have customer testimonials on them. Rather than just give a quote and a name, you should make it more personal. Having a picture of the person giving the testimonial makes it more personal and therefore more powerful.
Request a photo of the person offering the testimonial and confirm with them that you have their permission to use it on your website. This will make your customer testimonials more powerful.
Marketing plan 19.2: Ratchet Up the Impact with Video
If a picture is worth a thousand words a video must be worth a million. It is extremely easy to add video to websites. Consider having video testimonials from your happy customers. The personalization of the testimonial will give it great impact.
A simple, short, honest video testimonial can have a dramatic impact on your potential customers. Have an entire page of video testimonials and you can see your conversion rate soar.
Marketing plan 19.3: Make it Natural
Do not script or write testimonials for your clients. Consumer will read right through that. You want the testimonial to be natural and unforced. This will give it much more credibility and that is the primary purpose you are adding testimonials to your site – credibility.
If you have customers that are interested in giving testimonials but they are not sure what to say you can give them some talking points for ideas, but do not script it, especially if they are doing a video testimonial.
The bottom line is that customer testimonials are a powerful Internet marketing tool that can help you gain consumer confidence and credibility. The more personal the testimonials are the easier it will be for potential clients to identify with the person giving the testimonial. If someone identifies with the person giving the testimonial it will have greater impact.
You should definitely include obtaining and posting customer testimonials as part of your overall Internet marketing plan. The more testimonials you have and the more personal they are the more impactful they will be.