Does Your Website Need Search Engine Placement? by Dave Davies, Marketing Manager, StepForth Search Engine Placement Inc.
Introduction For many, value of their websites can be measured in visitors, for others it is amount of revenue that site generates. Regardless of how you measure success of your website, you are going to have to bring visitors to it that are looking for information, content and/or products that you are providing. So how do you do this?
For many businesses yellow pages is a first choice for promotions and marketing. Generally this is due in large part to fact that most of us grew up with yellow pages being where we looked when we needed to find a business and so it is what we think of first. A standard yellow page ad runs for about $1,200+/year for a smaller ad and serves only a local market. You further have to consider cost of ad development, which can often run into thousands of dollars as well.
While this may be an entirely profitable form of advertising for many businesses which serve only local areas, it is certainly not only one.
On Internet there are many forms of advertising that have and are being used to bring traffic to websites. From banner ads and sp@m email to PPC and natural search engines there are countless methods for promoting your website online. So how do you choose which marketing tactic to utilize?
One thing to consider is that over 80% of all Internet traffic comes from search engines with Google currently responsible for vast majority of that. With such an overwhelming amount of traffic coming from a single identifiable source, it makes sense to put a lot of weight on it; considering what this source can mean for your website, and for your business.
In this article we will explore difference between sites that should consider search engine placement as a viable choice in their marketing strategy, and those that would benefit little from top placements. As well we will look at ways to insure that you are maximizing effect and potential return on investment of your search engine placement campaign, should you choose to go that route.
Who Should Consider Search Engine Placement An ethical search engine placement firm will tell a client honestly if search engine optimization will benefit their website. Of course, not every company is ethical and further, how do you know until you have undergone search engine optimization, whether it will benefit your website? By this point you have paid firm and they have done their job whether it helped you or not.
There are a few things you should consider before you apply search engine placement tactics to your website, or consider hiring a search engine placement firm.
Questions You Should Ask Yourself: What do I stand to gain from higher search engine traffic? Conducting a search engine optimization has a built-in cost of time and resources should you choose to do it yourself, or through direct cost of money should you hire a search engine placement firm. You have to insure that what you hope to accomplish will be at least equal to and preferably greater than cost of time and money it will take to do successfully. For more information on this you will want to read section below “So You’re Going To Market Your Website On The Search Engines … Now What?” for tips on establishing whether there is truly enough traffic to be had to make your efforts worthwhile.
Can I compete? The short answer to this question is generally always “yes”, however, there are many factors to consider. While any site, with enough work can rank well, you do have to consider whether effort will be worth it. For example, if you own a small computer store in Michigan that repairs computers and troubleshoots software issues, it is theoretically possible for you to rank your website well for term “Microsoft Windows”. To do so would require an ENORMOUS amount of both time and money. And so you have to consider, is it really worth investing years of time and money into this one ranking? The answer is “probably not” but that doesn’t mean that search engine placement would not be beneficial for you just that those keywords are not worth targeting. There are suggestions for choosing right keywords below.
Do I make money from my website traffic? This question isn’t end-all-be-all, however, it’s certainly relevant if you’re considering hiring a search engine placement firm to optimize your site. If you plan on “going it alone” you may want to put in effort for no money in return simply for “fun” of it, however if you’re planning on spending your hard earned money on a search engine placement firm you have to make sure that it is in your financial best interest to do so. This may be from either direct product/services sales or from sale of advertising on your site.
If, after answering these questions to yourself you have determined that search engine placement is indeed a good choice for your marketing strategy, you will now have task of determining exactly what tactics will produce greatest Return On Investment (ROI) for your efforts.
So You Are Going To Market Your Website On The Search Engines … Now What? Now that you have determined that search engine placement is indeed an avenue of marketing that can produce beneficial results for your site and for your business, you have to decide on a “plan of attack”. Many SEO firms will “help” you determine keywords to target, and some will even build links for you from “valuable” sites. In many case they may be entirely truthful but how do you know?
The choosing of keywords to target is probably most crucial step of entire search engine optimization process. This will determine success and/or failure of your promotions. It is important to keep in mind that top placements are not worthwhile if they produce zero results; either because you targeted placements with little traffic or irrelevant traffic. So how do you determine for yourself which keywords to target?