30 Aug

Web Marketing: Best Practice

Where and how should you spend money on Internet advertising? People rightly understand that traditional display advertising, such as phone books, magazines and newspapers are offering less and less value.

The paper telephone directories, which had been the cornerstone of many small businesses marketing efforts, have completely lost their teeth.

In this context, small business people are exploring what Google Adwords, Facebook ads and SEO companies have to offer.

Brushed off the First Page

The web used to be a far more democratic place: if I wrote good code, focused on and reused carefully selected keywords, a small B&B’s website could come up beside a major chain hotel in the search engine result pages (SERPs).

Those days are long gone. Google changed footing to favour larger websites with deeper content and vast numbers of incoming links. This brushed small sites out of the results pages. Then Google introduced Adwords for people who then couldn’t get near the first page. So much for “do no evil”.

So What Next?

So we are no longer on a level playing field, and to mix metaphors, what is the game now?

What follows is a discussion of the most widespread means of web marketing… as it is today – it is a moving target and will change probably in less than 12 months.

This isn’t a shopping list. Don’t cherry pick from it: do it all.

  1. Inbound, unreciprocated links.
    The objective here is to create “link popularity” for your site. You need up to 150 links or more than your nearest competitor to head toward that number one spot in the SERPs. There are other articles on this blog that discuss how you can find out who is presently linking to you so you can determine the size of the task ahead. You can do some of this work yourself at no cost. Start with directory sites. More about web site links on this article >>
  2. Google Adwords campaign.
    Google Adwords is all over the web. You don’t have to go far to see them. You use Google Adwords to place an ad with your web address close to search results related to your chosen keywords.
    Obviously, if you are already in the free results, you needn’t pay for an ad. But if you are out on page 3, 4 or 5 of the SERPs or worse, you may consider Adwords.
    Adwords, however, do not come cheaply. Allow up to $500-$1000 per month. The final cost is determined by the amount of competition for the keyword phrase(s) you are chasing. You have to bid for these in an auction environment. The good news is you can cap your monthly budget. Once your spend is exhausted, your ad is removed from rotation.
  3. Social Networking. Activity on Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook (in that order) is fast becoming the next big trend in web marketing. Books and blog articles are emerging explaining how these media can be harnessed for marketing and sales purposes… even though that may run contrary to the use policies of the sites. The objective is to create an audience interested in your product i.e. be “followed” on Twitter, have “friends” on Facebook, build a network on Linkedin. There is time involved in social networking, but no dollars. Be careful. You need to read the terms of use policies to avoid having your account closed for misuse. More about social networking on this site >>
  4. Newsletter. Like Google Adwords, there are newsletter subscription boxes on every second web site. The ones that work offer a real incentive to hand over your email address, say a PDF download of an ebook, or exclusive information only available via the newsletter. Only do this if you have something NEW you want to tell or offer people weekly or monthly. Just telling who you are and what you do won’t lead to many more sales.
  5. Blogging.  Blogging (or writing articles) has also become widespread on the web – the so-called “self-publishing” phenomena. If you write well, this may be a web marketing option for you. Blogging demonstrates the breadth of your knowledge and builds credibility with your readers. From a search engine perspective, it shows you are investing in content – weeding and watering your digital garden so to speak.
    Search engines love to see new or changed keyword rich content. If your site has more information on it that a competitor site, search engines will reward you with higher rankings.
    Blogging is time expensive, but no cash is required. It is possible to employ writers, but this becomes costly. You can download articles from free article libraries, but these are sometimes poorly written and not always precisely on topic.

Content is King

Having said all the above, it must be stressed, there is no substitute for compelling content and content that is updated and refreshed. Content is king. What is the point of link popularity, if when people arrive at your site it isn’t saying much and offers little value to the visitor. Ditto Google ads.

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