We generally focus in three areas:
* making your site an effective marketing instrument
* managing your pay-per-click campaign
* managing your campaign to obtain free search engine traffic
Often a Web marketing effort begins with a pay-per-click campaign. Although it imposes some cost, since you pay for the traffic it brings, it starts right away. If you’d like to get more visitors to your site and see business results right away, this can be useful. We can use pay-per-click to begin delivering traffic to your site immediately; we back the pay-per-click campaign with keyword research using leading industry tools so that the target words and phrases that we select are in use by searchers across the Internet.
Pay-per-click ads appear on the right side of Google search results. The companies placing those ads bid for bastion for certain search terms that are related to their business. For example, if you sell dancing shoes you might bid for traffic for the search term ballet slippers. Based on your bid and other factors, your ad will appear in the list of ads on the right side of the search page when a searcher enters ballet slippers. If a searcher clicks on your ad to visit your site, then you pay the fee that you bid.
It’s best to start small with pay-per-click, so that we have a chance to learn which search terms bring the highest-quality traffic. Your site produces a log of every action taken by visitors, and that log can be analyzed. We can tell how long visitors who used a certain search term stay on the site, and how many pages they read. These are the measures of traffic quality. It’s useful to put more money behind the search terms that bring visitors who stay on the site and view a lot of pages when they come. If there’s some specific action such as a purchase or sending an email that’s a desired outcome, it’s also possible to determine which keywords bring the users who take those actions.
A typical monthly spend for a starting pay-per-click is about $150, which causes enough traffic that some reasonable measurements can be made. Then, as results are seen, the spend can be increased. The cost per click depends primarily on competitive factors in your particular marketplace, so details and costs can vary widely.
Free Search Engine Traffic
Free search engine traffic takes longer to get than pay-per-click but the quest is worthwhile, because this free traffic just keeps coming. Typically, after a period that can last six months to a year or more, our clients appear on page one of Google for one or more query terms or phrases that are important to their businesses. That’s not a guarantee, but it is what we usually deliver.
Visitors who are directed for free from search engines are very desirable, of course. However, the search engines take their time finding the site and giving good position in their results. It usually takes time to deliver solid free search engine results–months, in fact. It is widely believed today that Google deliberately delays providing good position in search engine results to new sites to give time to detect sites that are using techniques that they don’t approve. This so-called “Google sandbox” treatment can last six months for a new site.
The search engines don’t tell us how they work, so the effort to obtain free search engine results is based on experience, both personally obtained (I’ve been doing this for seven years) and experience that has been shared by others, and occasional releases from Google. It’s generally impossible to associate a change in search engine results with a specific change in the site, because these changes take so long to show up in search engines.
You will find that some Web marketers will guarantee certain search engine positions for free search. There is no way to reliably deliver on such a promise, so don’t believe it. You are likely to be approached with offers to improve your search engine position. Be careful, since there are many shady operators. It is possible to attempt to trick the search engines through a variety of techniques that are called “black hat”. These techniques may work in the short term but are likely to get your site severely penalized in the longer term.
As an advertising medium, the Web is different from print media and print media is different from television and so on. It’s important to understand the Web visitor’s state of mind when using a Web site, and design the site and provide content to deal with those issues. How do we transform a visitor into a customer, taking the actions that we want? Experience teaches how to do this.
An example of a technique that’s important in Web marketing is a newsletter. If you become a client you’ll notice that I remind you every now and then of the importance of a newsletter. It’s a way for a visitor to say “I’m interested but not quite sold. Talk to me.” The good news, of course, is that you don’t pay postage for this newsletter and you don’t pay to print it! It appears in the prospect’s inbox, so it takes very little effort for the prospect to read it.