Search Engine Optimization (SEO) 1: sponsored listings

Everyone seems to be very interested in having their web site get more traffic these days as many people are cutting back on their traditional advertising budgets and spending more money online. I wanted to write this series of articles for a number of months now as we get many people asking us about getting extra exposure online and how to best spend their money on something that will offer them the best return on their investment.

So here goes, a starter guide to different methods of Search Engine exposure… we will many different methods and also go beyond the google’s and yahoo’s, in our next few articles.

1.) Google is the number one search engine that everyone uses on a daily basis. If you are on a limited budget consider spending all of your money on getting the best exposure possible on Google as that will definitely bring you the best return on your investment.

Before starting any sort of search engine optimization service please make sure to review your web site. I would suggest having some of your friends look at your site as well. What you want to do is look at your current site’s content, the message you are trying to promote, check your spelling, make sure all images are optimized and all links work. Ask your friends to look through your site and offer any suggestions that they might have. Make sure your message is clear and the action you want your visitors to take is easily accessible (shopping cart, quote request form, phone number etc.). Also make sure your information is up-to-date or that you’ve recently made updates to your site as search engines really favour current data and frequently updates sites.

The quickest way to get onto search engines is via the “pay-per-click” or “sponsored links” areas on all major search engines. These are usually the top most results (usually highlighted in a special “sponsored ad” section) or along the right-hand side of the regular search results. I would suggest starting a pay-per-click campaign in a similar fashion as you would do a mail-out advertising campaign. First establish the type of audience you wish to target, by this I mean 1) pinpoint your specific targeted keywords 2) figure out your location of where you wish to have your sponsored ads show up 3) put together a short, yet captivating word ad with your specific message. Here are the three points explained in more details: 1) For your specific keywords, best to include a range of words and not just one simple word – example: don’t include just “web design” if you are looking at advertising a web site design company located in Ontario… use “web site design, ontario” as your keyword range instead. This will offer you better results instead of wasting your daily budget on keywords that will bring you too many “unwanted” visitors. 2) figure out your location, just like you would setup a specific target area to send out a flyer in the mail, Google allows you to be quite specific in narrowing your target area (country or countries, states and provinces, plus towns and cities) – this way your Ontario based web design business is only targeting people searching in Ontario, Canada. 3) figure out your marketing message, if you are targeting people that are looking for affordable web services, maybe word your ad’s headline like “affordable web design” – remember that you only have a very limited number of characters in which to get your message across to people that your ad will be displayed to. If you are not sure of good examples for your ad’s message, why not just google your specific target keywords and see what other people are using in their ad wording.

Just like in a mail-out marketing campaign, it is important to also establish your advertising budget. With pay-per-click advertising your money can easily be spent if you are not careful in monitoring your specific campaign. Keep track of what your maximum daily spending is and also how many estimated clicks your keywords and target area will generate. I recommend in running at least 2 different campaigns at one time – this allows you to see if certain keywords and ad messages work better and then make the necessary adjustments in helping you get the best results from your ads.

There are many different ways to get your site noticed, I just wanted to cover the sponsored ads as a first step for people that want to have quick results without having to spend the time in waiting for the search engines to list and rank their specific web site. Next article will cover more details about “free” search engine tricks on getting your site noticed.

If you have any questions, or would like to talk to one of our web designers about starting a sponsored listings campaign, please feel free to contact us at anytime. We offer free consulting and have the experience in working with many different types of companies in order to get the best results.

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