When brick-and-mortar business owners think of marketing, they usually have in mind something along the lines of local newspaper ads, flyers, special offers and maybe even an ad on TV. And of course, everyone knows that in this day and age you need a website as well.
But simply having a website isn’t enough to market your business. Instead, you need to understand that your website is actually the main component of your marketing plan – through a process known as SEO marketing.
What is SEO marketing? Well, let’s start with the first part: SEO. It stands for Search Engine Optimization. Implementing SEO on your website (and social media profiles) lets search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing know how to categorize your website, and where to place it in search engine rankings. In other words, SEO determines whether or not someone searching for your business, product or service can find your website using a search engine.
There are many areas of your website that can be search engine optimized – everything from your browser bar title to your meta-tags to photographs, blog posts and even your contact page. But when it comes to SEO marketing, there is another whole set of parameters to use, and many more techniques that can mean the difference between being on the first page of results and getting stuck at the very bottom of the heap.
SEO marketing can be used to improve the overall ranking of your website, but it’s also a good way to take advantage of one-time, newsworthy or viral opportunities to get new visitors – and turn those visitors into customers.
For example, say you owned a pizza shop that delivers. You’ll definitely want to optimize your website so that if people are looking for pizza delivery in your town, you’ll be among the first to come up in the results. But what about specific days or events that people choose to eat pizza? From major sports events to the day before Thanksgiving, there are plenty of times when people may be searching for something other than pizza specifically – but which you can capitalize on.
The same could go for a clothing shop, to use another example. Awards season is a time when women go online to look at all the fashions from the red carpet. If you used SEO marketing geared toward those keywords, what results would you get? What about back-to-school shopping topics? How about holidays?
Be aware of upcoming events that may not pertain directly to your business, and try to see if there is any way to tie it into the products or services you sell. Create a calendar that is part of your marketing plan, which you can add to as ideas come to you.
However, it is vital that you use the correct keywords when implementing SEO marketing strategies. If you’re not including the keywords people are using to search for the topics, then they’re never going to find you are your efforts are for naught.
This is where Google’s suite of analysis tools come in handy. They keep track of search topic trends, and provide all kinds of intelligence on them – from keyword combinations to geographic data and much, much more.
The SEO marketing technique has two benefits: first, it gets people to your website. Second, it keeps your website updated – which is a key factor in search engine algorithms that are used to rank your website.