Search Engine Marketing.. what does this mean ?

Well the word marketing has two meanings, one to buy, one to sell.. one goes to market or one markets one's wares.

In the world of search engines its how to use the engines, to bring the buyer to your market, even if your not selling anything but information, to do this well takes a plan, just like you take a list to the grocery store in order to shop.

This is a lot like SEO, which is the act of optimizing a site for the engines. but SEO concerns itself mainly with how the site itself is laid out and organized. Marketing is the action of " selling" the site to the world at large.

The primary difference between online and off-line, is off-line you must seek the customer, online they are looking for you! The engines are how they find you, there are a variety of ways to help them find you.

Taking a page out of the SEO book for a moment while the site is still being created, you need to consider.

The " Copy " or text of the site:

The site itself must be able to " sell " the goods, even if the "goods ", is information. Is the site well written ? Do all the pages contain keywords that a viewer is likely to use to find you ? Have you done the keyword research to see what are the most used words for your topic ? Is it written in simple enough language, to where the average viewer will understand it ? Are the pages well titled ? Today's surfer is sophisticated , but pressed for time, so the best sites are the ones that they can get what they want easily, which brings us to ...

Website Usability:

Usability has several meanings. Is the site " user " friendly ? Is there enough in common with others of the same type to where its familiar ? Is the font readable in all screen resolutions ? Is the navigation easy to use ? Does it follow a logical predictable pattern ? Can it be converted into other languages ? Is there a means to convert it ? Can persons with disabilities use the site ? How well does it take into account your target viewer ?

For every site the answers and solutions to these questions will be somewhat different, but over all they are issues that you must take into account if you wish to " market" your site. Good sites are planned and organized.

Niche Web sites:

As a client of mine said to me recently " how can I sell X when there are millions selling it already" ? Answer ? Never mind the millions, that first 5 pages of search results are your competitors, forget the rest of them. Two, choose a niche within that larger topic that you can focus on that the " big boys" are ignoring. Larger is not necessarily better and too wide of offerings and you lose focus. Pick a focus and stay with it. It allows the engines to list you as an " authority " site on that subject.

Site Submission

You have to be ON the engines in order to be found by anyone, how to do that ?

You can do it all by hand ( which I highly recommend ) for free to most engines. There are many sites full of links to site submissions pages for search engines. Time frames from date of submission, to when you are listed vary.

You can pay for rapid submission which may get you there sooner, but I don't recommend it in most cases. As it will not help you much with relevancy or ranking contary to popluar opinion.

Pay per click ads, where you have purchased ad space, may or may not be useful, as peoples eyes tend to drift right over the top of such results when using the engines, to get to the " organic " results. Lets face it, people are tired of advertisements and will generally ignore anything that even remotely looks like an ad.

The engines themselves are much to blame for the failure, as all too often the site in the sponsored space is not the most relevant site. People have learned that through personal experience, so buying ad space may not be in your best interest.

Now does this mean just hit any and all engines ? No. You have to reach " your " viewer, which means targeting them by placing your site in the engines and directories that your chosen viewer may frequent. This requires thought and planning as you have to do your homework as to what engines and directories will best serve your needs.

How to find them ? Simple, plug the words "search engine" or "directory", along with your site topic, into any large meta engine (that searches many engines at once ) and follow the leads it gives you. This is a repeated event, as new engines and directories are born everyday. Your only other decision to make is are you going to do it yourself, use automated software, or hire someone to do it for you. As this can be a time consuming process.

Link Building:

Nearly all the engines have a link popularity formula that is part of their ranking system. Therefore, back links pointing to the site are important to have. However, you don't want just any links, only relevant links to your topic. Marketing again, target your viewer and only your viewer who will be interested in what you have. Link exchange that does not bring you targeted traffic is useless.

You can, seek these out yourself via direct requests to site holders with a link exchange request letter.
You can join a link exchange program and swap links with other members
You can invest in automated software that will seek out link partners.
You can become an affiliate of related companies
You can even buy links

How you do this depends a great deal on your time and funding allowances. However you do it , the number of
back links must grow as the site ages. This is an ongoing process.

How to find places you might want to exchange with ? Same as before, go to a meta engine and plug in your main site topic or keywords for your topic and watch the returns. These will be, in order of relevance, the most popular sites related to your topic. Check them out to see if a link with them would be reasonable or possible and check to see who "they" link to and who those sites link to etc. etc.. Analyze your competition and see what they have done, nothing works like success.

As you can see, this is the same behavior over and over, using the engines themselves to find the information you need for what engines and directories to submit the site to. And what sites to try and get linked up with in order to bring to your web door the viewer who most wants to see/buy what you have.

More soon
Esta Weiss

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