Marketing your services online has become extremely difficult for the average small to medium size business. The rules of Marketing has changed dramatically over the years and it seems as though it will continuously evolve.
In this article, I will share with you my thoughts on this changing landscape, what you should spend your time focusing on and where you should spend your precious dollars.
First let me get a few things out of the way. This article is specifically for people who conduct some form of business online. Either by selling a product or service. This article is primarily for people who have already come to the conclusion that owning a website is significantly better than renting your online voice. If this is you, then read on.
Owning a website has become something easily attainable for the vast majority of people. All you need are a few very low cost items. This is great since it has opened the doors of opportunity to those who previously couldn’t create a successful online business because of cost.
- Domain Name $10 per year
- Hosting starts at around $5 per month
- WordPress Software is free
- Themes range from free to less than $100
- Plugins range from free to less than $100
For less than $100 per year, you could have a flourishing online business or income generating blog. Now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about Search Engine Optimization, Pay Per Click and which is better for you.
Search Engine Optimization aka SEO
SEO is a topic that most people are familiar with. What people get confused about is the difficulty of implementing proper SEO for your website. SEO can be extremely easy and complex at the same time.
SEO Made Easy
Search Engine Optimization is actually very easy. I know there are a lot of people that will state otherwise, but the reality is there is a very basic foundation that has already been outlined by many SEO professionals and people who have learned from trial and error and shared their experience. So here it is, the basics of SEO.
- Have a website with a blog, ideally the website & blog should be powered by WordPress. It is a known fact the Google finds WordPress to be a solid platform to use. Hence why Matt Cutts former key employee at Google uses WordPress for his website.
- Use a well coded theme that uses proper HTML5 Semantic Markup. Don’t worry, there are a bunch of great free and premium WordPress themes to use. No coding needed.
- You need to blog often. This is an important point. Google is in the business of providing search results to people seeking information online. Obviously Google wants to prominently display relevant search results to people. Otherwise another search engine will take away market share and that’s bad for Google’s Business. So knowing what Google wants, you can develop a win win win scenario. Create high quality content on a consistent basis and in time Google will rank your site or articles prominently in the search engine. This is also where most people fall short. They don’t blog often enough.
- Make sure your website and blog posts have proper meta descriptions, titles and have at a minimum 500 words, ideally close to 1,000 words.
- Share your articles via social media, email marketing and word of mouth to generate traffic and get quality links pointing back to your site.
These are the basics and well within the capability of website owners.
Now for the difficult aspects. While what I mentioned above is extremely easy, there are a few things that are more advanced. This part dives deeper into topics such as bounce rate, analytics, page load time and other topics that are generally where pro’s can help but with some research, most people can learn these topics.
- Bounce rate is when a person visits your website and how many pages they visit on your site. This also goes with the topic of;
- Time on Site, which is basically how long a person stays on your site. Google can track how long a person stays on your site and uses that as a metric when determining if your content is valuable to users and if it should be elevated in the search results. If a person hangs around then your content must be good, if they bounce fast, then it must not be worth reading.
- Analytics is one of the best way to gather information about what people are doing on your site. You can then use this information to determine what people enjoy and what they don’t.
- Feed the Beast ties into the basics of SEO but uses the advanced analysis to create engaging content.
- Trending topics research is a way to identify things you should be focusing on. Obviously you should have knowledge of the topic. This tactic can help you gain traffic and improve your time on site and bounce rate since the topic will likely be something your website visitor will be interested in and potentially share with friends.
- Focusing on a niche is a great way to be seen as an expert. By consistently creating content that talks about a specific topic, people will identify you as a knowledgeable person for that topic.
Those are just a few Advanced SEO Topics. There are others but I want to move onto the next item of discussion.
SEO is like a marathon. It takes time to gain traction and get results.
Pay Per Click aka PPC
Pay Per Click advertising has become a great way to get quick results for your business. I am grouping Social Media Advertising along with Google PPC in this section because they are both used to promote your business online.
It is relatively easy to get started with PPC. Just sign up for an account with Google Adwords, Facebook Advertising, Twitter Ads, LinkedIn Ads, YouTube Ads etc. Obviously focus your efforts on the platform that is best for your field.
Each service is different but there are some common features. Facebook and Google provide the best tools to target your audience. This will ensure you don’t waste money by having your Ads clicked with no potential for conversion.
PPC Made Easy
All you really need are a few things.
- Landing Page
- Credit Card
It’s very simple to get started with PPC.
There is a lot of crossover with SEO. Fundamentally you want to have your Ads highly optimized for conversions. Analytics plays a part, market research is important and A/B Testing your Ads are key.
SEO vs PPC Facts
People search online for everything. When they search, they are presented with both Organic Search Results and PPC Ads. Roughly 86% of people prefer organic results over the Ads. People don’t enjoy being advertised too. Some people also use Ad Blockers which make it virtually impossible for your ad to ever be seen.
Your PPC Ads are often clicked by your competitors and if you don’t monitor your campaigns, your budget can quickly be exhausted with no return on your investment.
SEO Campaigns can take a long time before you see results. Most people give up way too fast. PPC Ads on the other hand can be instant. The more you pay the more you will be seen. Just make sure your ads are built for converting.
Where should you focus your efforts?
I advise you to first focus on building a website with quality content and promote it on social media (free). Learn how to create engaging blog posts and how to monitor your Analytics. I recommend Google Analytics.
SEO should be your primary focus and then once you have your website fully optimized with quality content, then you should invest in some advertising. You should seed your site with enough content quickly so you can give it an initial boost with ads.
The mistake most people make is creating a basic website with little content and paying for ads that won’t convert.
Digital Marketing includes both SEO and PPC along with SMM aka Social Media Marketing. Ideally, when you first create your site, you will have a solid plan and enough content to make it a good resource. Choosing your direction can be difficult at first but just remember to focus on the basics of developing a site people will want to revisit and share.
Consistency is key, while others may start off fast, they may run out of gas and give up too soon. Don’t let that be you. Also, don’t think you can pay your way to online dominance. Your budget is likely not large enough to compete with ads alone. SEO plus PPC can work well together as long as you understand what each entails.
Hopefully this article was helpful in giving you an overview of SEO vs PPC. If you enjoyed it, subscribe to PixemWeb and share with your friends.