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Why is Internet Marketing The Best Place to Spend Your Marketing Dollars?

The basics of search engine marketing, including search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click advertising (PPC), from an expert in B2B search engine marketing.

A friend sat me down recently and asked me to explain what Internet marketing is. In one respect, it's marketing your site by getting exposure, but in another respect, it means using the Internet to help people find the site--what we call search engine marketing. I told her about improving the search results for her site, about how the search engines work, and how page content was probably what needed to be fixed. She was nodding all along, but then she asked "But why spend money on the Web site when what I really need to do is increase my sales?" This was one of those EUREKA! moments. "You need more prospects to get more sales." Suddenly, I realized that she really didn't understand how the Internet works, or that she could literally drive prospects to her site. She simply didn't know that this practical, common sense approach--Internet marketing--is the most productive marketing investment she could make, for the least amount of money, with the fastest return on the investment.

By tapping into the power of search engines with a freshly optimized site, you use the Internet to deliver prospective customers who are actively looking for a solution right to your door, and can do so without ANY incremental cost. You can also advertise on the search engines, paying only for people who actually visit your site. It's an exciting time, because search marketing can often eliminate the cost of advertising. Even a small business can be the #1 result when people search for your solution--and today, 85% of people with Internet access find new products or services by searching the web (even for well-established brands!). Here's another interesting (or scary) fact: if your site isn't on the first page of search results, 63% of people won't find you...they just don't look any further. On the positive side, visits from top rankings are up to 4 times more likely to convert into customers. Making It To The Top So, getting to the top of the search engine results list is important. On the other hand, there are billions and billions web pages. What do you do to get your pages to the top? Here’s a quick overview of the search engine optimization process. The ABCs of SEO There is a four-step process to search engine optimization (SEO), understanding that search engines look at meta tags in the HTML document, page content, internal link structure and external link popularity to determine your ranking in the results.

1. Brainstorm, research and analyze the key words and phrases that will draw profitable traffic to your site. Try to do your research, and use their keyword evaluator tools to select keywords with the highest Keyword Effectiveness Index. These are the terms you can optimize effectively.

2. Optimize your content against these key words and phrases a. Create pages specific to three or four terms b. Include key words/phrases in title tag c. Write meta descriptions around key words/phrases d. Develop or improve headings and text tailored to key words/phrases e. Incorporate links and alt image tags appropriately

3. Register site with directories, submit optimized pages to search engines a. Free directories and search engines b. Pay-for-inclusion on Yahooc. Optional: pay-per-click to quickly increase traffic

4. Monitor the results, tweaking as needed to increase traffic and improve your position in the search results. SEO is a long-term process…commit to a full year of activity. As you add content and continue your keyword research, you can succeed.What To Do In The Meantime

Paid search, or pay-per-click advertising, can be very cost-effective, especially if you target a single geography. Using Google AdWords to gain experience and setting up a free Google Analytics account to see where your traffic comes from and what terms convert well, you can gain a lot of insight into search marketing. This data can help you make good decisions about the “why” of your organic SEO work, at the same time it drives customers to your site. I recommend you set your bids high enough to be in the #1Article Search, 2 or 3 position. These are the positions that get the clicks.

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Specializing in technology-based companies since 1987, and active in Internet marketing since 1992, John Rasco's skills as a marketer, team leader and strategist are key to successful client engagements. Founder and president of RefreshWeb, John has an entrepreneurial gene, a creative bent and a passion for challenging projects. He has been a client-side marketing director, a principal in a graphic design firm, president of an advertising agency, and senior vice president of the Southwest's largest business-to-business agency, responsible for Science and Technology.

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