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Search Marketing 101

Learn the basics of an essential internet marketing strategy.
March 29, 2007

How do you look for information? You search the internet, right? If so, you're not alone. According to Marketing Sherpa, almost 134 million people in the U.S. regularly use search engines when looking for information online. Of that number, 63 percent look only at the first page of results--at most.

And if you want your site to be there, you need to put a family of strategies called search marketing--a catch-all term for search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising--to work for your business.

Search Engine Optimization
SEO encompasses the strategies for earning top rankings in free search engines. These are called "organic" or "natural" listings. You can actually direct the way your site's listed--and improve your ranking--by giving the search engines what they're looking for.

The goal is to optimize your site so search engines will consider it relevant. Then, they'll place your site in the top results when people are searching for your product or service. Here are some key SEO strategies:

SEO should be at the core of your overall internet marketing strategy. It's one of the most inexpensive and effective approaches available. In fact, much of what you can do to optimize your site for the organic search engines is totally free.

However, it can be slow. When starting out, you'll probably have to wait before you show up in search results. So here's something that'll get you targeted traffic faster.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising
Do a search on Google or Yahoo!, and you'll notice a different type of listings set around the organic results. These "sponsored results" are pay-per-click ads that appear when people search using the keywords in the ads. PPC has some tremendous advantages for online businesses:

With a combination of PPC and SEO you can make sure your target market will find you. No other set of strategies offers you so much scope as search marketing. You can dramatically improve your search engine rankings and direct quality, targeted traffic to your website--often without spending a single dime.

A lot of the techniques here are basic, but some techniques come and go. What worked last year may fizzle this year. And discovering a great new search marketing trick could put you far ahead of the competition.

So have the basics covered, but also try new techniques and strategies. With ongoing search marketing, you'll be where your market can find you--front and center in the search results.