A few years ago a diverse directional marketing program meant you were in both of the phone books. Today the phone books are still hanging around and there are hundreds of online and mobile directories. Do you go after the big numbers from major search engines or try to carve a niche with smaller ones? My answer is both but my goal here is to educate readers about modern directional marketing.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
When people are searching for your business on search engines your web site’s SEO affects if the search engine will offer your site on the results page so that you can be found. SEO is divided into two categories. On page and off page. On page SEO is a technical set of rules that are followed to make sure the meaning of your content is clear to the search engines. Search engines inspect domains with an automated program called a spider. The spider collects all the data on the site and stores it in database. If your content is not labeled correctly then the search engines will not understand. On page SEO is critical for the success of a website if you want to get found on Google, Yahoo etc.
Off page SEO is much a broader field. One of the primary goals of off page SEO is build back links. This is when other sites give a link to your site. There are good and bad back links. The best back links will be from a website that has similar content to yours across the domain with really similar content on the page that links to your website. The real value of a Google Page Rank 6 (PR) web page back link is about $100 to $150 per month. Buying them is frowned on in the elite SEO community. Real SEO’s build links they do not buy them. (Unless you can buy a domain that already has strong back links.)
How much SEO you need depends on the competition for your keywords. With SEO you can set goals and measure the results. The goal of SEO is to appear in search results on search engines like Google. It is generally held that 33 – 38% of clicks go to the number one organic result with 10 – 14% going to number two. There is number one and there is everyone else. Here is a screen grab of a Google response page for the search term furniture. PPC, Google Local and number one organic positions are labeled.
Much like the magicians of an era past SEO magic is divided into black hat and white hat. I am a white hat SEO and I learned how to optimize web sites from SEO MOZ. They also a great bot (a spider that only goes after the websites you tell it to) named Roger that you can try for free with professional and enterprise packages available.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
SEM is also dived into two major categories. Pay Per Click (PPC) and Pay Per View (PPV). PPV is creative marketing so we will only talk about PPC on this post. Have you noticed the Google places 3 ads at the top and several ads down the side. On placement maps it looks like a 7 but now they have added bottom ads as well. This is fastest way to get on the first page of the Search Engine Response Page (SERP) for your keyword. BE WARNED!! This can be an expensive school of hard knocks. You have to track your results and if you have not mastered that then you are not ready to invest in PPC on your own.
Social Media is an emerging market for PPC and PPV marketing.