Marketing Matters: Building Your Website Traffic

Pay-Per-Click Advertising and Search Engine Optimization

- Amanda Cullen

Every small business knows they need a website, but it can be challenging to build website traffic. Even if you have a beautiful web design and easy-to-use layout full of great information for your customers, your job is not yet complete until customers and potential customers visit your website. This article will provide tips for success while exploring the two major ways for building website traffic: pay-per-click advertising and search engine optimization.

Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC)

PPC advertising is one of the most effective ways for a business to advertise. You only pay when someone searching for your keywords clicks on your ad. Keywords are words or phrases that describe your business, products or services. There is a high likelihood that someone will be interested in your products and company when he searches using your keywords.


Benefits of Pay-Per-Click Advertising

Fast results

See your ads within minutes of completion.

Trackable

Google, Microsoft adCenter and Yahoo give specific, useful data on when your ads appear and how often they get clicked.

Effective

With proper love and care, PPC advertising will grow your business results. Within a year, one of my clients went from averaging 5 leads per month from their website to over 50 qualified leads per month.

Customizable

There is complete control of your ad and landing page, allowing companies to guide visitors to relevant information.

Scalable

The budget, ad formats, ad wording and landing pages can be changed at any time.

Drawbacks of Pay-Per-Click Advertising

Stiff competition can require a large budget

If you have low-quality ads or landing pages or very competitive keywords, your budget will have to be quite large to make the first page. However, for most small businesses, a well-managed PPC campaign will cost less than most other advertising

Can backfire if not properly managed

An ad taking a searcher to an irrelevant page will waste your budget and reduce your credibility.

Tips for small businesses already using PPC advertising

  • Create relevant landing pages. When someone clicks on your ad, they are searching for a specific term. If they don’t see that term on your web page within two seconds, they will move on to a different site.
  • With Google AdWords, use the “Search Query” report to discover new keywords that trigger your ad but aren’t in your keyword list yet. Add them for more results.
  • If people searching for an irrelevant keyword often click on your ad, add them to your list as “negative keywords.” This will save your budget unwanted clicks.

About non-pay-per-click Internet advertising.

Many website directories offer non-pay-per-click advertising. They often use persuasive personal selling techniques to get companies to agree to monthly or yearly contracts. I usually recommend to my clients that they create the free listings offered by such websites as yellowpages.com and ignore the sales pitches. The directory listing websites can’t provide the same return on investment as pay-per-click advertising.

Caveat: Advertising on websites for a specific community can be helpful to certain businesses. For instance, a wedding photographer may want to advertise on The Little Wedding Guide or The Knot, places where couples gather and do research.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The process of making your website easy for search engines to find is called Search Engine Optimization. Essentially, you pick one or a few keywords and incorporate them into your website often. If you do it well, search engines will rank you higher in searches for your keywords, but your website will still remain readable for actual human visitors.


Benefits of Search Engine Optimization

Authentic

Often, searchers believe in the authenticity of organic search results more than PPC advertising results.

Cost

Search engine optimization doesn’t require any advertising budget, only time, knowledge and effort.

Incremental benefit

A little SEO will help your website traffic a little. Put significant efforts into your SEO, and it will increase your website traffic tremendously.

Drawbacks of Search Engine Optimization

No short term results

Search engines, such as Google, may take up to six months to show the results of your SEO work in searches.

Hidden costs

SEO can require a lot of time and effort, resulting in hidden opportunity costs.

Requires constant attention

You can’t just optimize your website once, then forget about it. Good SEO requires periodic research and frequent updates to your website.

Tips on Search Engine Optimization for Small Businesses

  • Choose to optimize for keywords that will have less competition but still be relevant to your customers. Instead of “financial planner,” optimize for “financial planning in Alaska.”
  • Relevant anchor text is incredibly important to search engine rankings, but most business people don’t know what it is. Anchor text is the word or phrase that constitutes a link. Always make your anchor text relevant to the page you link to and ask others who link to your site to do the same.
    • Bad anchor text: Click here! (Search engines can’t determine what this links to)
  • Blogging is great for search engine optimization if it’s done well. The first rule of any blog is to update it frequently—twice a week is a good goal. Blog entries don’t have to be long, just relevant to your chosen keywords and your customers’ interests.

Google’s Free Tools

Most businesses don’t realize that Google provides a variety of free tools to improve your website traffic. Following are some of the most useful free Google tools:

Google Analytics

Install Google Analytics on your website to track all sorts of nifty data, like how many visitors came from Anchorage, AK last month or the average time a visitor spends on your products page during your Tuesday Special Sales. Analyzing this data tells you how successful (or not…) your web initiatives are.

Google Local

Gain an edge in Google Search Results by signing up for a free Google Local listing. Your business address, logo, phone number and website address will appear on Google’s maps when users search for your products or services

Google Webmaster Tools

Get Google’s advice on how to improve your site for search with Google Webmaster Tools. See what other sites link to yours, upload your sitemap for Google to use, see what search queries lead visitors to your site and more.

Google’s Feedburner for your blog

Manage your blog’s RSS feed with Feedburner. Features include the ability to specify a delivery time, see how many email subscribers you have and customize the look and feel of your feed. Feedburner works with your existing RSS feed.

For help putting these Internet advertising and search engine optimization strategies into place for your small business, contact me at amanda@zooinajungle.com or 513.833.4203. 

 

 
   
Zoo in a Jungle Marketing is a marketing strategy, planning and design company operated by Amanda Cullen. She has years of marketing strategy, planning and design experience, as seen in her portfolio.
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