A good website should have well-written, readable, easy-to-navigate pages that aren’t ‘ over loaded’ with keywords to attract ‘searches’ but written with the reader in mind. When selling the benefits need to be explained and your USP’s (unique selling points) for your product or service and most importantly explain what you would like your customer/visitor to do next. Back to Search Engine Marketing – you’ve identified the customers you want to target, you’ve got a ‘search engine friendly’ website and your ‘content’ is written for your visitor – how do you increase new and return ‘traffic’ to your website?

There are two distinct ways of doing this:

1. ‘Organic’ search whereby potential customers find your website in the Search Engine Results Pages without you having to spend a cent on advertising. Organic or ‘natural’ search results are listings on search engine results pages that appear because of their relevance and ‘match’ to the search terms used. It is accepted that users click (organic) search results more often than adverts (72%) but it is also accepted that most people rarely venture further than the first page of search results making it imperative that your business is as far up the ‘rankings’ as possible and preferably in the first 10 spots

2. Using Google adwords. The simplest method to understand, but not necessarily the simplest to implement is the advertising or PPC (Pay per Click) approach. With Pay-Per-Click advertising – you only pay when a potential customer clicks on your advert. The price that you pay per ‘click’ is based on the popularity of the key words that you select and ‘purchase’. Although it is possible to manage your own PPC campaigns it is often more cost-effective to use an Internet Marketing Company that specialises in ‘paid search’ advertising to manage your campaigns and undertake to follow a ‘test and learn’ approach or ongoing split testing.

Leading search engines, such as Google and Yahoo!, use web crawlers (also known as ‘bots’ or ‘spiders’) to find pages based on search results. Assuming you have applied ‘search engine essential’ to make your site ‘search engine friendly’ and that you have a critical mass of back links (Linking Strategy)from other relevant websites then you need to concentrate on content marketing. Content can be text, images or video but it needs to be relevant and engaging and it needs to be regularly updated. Don’t stress – you probably have a lot of this content already ‘in-house’ and it just needs to be re-written and edited for the web. Content can consist of existing sales brochures, press releases and short articles by in-house experts, video, whitepapers or presentations used at conferences or trade-shows.

The importance of good content mustn’t be underestimated as apart from the fact that good relevant content will bring ‘searchers’ to you it is that same content that will engage the visitor when they arrive at your site and one of the best strategies is to have ‘landing pages’ created by SEO experts so that a prospective customer will land on the page providing the information being looked for at the exact time they are looking when clicking on a PPC ad or using the relevant key words contained there in.. One great way of succinctly answering all of those questions is with an online video, the additional benefit being that search engines are turning more and more to something called ‘blended search’ which includes video, local, news and book content in the top 10 search engine results pages and you can also use the video on social media sites like YouTube that brings additional exposure and more traffic.

If you don’t provide the information that a potential customer is looking for and a clearly communicated ‘next step’ they are very quickly going to click the ‘back’ button and find what they are looking for elsewhere. You need to get people to your website and then you need to tell them very quickly exactly ‘what’s in for them’, you need to keep their interest, sell the benefits of why they should do business with you and then make it as easy as possible for them to contact you.

 Search Engine Marketing is a key part of business success but as with all marketing you need to keep reviewing and improving to stay ahead of the competition and the best strategy is to use an ‘expert’ who will work with you like www.wsioms.co.za who can provide an on-line competitor analysis to constantly monitor what your competitors are doing on-line.

About the author: Jamie MacLeod has over 25 years experienc in direct and digital marketing strategy and implemetation and and can contacted for comment via email jamie@wsioms.co.a