Your potential customers use Google. In fact, Americans conducted over 13.1 billion searches in January 2013 alone, according to ComScore. It is very likely that many of those billions of searches were related to your product or service. In other words, if your website isn't being found in Google, you are missing a huge opportunity to generate leads for your business. If you aren't getting these leads, they are probably going to your competitors!
When you conduct a search on Google, there are two kinds of results that appear on the SERP (search engine results page): organic or natural results and the paid or sponsored results. In most cases the paid results, or sponsored links, will appear on the right side of the results page and sometimes on the top.
The sponsored links are often referred to as 'pay per click ads.' The sponsors pay Google a certain cost per click (CPC) anytime their ads are shown to users based on the keywords they search. They pay Google according to how often searchers click on their ads and visit their websites. For example, if you were to purchase the Google AdWord "Des Moines Pediatrician" for $3.00 per click, you would pay Google $3.00 every time someone searches "Des Moines Pediatrician" and clicks on your ad. So with a paid search, you pay Google to send visitors to your website.
The opposite of paid or sponsored results is organic or natural results. With organic results, you are not paying Google to send visitors to your website. These results are based on the quality of your content and how valuable Google determines your pages to be for the end user. If possible, it is best to get your visitors via organic results as opposed to paid results. Not only is it cheaper, but studies have shown that visitors are three times more likely to click on the organic results than the paid advertisements!
The bottom line is that you want to get free traffic to your website instead of paying for it. That is what search engine optimization (SEO) is all about. When a user searches for keywords related to your business, you want to increase the chances that your web pages are appearing as highly as possible in the Google results. The first page of Google shows the top 10 results. You want to be on the first page of Google, end of discussion. Recent studies have shown that the first page of Google captures over 89% of the search traffic, and most users will not even look beyond the first page. If you are not on the first page, chances are you won't get found.
Here are 3 easy SEO tips to help you get your website found:
1. Content, content, content- Your website MUST contain interesting content that accurately represents what the end user is searching for.
2. Optimize your page titles- Identify what the most relevant keywords are for your page, and put those in your page title. Words earlier in the page title carry more weight than later words.
3. Utilize natural link building- Link building is about getting other websites to link back your site. Don't force them; Google's algorithms will detect this. Instead, do it by writing guest posts on interesting blogs and having a high-traffic blog. How do you get a high-traffic blog? See #1!
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be a powerful marketing tool when used as part of an overall inbound marketing strategy. For questions about how SEO can positively impact your business or to find out more about the inbound marketing philosophy, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.