Search Engine Marketing and Its Values

The U.K. search engine marketing statistics state that the predicted growth in search engine marketing spends this year shall rise by 58% this year to £2.22bn as compared with the figures in 2006. Similarly the U.S. search market is also estimated to rise steadily in all SEM services in a couple of years from now. The paid search is estimated to rise to 33.0 ($ Billions) in the year 2010, whereas, search marketing shall rise to 11.1 as given in a consolidated report compiled by econsultancy.

Considering the fact that the concept of search engine marketing in India is comparatively newer than to the UK and US the growth percentage in search engine marketing spends here is believed to be much higher. More and more Indian businesses are now realizing the potential of SEM and are gradually diverting to that front. But before they actually plunge into the market there are a few understandings that thee businesses must have about search engine marketing. Listed below are a few points that will make the concept of marketing your business through search engines easier.

Most of the internet users use the search engines to look for information or products. When they search for a particular info, product or service on the search engines that type in the required keywords. It is then that the most relevant of your website pages appears in the search results. Note, that the search engines do not rank the whole website, but only a few page of the website which they find relevant. The higher your webpage ranks in the SERP (search engine result pages) the greater are the chances of people clicking on your website and going through your webpage.

The two major services of search engine marketing are search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search. Search engine optimization is optimizing each page of the website with the aim of making them appear in the SERPs. This is also known as “on” page optimization. There are a few “off” optimizations too that are part of SEO services. They too help in the ranking of the web pages.

On the other hand is the paid search which is an alternative to reach the top position of SERPs without much effort. Businesses need to bid for keywords in order to book the top position for themselves. Once they reach the top, every time a user clicks on their link they need to pay the bid amount to the Search engines. There are many business owners who make use of both the search engine marketing services and enjoy its benefits.

The most essential aspect of search engine marketing is keywords, which stand as an integral requirement for both the services, it is therefore suggested that the keywords be selected with utmost care and research in order to reach out to the targeted audience efficiently.

Search Engine Marketing For Local Businesses

Are you a small to medium sized company, trying to increase local visitors to visit your website and increase your annual turnover? You need to start marketing your business and website correctly on the internet, you could be missing out on potential visitors that would give you the extra income you require. If other business competitors in your local area are being found on the search engines, they are potentially stealing your business.

Before I explain about the different ways you can gain extra traffic to your website, I want to explain a couple of regularly mentioned terms. You need to understand these terms, so you can separate the different aspects of marketing your business and website on the internet.

Search Engine Marketing or (SEM) / Search Engine Optimisation or (SEO)
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is not the same as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), people often confuse these two terms with each other, they are totally separate. Before I explain about the best ways to get your website and business ranking on the first page of Google for local search terms, you need to make sure you clearly understand the differences between these two phrases.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
This term refers to the different ways used to market and promote your website by increasing it’s visibility on the search engine page results. There are many ways you can market your website on the major search engines which range from, Natural Listings, Pay Per Click Advertising and Contextual Advertising.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
This term refers to the process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to your website from Search Engines. The ways in which you increase the volume of traffic to your site for your targeted keywords is by optimising the pages on your website for the keyword terms that people would use to find your business or product. Once you have optimised the pages on your website, the search engines will index your pages for these keyword terms.

OK! Now we understand the differences between these two terms I can move on to giving you the knowledge you will need to start promoting your business on the internet for FREE.

Understanding the Market and Search Terms
Remember this article is giving you the knowledge you need to gain extra traffic to your website for ‘LOCAL’ search terms, it is relatively easy to get your website ranking on the first page of Google for these local search terms, for example:

If I was a ‘Personal Trainer’ and I was situated in ‘Wigan’, we would optimise our website for the search term, ‘Personal Trainers Wigan’. It would be stupid to try and optimise my website for search terms such as ‘Personal Trainer’, ‘Fitness Instructor’ as these search terms do not target your local area.

Step 1. Optimise your Homepage
There are several parts of your homepage that need optimising so that the search engines know exactly what is on the page.

Creating the correct title for your Homepage
The first thing we need to do is optimise what is called the ‘

<title>‘ tag. Using the search term I talked about above our title tag would look like this:
<title>Personal Trainers Wigan, Company Name</title>

You will notice I have included ‘Company Name’ after ‘Personal Trainers Wigan’. This is because the main phrase we want people to find us for has to come first, the ‘Company Name’ goes after the main search term. This way if people actually search for our ‘Company Name’ they will also find our website.

Write the correct description for your Homepage
Once your title tag is optimised we need to create the description tag. When we create the description tag make sure you reference your main search term, for example your description tag would look like this:

<description>Company Name, Professional Personal Trainers Wigan. Fully Qualified Personal Trainers and Private Training Facility with fully equipped Personal Training Centre.</description>

You can see we have referenced ‘Personal Trainers Wigan’ and we have also referenced ‘Personal Trainers’. By doing this we are letting the search engine know that the content on this page is what has been searched for.

Adding keywords to your Homepage
The next part of optimising the hompage is to add the correct keywords in the keywords tag, for example this would look like this:

<keywords>Personal Trainers Wigan, Personal Trainers</keywords>

There is no point filling the keywords tag with other search terms, search engines do not rank the keywords tag with as much importance as they used to.

Adding the correct Headings and Content
Once we have optimised all the parts of the page that sit in the background, we need to make sure that the content on our page is optimised and set out in the correct way. First we need to make sure that the title of the content is a ‘

</p> <h1>‘ tag, this means that when a search engine looks at the content on the page the first thing it will look at is the ‘</p> <h1>‘ tag, for example the title of our text on the home page may be:
</p> <h1>Personal Trainers Wigan, Company Name No.1 Personal Trainers in Wigan</h1> <p>

Once the title of our text has been created we need to make sure that the text on the homepage has the correct weight of keywords in it. The best rule we have found with this is a 6 paragraph article (maximum of 200 words per paragraph), in each paragraph you need to reference your keywords once, no more than twice.

Adding Links to your homepage
The final part of optimising your homepage is to add some ‘Self Serving Links’ the bottom of your webpage. For example this would look like this:

<a target="_new" rel="nofollow" href="">Personal Trainers Wigan</a>

This acts a link on your website which is targeted at the keyword ‘Personal Trainers Wigan’.

Our next article will tell you how to get your business listed on the first page of Google using Google maps.

The Crucial Aspects Required To Make An Ecommerce Website Successful

The ecommerce business today has turned into a million dollar industry as more and more people now see the internet as a medium for getting better and cheaper deals. An ecommerce website also helps organizations to cut down on several peripheral expenses while at the same time helps the retailer to get a far wider audience reach. If marketed in an effective manner, the ecommerce business can help organizations rake in huge profits. However if you look at the ecommerce sector today, almost 70% ecommerce companies are running at a loss. This can be attributed to poor marketing strategies and lack of knowledge of certain key aspects required to make an ecommerce website work. In this article, we enlist the points to bear in mind so as to make your ecommerce website successful.

The success of any ecommerce website is wholly dependent on the traffic it generates and hence you should know who your target audience is. Once you have identified your target audience, you should know how to entice them to your website. The website design and layout should be eye-catchy and its content should be such that it keeps the user engrossed. Furthermore it is crucial that the site have good navigational features as users should swiftly be able to find the products that they are searching for. For this reason, the search box of the site must be well optimized and it should be able to track the most accurate page related to the user’s search query.

Loading time is also a vital feature that you should pay attention to. Many webmasters make the mistake of loading the site with heavy flash and animations so that it looked pretty and attractive to users. But this in turn increases loading time and any site that takes more than 5 seconds to load is bound to lose more than 90% of its visitors. So it is necessary that you maintain a fine balance between the two and not compromise on one for the other.

Your site should also have a custom shopping cart wherein users can easily add or remove items. The checkout procedure should be a one page affair and you should ask the users only necessary details required to carry out the transaction. Lengthy forms and too many personal queries may cause buyers to lose interest and increases the likelihood of them leaving halfway through.

You also need to have good visibility on the net because unless you are visible, you can’t drive traffic to your site. Pay close attention to the marketing strategies of your competitors and see if you could pick up a trick or two. Observe the prices at which they are buying and selling items and make changes to your strategy accordingly. Have good SEO and SEM marketing strategies in place to garner more eyeballs online.

Ecommerce development requires both strategic thinking and planning and if you aren’t an authority on the subject then it is advised that you take counsel from an ecommerce online store creation expert who will be able to warn you about potential pitfalls.

Using an ECommerce Website to Get Exponential Business Growth

You will never find more customers willing to spend money right now than you will on the World Wide Web. An eCommerce website allows small business to compete directly with big business and often have an advantage over big business because of the ability to adjust quickly to changing markets. Get it right and you could see exponential growth in your sales.

The first time a customer visits your website is the time they are most likely to spend money (although it can take up to seven visits). Thats why eCommerce websites make so much sense. You can grab immediate sales and capture visitors emails so that you can effortlessly keep them coming back. But only if your site is planned properly.

To be effective your ecommerce website must be flexible, easy to manage with a shopping cart that is easy for your customers to use. It doesn’t matter how much you spend on SEO and website marketing (yes, they are two different things), your site will fail if your shopping cart is too difficult to use. Shoppers must be able to complete a transaction with the minimum number of clicks and the minimum required thought about what to do next.

The purpose of your ecommerce website should be first, to get sales now and second, to get future sales. The first is achieved by making an offer that is too good to refuse with a sales process that is so easy that no-one will be intimidated. The second is achieved by capturing the visitors email address in a way that the visitor is excited to provide it and then following up with regular newsletters or a programmed series of messages via autoresponder.

Anything that gets in the way of these goals should be removed from the site! That means those slow loading graphics, the flash intro and most definitely the third party advertising. Keep it simple and don’t distract the shopper. When you go to the local mall, do shop owners put up barriers to slow your decision making or do they put their most popular products in front of you at the earliest opportunity (often at the front door)? Your online shop should do the same.

Before you begin building your ecommerce website, you need to do some planning to decide what shopping cart system meets your needs. Too often I am asked the question “what do you charge for an ecommerce website”? This question by itself suggests that the business owner is shopping around based on price without actually thinking about what the business needs from the site.

Of course, every ecommerce website is different just as every business is unique. Your ecommerce website should be designed with your specific needs in mind and different needs may require different shopping cart systems. Some of the variables you need to consider are:

  • What payment methods you want to offer and what gateways you will use to accept them?
  • Delivery – is delivery the same for every product or does it need to be calculated based on the size, weight or location?
  • Taxes – should the same tax rate be applied to every product and every purchaser or do you need to cater for different rates?
  • Registration – Do you want to force customers to register before making a purchase? Forced registration may cost a few sales in the short term but allows you to build a mailing list.
  • Do you have different classes of customer? e.g. You may sell to wholesale customers at a different price or even sell a different range of products. Do you want this hidden from retail customers?
  • Do you want to sell downloadable products?
  • Do you need to integrate sales from your online store into your accounting software?
  • Do you need to track stock availability?
  • What payment options do you want to offer now, and will that change in the future?
  • Do you want to include slideshows or video to promote your product?
  • Are you selling events or other forms of booking?
  • How often will product range or price change?

With just a little forethought you can have a unique ecommerce site that matches your individual business model without needing an expensive redesign in a few months time.

Of course very often after setting up your ecommerce website you will learn things you didn’t know about your customers. This will mean changes to your site. For this reason you should only ever use a cms based website so that you are not at the mercy of a programmer every time you want to fine tune something on your site. CMS simply means YOU have the ability to make changes to your site. Having a static ecommerce website is the equivalent to having a shop where you are not allowed to rearrange your own shelves or put up a sale sign – thats just plain dumb!

eCommerce technology is no longer complicated or expensive and is the easiest way to grow your business quickly without the expense of adding staff or bigger premises.