Over the past several years, search engine optimization (SEO) has become increasingly popular for businesses of all shapes and sizes. Although large scale corporations and well-known retailers may rely primarily on TV and print for most of their advertising efforts, many companies also supplement their marketing campaigns with SEO-based operations online. What used to be a relatively unknown advertising method has now become a common business strategy for countless retailers, restaurateurs and service providers the world over.
Seeing recognizable companies using such innovative and forward-thinking marketing techniques is food for thought for any small or medium business owner. As such, many mom-and-pop and entrepreneur companies are jumping onto the SEO bandwagon in hopes of getting more customers to buy their goods or services. Inevitably, many interested people research search engine marketing only to find themselves overwhelmed by the amount of information they need to absorb. While SEO certainly isn’t the most approachable online marketing field, there are a few reliable methods that SMBs can use for becoming more search engine-friendly. In particular, business listings are a quick and easy way to engage web traffic for any SMB owner.
Get your Business Listed with Popular Search Engines
A major detriment for any company, remaining unlisted with a search engine is a surefire way to getting overlooked by potential customers. Anyone who has ever searched for a business on Google has no doubt noticed how the first few search results often display contact information for potential keyword-to-business matches. Search engine users often click on these results for quick contact information such as phone numbers, addresses and business hours.
Scoring the high traffic spot on the SERPs is easier than some SMB owners may realize. By going to Google Places or Bing Local and setting up a listing for a company, one will be able to contribute the necessary information to show up well on search results. Although having a business’ name as the search term doesn’t allow for much in the terms of keyword rankings, the users who use that keyword are far more likely to click on the link and contact or interact with the company in question. For added effect, be sure to add plenty of photos for a more robust listing.
Once a Google Places or Bing local profile has been established, a SMB owner will want to look further into potential SEO services or PPC management options. If readers have any further questions about how to get a listing set up, I can be contacted at email@example.com.
As I discussed in a previous blog post, many businesses find themselves focusing the majority of their social media efforts through Facebook these days. While I still feel that Google+ is a fantastic alternative to this oversaturated social network, there are still several features on Facebook that make it an attractive platform for marketing purposes. In particular, it’s the network’s capability for pay per click advertisements that is a huge draw for many business owners. Aside from the site-wide ad initiatives that came about via the Timeline layout update, companies listed on the world’s biggest social network will also soon to be able to take advantage of another potential marketing avenue.
Although it is only in beta at this time, Facebook Offers promises to be a new initiative through which companies can increase their physical locations’ foot traffic. The new ad program will essentially reward followers of a business’ social media listing by adding them to a mailing list. Messages sent to users who sign up for the program will include coupons, discounts and other promotions to be used in-store. Operating in a similar fashion to Foursquare’s business incentives, Facebook Offers is a form of marketing that encourages customers to come to your business (and visit your online listing) on a regular basis.
Taking Advantage of Facebook Ads
As of now, only a handful of companies are actually enrolled in the Facebook Offers program. Due to its beta state, the new marketing incentive will be unavailable for most company owners until it goes public. While Offers is certainly a Facebook feature that everyone should keep their eye on, that doesn’t mean it should be the sole focus of every company. As we’ve all seen, the Timeline layout has made advertisements more prevalent than ever before. As such, regular Facebook advertisement allows for a marketing approach that everyone will want to use at least once in a while.
Running a successful ad campaign on Facebook often relies on the implementation of tried-and-true PPC behaviors. At the same time, some tweaks should always be made when advertising on a social network. Business owners looking for a solid ROI for their social media marketing investments should consider the following:
- As is the case with any PPC campaign, you’ll want to determine who the intended audience for your ad will be. If your business has a substantial following on Facebook, try taking a look at what the leading trends are for the people who “like” your company. Should you find that there is something relevant to your business that you can focus on, consider making that your keyword.
- The new Timeline layout allows for a multitude of options when it comes to deciding where you want to place your ads. A few weeks ago, Microsoft chose to place a massive banner for Bing on the Facebook logout page. While some SEO experts questioned whether such a huge ad on such a relatively unseen page was a good idea, the fact is that the company was able to choose freely where its marketing would be featured. When choosing a spot for a Facebook ad, one should thoroughly consider where they should place their ad for maximum exposure.
- Do not simply post your ad and expect to immediately see improved traffic for your website. Use your company’s Facebook page to openly promote your ongoing PPC campaign. If you interact with your followers directly, you will find that the little bit of extra exposure you gain will help you get the conversion rates you want.
Of course, the best Facebook ad campaigns come from learning the correct marketing behaviors. For readers looking for more information on PPC advertising, we invite you to look into our company’s PPC management service and other SEM opportunities. I can also be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org should readers have any particular questions.
Many business owners who are new to the world of online marketing often consider pay per click as their main channel of advertisement. As what is essentially the internet’s oldest form of direct marketing, PPC ads continue to be one of the most prevalent methods of inorganic link building. It certainly doesn’t hurt that every search engine website displays its own custom PPC ads on every SERP it shows. Although PPC usage remains constant across the web, the prominence of this popular marketing method is not even across all ad networks.
Recent reports indicate that paid search activity is up year after year yet still dwindling in some markets. According to an article from Search Engine Land, the first quarter of 2012 saw a 15% increase in PPC campaign activity for American companies. At the same time, Google’s cost-per-click rates have been following a downward trend that continues its decline from 2011. While Google’s CPCs are down another 5% from last year, the Yahoo-Bing adCenter network is up by nearly 20%. Google is quick to defend its low CPCs as not being indicative of the overall health of their company, but many SEO industry analysts are quick to claim otherwise.
The Cause of Google’s CPC Decline
Although the declining popularity of AdWords may make some business owners question their PPC relevance, the fact is there’s no concrete reason to doubt the effectiveness of a Google ad. Even though Microsoft continues to push its own search engine along with its advertising partnership with Yahoo, Google still remains at the top of its game when it comes to user activity – especially on mobile platforms. Some SEO experts have seen the company’s recent CPC decline as being a result of businesses trying to go where the competition isn’t.
adCenter, being a relatively newer PPC network than Google AdWords, has a greater draw to it due to the relative lack of market saturation. This isn’t to say that Bing’s PPC results will yield dramatically better results than those ads hosted on Google’s SERPs. Rather, the chance of securing better conversion rates when using adCenter is slightly higher for certain search terms. Of course, regardless of whatever network you go with for your PPC campaign, nothing beats having a strong keyword.
The Best Outcome with any Ad Network
If business owners want to run a pay per click campaign that gets the results they want, they need to implement excellent PPC behaviors instead of fretting over which network they should pick. In particular, there are a few choice guidelines to live by when it comes to solid cost-per-click campaign management.
- Research your campaign keyword thoroughly. An excellent selected keyword is one that is not too broad so as to get overshadowed by other ads but also not needlessly specific either. Always consider using negative keywords to help narrow your focused campaign term for best results.
- Determine the budget of your PPC campaign prior to getting involved with the keyword-bidding process. If you find that the search term you want to use is out of your reach, decide whether or not it’s worth it to simply select a term that is lower ranked.
- Choose an appropriate platform for your PPC ads. As I mentioned before, Google AdWords carry more weight on mobile devices that Microsoft adCenter. If you feel that the good or service you provide would appeal more to a mobile market (ie. cell phone covers, rechargeable batteries), then choose what you feel your ad network based on that.
As always, I encourage our blog’s readers to reach out to us and contact us with any questions they may have regarding PPC ads. We have extensive resources regarding PPC management along with other various PPC services. I can also be emailed directly at email@example.com.
Google released details on their official blog that the company has developed interactive ads compatible on smartphones and tablets. The new rich media ads are designed to engage the user and create a deeper experience.
The Company announced “65% of consumers who own tablets use them at least one hour per day. Consumers are embracing them as the third digital screen in their lives.” Apple, alone has sold over 240 iPads, with other consumers owning similar devices from Samsung and others.
The new interactive ads act as sort of a cross between mobile-ap development and pay per click management services. Google released this video to demonstrate:
As a follow up to our May 16 blog titled “Spending on Paid Search Increases”, eMarketer released some forecasts today shining light on to the $14.38 billion industry, and projecting 2012 revenues. In total, eMarketer sees the online search industry surpassing $17 billion for 2012. 77% of that industry, will be owned by Google.
Although Microsoft’s Bing has made strategic moves this year to try to take some of Google’s 77% market share away from them, the forecast sees Google continuing to build a further lead on them. Bing will, however, pass Yahoo, pushing them to the #3 spot. Time Warner’s AOL ranks #4 in online search.
“The advantages of paid search are its immediate return on traffic, related to targeted keywords, demographics, geographic targeted loccations, and websites your organization wants to reach”, states Todd Bailey, Vice President of Online Marketing at WebiMax. “Companies are obviously understanding the significance behing this type of marketing, evidenced by the intense growth in the industry”.
WebiMax is rated the #1 Pay-Per-Click Management company in the United States, by TopSeos.com. Hiring a quality PPC Specialist can mean the different between success and fauilure of your internet search campaign.
Far too often do companies contract with firms that do not have the proper personnel in place, and they don’t receive the conversion’s that their looking for. Advertising dollars can fall through the crack very easily in online search. Contracting with the right PPC Expert can hold the ultimate fate of your company’s campaign.
WebiMax represents not only a success story in small business startup, but also a success story for serial web Entrepreneur Kenneth C. Wisnefski. In 2008, Wisnefski had a vision to create a business that would truly help our clients grow their businesses by working with them more as a strategic partner, rather than merely an outsourced vendor. Clients rely on us to enhance their online visibility through search engine optimization (SEO), landing page optimization, local search, reputation management, social media, e-commerce, web design and development, and pay-per-click management.
Wisnefski’s vision has further enhanced WebiMax’s abilities to enjoy the success and growth the company has experienced since our inception 3 years ago. Maintaining a 99% client retention rate, and signing an average of 50 new clients each month, WebiMax is well positioned to continue to enjoy explosive growth in the search engine optimization (SEO) industry.
In early 2011, the company expanded operations, opening additional offices in 6 major U.S. metropolitan cities, and 4 international offices including Australia, Canada, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
With revenue at its highest point in the history of the company, Wisnefski will continue to enhance the company and lead WebiMax well into the future of search engine optimization.