Search Engine Strategies
Perhaps the most important and inexpensive strategy is to rank high for your preferred words on the main search engines in "organic" or "natural" searches (as opposed to paid ads). Search engines send robot "spiders" to index the content on your webpage, so let's begin with steps to prepare your web pages for optimal indexing. The idea here is not to trick the search engines, but to leave them abundant clues as to what your webpage is about.
1. Write a Page Title. Write a descriptive title for each page of 5 to 8 words. Remove as many "filler" words from the title, such as "the," "and," etc. This page title will appear hyperlinked on the search engines when your page is found. Plan to use some descriptive keywords along with your business name on your home page.
2. Write a Description and Keyword META Tag. The description should be a sentence or two describing the content of the webpage, using the main keywords and key phrases on this page. If you include keywords that aren't used on the webpage, you could hurt yourself. Place the Description META Tag at the top of the webpage, between the tags, in this format
3. Make Sure Your Keywords Are in the First Paragraph of Your Body Text. Search engines expect that your first paragraph will contain the important keywords for the document.
4. Use Keywords in Hyperlinks. Search engines are looking for clues to the focus of your page. When they see words hyperlinked in your body text, they consider these potentially important, so hyperlink your important keywords and keyphrases.
5. Develop Several Pages Focused on Particular Keywords. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) specialists no longer recommend using external doorway or gateway pages, since nearly duplicate web pages might get you penalized. Rather, develop several web pages on your site, each of which is focused on a different keyword or key phrase. For example, instead of listing all your services on a single webpage, try developing a separate webpage for each. These pages will rank higher for their keywords since they contain targeted rather than general content.
6. Submit Your Webpage URL to Search Engines. Next, submit your homepage URL to the important Web search engines that robotically index the Web. Look for a link on the search engine for "Add Your URL." In the US, the most used search engines are: Google, Yahoo, MSN, AOL Search, and Ask.com. If your page is already indexed by a search engine, don't re-submit it unless you've made significant changes; the search engine spider will come back and revisit it soon anyway.
7. Promote Your Local Business on the Internet. These days many people search for local businesses on the Internet. To make sure they find you include on every page of your website the street address, zip code, phone number, and the five or 10 other local community place names your business serves.
8. Submit Your Site to Key Directories, Since a link from a directory will help your ranking -- and get you traffic. Be sure to list your site in the free Open Directory Project (www.dmoz.com), overseen by overworked volunteer human editors. Yahoo! Directory is another important directory to be listed in, though their search results recently haven't been featuring their own directory as prominently. Real humans will read (and too often, pare down) your 200-character sentence, so be very careful and follow their instructions (http://docs.yahoo.com/info/suggest/). Hint: Use somewhat less than the maximum number of characters allowable, so you don't have wordy text that will tempt the Yahoo! editor to begin chopping.
9. Write Articles for Others to Use in their Newsletters. You can dramatically increase your visibility when you write articles in your area of expertise and distribute them to editors as free content for their e-mail newsletters or their websites. Just ask that a link to your website and a one-line description of what you offer be included with the article.
10. Begin a Business Blog. Want links to your site? Begin a business blog on your website, hosted on your own domain. If you offer excellent content and regular industry comment, people are likely to link to it, increasing your site's Page Rank.
11. Develop a Free Service. It's boring to invite people, "Come to our site and learn about our business." It's quite another to say "Use the free kitchen remodeling calculator available exclusively on our site." Make no mistake, it's expensive in time and energy to develop free resources, but it is very rewarding in increased traffic to your site. Make sure that your free service is closely related to what you are selling so the visitors you attract will be good prospects for your business.
12. Install a "Signature" in your E-Mail Program to help potential customers get in touch with you. Most e-mail programs such as AOL, Netscape, and Outlook allow you to designate a "signature" to appear at the end of each message you send. Limit it to 6 to 8 lines: Company name, address, phone number, URL, e-mail address, and a one-phrase description of your unique business offering.
13. Send Offers to Your Visitors and Customers.
Your own list of customers and site visitors who have given you permission to contact them will be your most productive list. Send offers, coupon specials, product updates, etc. Personalizing the subject line and the message may increase the results. 14. Rent targeted e-mail lists. We abhor "spam," bulk untargeted, unsolicited e-mail, and you'll pay a very stiff price in a ruined reputation and cancelled services if you yield to temptation here. But the direct marketing industry has developed targeted e-mail lists you can rent lists consisting of people who have agreed to receive commercial e-mail messages.
15. Promote Your Site in Online Forums and Blogs. The Internet offers thousands of much targeted e-mail based discussion lists, online forums, Blogs, and Usenet news groups made up of people with very specialized interests. Use Google Groups to find appropriate sources (groups.google.com). Don't bother with news groups consisting of pure "spam." Instead, find groups where a serious dialog is taking place. Don't use aggressive marketing and overtly plug your product or service. Rather, add to the discussion in a helpful way and let the "signature" at the end of your e-mail message do your marketing for you. People will gradually get to know and trust you, visit your site, and do business with you.
16. Ask Visitors to Bookmark Your Site. It seems so simple, but make sure you ask visitors to bookmark your site or save it in their Favorites list. Why don't you bookmark the article you're reading right now? You know you'll want to find it again soon. Paid Advertising Strategies
17. Buy a Text Ad in an E-Mail Newsletter. Some of the best buys are small text ads in e-mail newsletters targeted at audiences likely to be interested in your products or services. Many small publishers aren't sophisticated about advertising and offer attractive rates. For example, we offer low-priced 2-Line Ads in Web Marketing Today each week (www.wilsonweb.com/ads/2-line-ad.htm). Banner ads get such a low click-through rate (0.2%) these days that I don't recommend paying much for them. Banner ads typically cost about 50¢ to $1 per thousand page views.