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Blogs evolved from the concept of an online journal. When first conceived, they were used mainly by people to keep personal notes, post pictures and ideas. Blogs were seen as something housewives and artists used to create online presence. This is no longer the case. Now, many businesses have blogs.
Social Media was much the same way. Viewed at first as a tool for students to connect, Facebook is now successfully used for online business marketing. Other social media sites are catching up fast. Sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Flickr are becoming business essentials.
So what can a blog and social media do for your local business website?
People like to feel they know the people they are doing business with. They like to feel they can trust the business. They like to know the business is community oriented and involved. This is all part of the more general 'social marketing' concept. The process of communicating with people and building relationships can take place online, the same as offline.
For traditional businesses this concept is sometimes hard to convey. The internet seems foreign and even overwhelming. However, it is where people want to access information. A blog on a business website, and integrating social media, can be used to inform customers of current news or offers, educate, and entertain. With many customers, and potential new business already online, it makes sense to utilize this new source of connecting with people.
Community events, charities and even small events hosted by the business such as celebrations, birthday parties, and classes, can be advertised online. Pictures can be quickly and easily posted online, including those of customers enjoying the events. Blogs and social media are effective ways to integrate social marketing in your online efforts, and a way for your customer to get to know the business and what you do in the community.
Blogs will bring traffic to your website. While your business may be a traditional local business without online sales, it is still important to bring traffic to your site because your customers are online even if they aren’t buying a product or service from you online. Traffic means people who are interested in stopping by the physical store are stopping by your website to see what you are all about. Blogs that are updated frequently will help improve search engine ranking and will increase your traffic and potential client base.
Blogs and social media give you a real time connection to your customers, more so than your website does. They should be kept current, updated on a frequent basis. Where your website may be static and offer great information, the blog and social media is where they get current communication from your business.
Four years ago, in a BusinessWeek article for May 2, 2005, http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_18/b3931001_mz001.htm, it states there are 9 million blogs with 40,000 new blogs each day. These numbers have grown significantly since then.
More and more businesses are reaching their customers through blogs as part of their social marketing endeavors. Facebook, a social website that loves pictures, has more than 120 million users log on every day. Twitter, the micro blog that likes video links, is fast approaching with over 3 million “tweets” being sent a day. Can your local business really afford to miss using these valuable tools?
Website optimization, mailing lists, blogs, SEO, social media and auto responders are a few of the tasks that help a website get discovered. These efforts will help you increase your customer base.
It is estimated 80% of customers now look online before they make a purchase. They are looking for information online where they used to look in the yellow pages. They are looking for information about your business. With the World Wide Web available to many people today, customer’s choices to seek information have opened up.
To make your business website a success you have to rank in the search engines. This can take effort and time. It is not usually something which is done over night, but there are the exceptions to this. What is needed on the website is information rich content, and the site needs optimized for search engines. This is referred to as SEO (search engine optimization). In the easiest terms, it is making your website search engine friendly so that it will be shown on the first page of Google and other search enginges. That is the ultimate goal, and more specifically in the top few results on that first page.
SEO can use keywords and URLs designed to place your business site in the search engines. It includes research into the words your customers and potential clients enter into search engines. Once you understand what your customers are searching for, you can optimize your business website for just those keywords and phrases.
Social Media is one of the hottest and latest trends in business marketing. Starbucks has a Facebook page. They recently made offers through their Facebook for free Starbuck’s Ice Cream. Think of how many customers they are pulling in with that kind of advertisement on social media. Social media includes Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and many smaller sites targeted to interests or groups of people. Originally just for students and for chatting, social media is now a tool savvy business owners do not want to ignore.
You can reach more customers through your online ventures. Whether you want to keep your business local or take it global, the World Wide Web will be key. There is a lot to learn about successfully placing your business in a prominent place on the internet. The time and effort it takes to find what your customers and target market are looking for should not be underestimated because it can be the difference between success and failure in online marketing.
Robert Kiyosaki, investor, businessman, and well known author of 'Rich Dad, Poor Dad' series of books, believes that statement and explains why in the video below. Why is network marketing such a great business plan? A perfect network marketing system is not required for you to see success. In fact, network marketing is more about being an independent entrepreneur and tailoring the business to you and your lifestyle. A simple network marketing plan, that focuses on taking action over and over again, is what makes a success story in Network Marketing.
IBD stated that with search engines becoming a bigger source of web traffic - how many times do people ‘Google’ something every day - companies are more interested in getting that traffic.
Many of the larger (Fortune 500 size) companies are doing both. Recently, these bigger companies have increased their SEO efforts after seeing the benefits their website gets back. Small and medium size companies can compete in the same markets as large companies if they do their SEO work correctly, and target the right search terms (keywords).
The free side of search is the organic, or natural, search results that are returned when people type their search words into Google and other search engines, and it really is valuable traffic. Many people will only look at those results - not at the paid ads that appear down the right side of the page and a couple at the top on the left. Under the ads at the top on the left side are the organic search results. In order to rank well in the natural results, your search engine web marketing needs to be optimized for the search engines so that they reward it with a high ranking.
The art of SEO involves finding the right keywords to target for search engine web marketing efforts, and then designing the site so that search engines will not only find it but reward it with a top ranking. In addition, there are SEO strategies and good old fashioned ‘work’ to do on the website that will help its perceived value to the search engine rises. IBD stated that the competition is very intense and not many companies will share their SEO strategies because of that. One way that I have learned to be able to rise above the competition is in the keyword research area.
If website owners are not able to get to the top few spots on the first page of a search engine for their keywords, they are most probably targeting the same keywords as too many other websites in their search engine web marketing endeavors. In some markets, the majority of websites are using the same keywords. They can’t all rank on the first page of Google. Every market has what we call money keywords, or profitable keywords. These are words or phrases that get significant searches every month, but don’t have as many websites already targeting them. With some SEO work, website owners can rank quickly for these money keywords and start to see lots more traffic come to their website.
The IBD article talked about the long term benefits of SEO. If a company stops their ads today, the ad goes down and no additional traffic can go to the website from that point on. This type of search engine web marketing is gone until the company decides to start paying for the ad again.
In contrast, SEO work that includes good content on the website, and on other websites that link back to the original website, is information that will be up on the search engines for a long time to come. The benefits from this type of search engine web marketing work you do for your website today will continue to pay off for years down the road. With SEO, there is more up-front work and cost in getting the work done, but with long term benefits. And it all centers around keyword, terms, or phrases.
IBD states that, “If a company depends on Web traffic for sales, you can bet it’s using search-engine optimization, or SEO, to boost its search ranking.” Some brands do not sell from their websites, but for those of us that do want to do more business from our websites, the time is now to put an SEO plan together and work that plan consistently. It is worth the time and effort for your search engine web marketing, even if you must outsource the basic keyword research if you don’t know how to do it thoroughly or are not getting any traffic to your website with your existing keywords.
Do you prefer the free side or the paid side of web site advertising marketing? Your paid choices are buying search engine ads such as on Google, Yahoo, MSN, and a list of others, or purchasing banner ads on websites that relate to your market. Alternatives include solo ads to ezine lists, paid submissions to press release sites and business directories, and of course buying leads. I prefer the free side of web site marketing. It may not involve money, or at least much less of it, but it does involve some work.
The free side of marketing online, through search engine traffic, consists of optimizing my website for the search engines to reward it with a high search engine ranking, and supporting that with search engine optimization (SEO) strategies. A website can get a large amount of traffic from the search engines because that is where people go to look for information about a product or service. When the website is in the top three or four spots on the first page of Google and other search engines, it can enjoy great traffic.
All of this searching and ranking centers around keywords. Key words are phrases are what people type into Google and other search engines when they are looking for information. The search engines find websites to return search results for people. The way they find the websites is through the keywords the website uses on their pages. The work involved on this free side of internet advertising, also called natural or organic, is all centered around optimizing the website for both the search engines and the visitors they will send. The goal is to make the website the authority in its market and then search engines will bestow their respect, and people will be happy with the information they find there.
We can not say too much about the importance of thorough keyword research in web site advertising marketing. Finding the best words that people are searching for when they want information about your website’s product or service is key to getting the traffic you are after. Once the keywords are established, and it is advised to continue to look for good keywords, the information in the code behind the website will need structured properly. Search engines look for certain criteria when they come to visit a website. They want to see that the title matches up with the content of the website, and they like to see keywords in the title and even in the website url. They look for a meta description that is relevant to the content of the website and includes keywords. They look for h1/h2 tags which support the overall content of the website.
The content for the web site advertising marketing should be valuable. It can consist of educational, enlightening, or entertaining information. It is best to add fresh content regularly since it is appealing to both the reader and the search engines. There are many strategies that can be utilized for maintaining the content on a website, including all of its pages. A site map is valuable to the navigation of a website, and it should not be challenging for a visitor or the search engine to move around the website. Linking is another aspect the search engines regard in a very important way. External links with keywords as anchors back to the website are very valuable. Also, the source of those incoming links and their popularity on the internet are evaluated by the search engines.
So we know that optimizing a website is based on the search engine queries that the website wants to rank for so that it can get a share of the traffic that is searching for those keywords. It may sound simple enough, but when you consider the competition that might exist for the same keywords, the process can become quite a challenge. It is important to lay out an SEO plan and to stay consistent with implementing the plan. Ongoing work such as creating new keyword-rich content, and continuous link building, is essential for getting to the first page of Google and other search engines, and staying there. There are tools that help us find the number of searches per month for a given key word or phrase. We can test this with statistics to back up our research.
If your online marketing includes the free side of web marketing, you now have an idea of what you will need to target in order to get the traffic that you want to go to your website. You can combine key words and phrases that you carefully research until you get the numbers of searches that you desire. You can work to get those top spots in the search engines so that you secure the majority of the traffic you know is generated with your keywords. You can build your website to an authority site that people get to know, like, and trust. This is the way that you turn traffic into new business and repeat business. It is how you find success on the free side of internet marketing.
Are you marketing a product or service online? Many web site owners struggle with keyword research. Would you be surprised to hear that your keywords can be responsible for you getting significant traffic to your website every day, or not getting much at all? The fact is that finding, and using, the right keywords on your website and in your overall internet marketing plan can be remarkable.
When you think about the fact that marketing online revolves around people searching for information and knowledge and things to purchase, the words they search become very important. These are what online marketers call keywords. There exists what we refer to as money keywords for every market.
Money keywords, or profitable keywords, are special because they are targeted, they get a lot of searches every month, and the competition has not saturated the words. Money keywords are key words and phrases that you, the website owner, can rank for at the top of the search engines. That means the top results on the first page of Google and other search engines.
Here are 3 tips to help you find the profitable keywords for your website, along with some strategies that show the significance of keywords to website.
1) You now understand that doing business online requires a visitor finding your website and purchasing your product or service. Unless personally invited to your website, they find it by clicking on an ad of some form, or searching for information in Google or other search engines and seeing your website displayed at or near the top of the first page (this is traditionally where people will click).
So how do you claim the top spots in the search engines? You need to optimize your website so that the search engines like it and reward it by listing it high in their search results. So the first step is to secure the right keywords to target.
Your keyword research should involve finding the money, or profitable, keywords to target since these are the words that people already search and that you can rank for in the search engines. The keywords will be used on your website and in all marketing that you do off-site.
2) It is beneficial to get into the mindset of the potential buyers of your product or service. What kinds of words do they use that relate to your business? What are the problems they are having? What are the answers they are looking for? What are common words or phrases that are associated with your market?
When you start to gather ideas, you can feed them into keyword research tools that will return even more suggestions to you. It is possible to quickly build a long list of potential key words or phrases. If you are doing PPC marketing, you might need long lists of keywords.
However, if you are optimizing your website so that it will be found in the free side of the search engines, the organic or natural side, you don’t need as many keywords. The key here is to target money keywords, or profitable keywords.
3) Once you have a large group of keywords, next you want to qualify them for the results they can produce for you in the search engines. It is important to determine that the specific keywords to website are getting a lot of searches every month. This is the first requirement of a money keyword.
Next, you must determine how competitive those keywords will be. For example, a keyword may get a ton of searches every month but there are already close to a million websites that are targeting those keywords. In this case, it would be very hard to beat out all of those websites to claim a top spot on a Google search result.
It is important that your keywords have a lower competition level. If fewer websites are using the keywords, and they are getting lots of searches, you will have a much better, and quicker, chance of ranking high for the terms.