People have not stopped buying things, so how are they researching and purchasing products since they have made themselves immune to old marketing techniques like banner ads and direct mail?

The answer is with search engines and Google. According to comScore, Americans conducted 11.5 billion searches in June 2008, and Google was used for 61.5% of those searches.

This means it is essential that you make it easy for customers to find you, and one of the most effective ways to do so is search engine optimization (SEO), which focuses on getting your Web site listed in the unpaid, organic search engine results.

Organic listings generate visitors to your site. Moreover, with SEO, you don't pay a per-click "tax" to the search engines, so it usually has a higher ROI than paid-search listings. Finally, if you do SEO right, it can be a competitive advantage, unlike paid search, because anyone can increase their keyword bid to beat you out.

How do you actually get your Web site ranked high in search engines? The answer is quite simple, but getting there can be a bit more difficult.

Search engines use two broad categories of factors to decide which site shows up first in search results:

  1. On-page SEO factors are all the things that happen on your Web page. The good part is that you have complete control over these things. The bad part is they are only about 25% of the reason you will rank for a search term.
  2. Off-page SEO factors are things that happen outside your direct control but are roughly 75% of the reason you rank for a given search. The most important off-Page SEO factor is the number and quality of links into your Web site. Search engines use links as a measure of how interesting your content is, since more interesting content tends to get more links. Search engines also regard links from more-established Web sites as more important than links from less-trustworthy Web sites.

With those basics in mind, here are five useful tips to help guide you through your SEO strategy.

1. Pick good page titles

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Mike Volpe

Mike Volpe is the CMO of HubSpot, an inbound marketing and sales software company with over 11,500 customers in 70 countries.

LinkedIn: Mike Volpe

Twitter: @mvolpe