Where can you get the best ROI in online media? The answer is simple: great search engine rankings. Learn what it takes to push your listing to the top with the latest tips from Netconcepts president and CEO Stephan Spencer, SEO and linking strategist Eric Ward, Blue Fountain Media CEO Gabriel Shaoolian, and online marketing veteran Amber Naslund.
Just how important is SEO? "It's like air supply," says Stephan Spencer, president and CEO of Netconcepts. "If you're cut off from it, it's hard to survive as a business."
But as we all know, it's not just about making an appearance; it's about landing your natural listing as close to the top as possible. A recent Jupiter Research study found that 68% of search engine users click on listings that make the first page of results, and only 8% go beyond the first three pages of results.
In addition, the study found that 39% of searchers consider companies who are featured among the top natural search results to be leaders in their field.
So how do you make it onto that first page? Before you even get to that question, however, you need to determine which search queries you should be targeting in the first place. And that means keyword research.
(Note that we are focusing on non-branded search queries here—i.e., when users aren't specifically typing in your company or product name. You'll likely find that it's easier to gain rank in a branded search, and those queries will generally yield higher conversion rates since those users have, in essence, already selected you or your product. But for many companies, the bulk of their traffic—and especially new customers—will most often come through more generic, non-branded queries.)
Various tools are available to assist you in identifying popular keywords for your market; Spencer suggests starting with Google Insights for Search, which allows you to compare search volume patterns by category, geographic region, etc., and Google AdWords Keyword Tool, which offers ideas on other keywords you may want to consider.
Why focus on Google? Because it was the chosen platform for 72% of all Internet searches performed in the US in February 2009, according to Hitwise research.
Kimberly Smith is a staff writer for MarketingProfs. Reach her via email@example.com.