Search Marketing Essentials: How to be Found in Search Engines

by Saija Mahon

Being a business owner
You've made the decision to take the plunge and create your own business. While this may have seemed like a very difficult dream to achieve 10 years ago, in today's digital world it is something that is almost simple to do, although getting the business up and running is just the start.

Search marketing basics
To put it simply, search marketing is the art and science of making sure potential customers find your business in search engines when doing searches for specific keywords.

10 to 15 years ago, achieving this was as simple as having the keywords you wanted your business to appear for mentioned as many times as possible across your website. But with web users and search engines becoming savvier every day, the rules have changed and search marketing is now a much more complicated affair.

Activities to consider
Ensuring your business is found in search engines in 2013 is very often a juggling act between several specific activities.

SEO or Search Engine Optimisation
SEO is the work you can do on your website to ensure it is optimised with relevant keywords for your business. There are a multitude of elements that can be optimised on a website including:

  • Page titles and descriptions
  • Content
  • Internal links
  • Page names and URLs

The key here is to optimise for keywords that your potential customers would be searching for and not necessarily the ones you think are good, so doing some keyword research in the beginning is crucial.

It is also always good to remember that your business and website are here to serve customers and not only to get good rankings in Google. You therefore need to find the right balance in your optimisation for search engine and user friendliness.

In addition to work you can do on your website, search engines now also take the number of websites linking to yours into account when establishing their rankings.

While the number of links to your site is important, the quality of these links matters even more, so finding good sites to link to yours should be a priority. There are a number of techniques that can be used to do link building:

  • Directory listings - register your website on high quality directories or review sites
  • Social bookmarking - use sites like Digg, StumbleUpon, Delicious or Pinterest to bookmark your own pages and encourage your visitors to do it too
  • Content syndication - producing good content is a great way to generate links to your website, but make sure you syndicate/share this content across the web to ensure users find it

Paid search
Paid search, also known as PPC, pay per click or sponsored advertising is something you should consider for your business if you have budgets available.

Google for example uses an advertising programme called Adwords where businesses basically bid on specific keywords to have their ads displayed when these keywords are searched for by users. Each time your ad is clicked, Google will charge you a fee. While this can get expensive if there is a lot of competition in your market, it is a great way to promote your business quickly and efficiently as you have total control of the bids, the ads or the amount you spend.

Social media
Creating and managing social accounts for your business will not only enable you to share content, but it'll also be a great way to engage with customers and raise brand awareness and authority. Google and other search engines are starting to take social signals and activities into account for rankings, so being social is now becoming a necessity.

Here are some of the social networking sites you should consider:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google +
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Youtube

Be strategic
Search marketing is now much more complex than it ever was and if you're just getting started with it, remember that integrating the different activities into a structured digital marketing strategy will help you get the best results. Make sure that you have clear objectives for your business as this will ensure you focus your resources and get the most out of your work.

And if it all gets a bit too much, specialist agencies like Mahon Digital are here to help!

Saija Mahon is the founder and director of Mahon Digital, a UK based digital marketing agency specialising in search engine optimisation (SEO), paid search services (PPC) and social media for online businesses.  As a working mother and wife, she is more than aware of the challenges, but also rewards, of being a woman entrepreneur.

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