If you are considering online promotion of your business this year and you need to see the big picture about the Internet Marketing today, you are on the right place – this article will highlight all the major methods of site promotion that have already proved successful, as well as discuss the new possibilities that Internet Marketing offers in the year 2013.
The landscape of online marketing is rapidly changing and businesses have to constantly update their strategies on how to get more readers to their websites, how to increase traffic, stay interesting, etc. so they can adapt to these changes.
This brief scope will remind you of the techniques you already know and probably use, on those you wanted to use but forgot about, and hopefully it will introduce you to some approaches you’ve never heard of so you can jump-off and learn everything you want to know about developing a successful Internet Marketing strategy in 2013.
Search Engine Optimization
Optimizing your website to rank high in the results of the popular search engines for the keywords you target is probably one of the most valuable and an essential marketing strategy to consider. Don’t try to trick the search engine “spiders”, but make sure to provide enough information so they can identify what your page is about.
Here’s what to do:
Include keywords in the page title
The search engines only see the first 65 to 70 characters of your page title, so make sure you have a descriptive title that includes your important keywords at the beginning.
Since the title will link searchers to your web page it’s important to make it more appealing and provoking to trigger an action. You can also apply your targeted keywords on your website’s home page along with your business name to further increase your organic traffic.
Write a meta description tag
Beside title every page on your website should also include a keyword-rich meta description that summarizes the content of the page in a line or two and calls the reader to action, to click on your page instead of your competitors’.
When internet users search the engines for your keyword query it will be bolded in the result snippet enticing them to come visit your website. Though meta description doesn’t affect your rankings directly it can help you get to more optimal positions providing useful information for the engines, as well as for those who actually look for your products and/or services.
Place your keywords in the page headers and sub-headers
Search engines robot spiders put great significance to the keywords that appear in the page headers and sub-headers, but make sure they are coded as H1, H2, H3 tags and not just defined as headings in the CSS.
Include your keywords in the first paragraph of your page copy
The most relevant keywords should also be included in the introduction paragraph of your body text, but be careful not to overstuff your entire content as the expected keyword density by the most popular search engine Google for example is between 1.5% and 2%.
Position descriptive keywords in the image alt tags
The alt attributes not only give additional information to search engines, but also help the image rank higher in the results for those particular queries.
Hyperlink the target keywords and phrases in the body text
Search engines see potentially important information in the hyperlinked text in your copy to be able to understand the focus of your page and website.
Make sure your website navigation system is search engine friendly
Create HTML and XML sitemaps
HTML sitemaps are intended for search engines and human visitors, and XML only for the search engine crawlers.
The first will help readers and engines find all pages on your website (particularly useful for larger websites), and the second will tell the crawlers which URLs you want to be indexed.
Additionally, make sure to set up a free account on Google Webmaster Tools to get more information on how to improve your rankings in Google’s result pages.
Photo Credit: SEOPlanter
Develop quality content focused on each of your important keywords
If you are selling men shirts, you can develop different pages on your website with content that targets related keywords which people search on the web like ‘men shirt’, ‘silk men shirts’, ‘elegant men shirts’, etc.
This strategy is probably one of the best to target well for your desired keywords and phrases. The Google Keyword Tool can help you find the most searched for queries that are related to your target keywords.
Analyze and test your tactics and strategies
When you change your page title to target certain keyword, as a result your organic traffic for that keyword and page should increase; if this isn’t the case analyze the reasons and test another tactic. Google Analytics is a great analytics package to use for your website SEO.
Google and other major search engines will rank your website higher in their results if it drives additional traffic from other websites’ links to your web pages. But keep in mind that not all links are created equal – the higher the authority, popularity and trustworthiness of the websites that link to you, the better your website’s rank in the search engines result pages.
Submit your website to key directories
Research directories that are widely used in your field to submit your website. The search engine algorithms don’t put too much value on these “paid links”, but they can still turn beneficial to your site’s PageRank and traffic.
Write compelling content to encourage inbound links
Instead of begging other quality websites for a link to your pages where you have nothing to offer, create attractive content with useful posts and articles, hints, pictures and videos, to naturally encourage them to link.
A yoga studio, for example, can explain its services, rates and physical location on its website, but if this yoga teacher wants to attract more inbound links the best strategy would be to once a week write interesting articles on different yoga poses, meditation and people’s health and to occasionally post videos of him/her performing and explaining those postures – other websites are more likely to link to web pages with such useful and appealing content.
Create guest posts and articles for other websites to use
Guest posting is a very effective Internet marketing strategy to increase your online visibility as it not only showcases your expertise in the industry you work in, but also drives valuable traffic to your business site over a longer period of time.
Make sure to put your business name, a short description of your services and a link to your website at the end of each guest post, and also avoid old-school article websites and instead focus on building firm relationships with like-minded writers and site owners offering unique, interesting and useful content they can use on their sites.
Possibly one of the best ways to promote your website today is by using social media – blogs, social networking sites, social bookmarking sites, forums – where people connect and interact with one another, sharing their thoughts, commenting on blog posts, generating links to your website, helping you increase your traffic and the awareness for your products and/or services.
Start a business blog
A business blog hosted on your website, on your own domain, with excellent content and regular quality industry analysis and observations, well-connected to other bloggers in your field of expertise, is a great way to promote your site and increase your traffic and online popularity.
Get on the popular social media websites
Depending on the nature of your business, product and/or service you can select and join different social networks, and some of the best for business purposes include Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.
You should also consider some of the bookmarking websites like Pinterest, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Delicious, Digg, or Google Bookmarks where people share articles, images and other information about different websites that they like, or don’t like.
The greatest advantage of this marketing strategy comes when others mention your business and products, and link and bookmark your website which helps boost your traffic and search rankings.
Join discussion lists and forums
Though it is an old strategy, it’s still very active and alive. Use Google Groups to locate groups related to your industry where a serious discussion takes place and do your best to contribute with your thoughts and experiences on the matter, adding your signature at the end of your message to do the marketing for you.
Ask your readers to bookmark your website
If you have great content on your website that people find interesting and useful ask them to bookmark your website or add it in their Favorites. This will generate you more links and raise your PageRank.
Photo Credit: Bob Massa
Email marketing is a powerful Internet Marketing strategy that can help you bring lots of visits to your website, but only if you don’t engage in spamming i.e. sending bulk emails to people with whom you haven’t established such relationship, and who haven’t requested or permitted your emails.
Add signature in your emails
Include the name, address and phone number of your company, web and email address, and a short description of your business offering at the end of each mail so potentially interested clients can contact you faster and easier.
Send email newsletters
Once a week, or once a month, you can send email newsletters with interesting tips and articles, industry news or information about new products and/or services to keep close to your prospects, build awareness for your brand and products and establish trust and potential for future business.
You can also add a widget on your blog or website where your readers can submit their email addresses to receive your publications, this way increasing your email database with future prospect buyers.
To get more people to sign up for your newsletters you should place the widget in a position viewable from every page on your site, and you can additionally promote it using free downloads, e-books, special online offers, etc.
Send confirmation, transaction, thank you and reminder emails
Confirm the transaction or email subscription mentioning few related products, remind your regular clients of the last time they’ve ordered on your website and ask politely if they need another round, say thank you offering a discount the next time they buy, just be creative and make sure to not overdo it.
Communicate regularly with your customers and site visitors
The best list to send email offers, coupons and discounts, product reviews and updates is your list with email addresses of customers and regular readers who have subscribed on your website. They maybe won’t purchase immediately, but they’ll most probably come visit your site.
It’s not that the previously listed Internet marketing strategies are free since they all take valuable time and energy to implement in practice, but if more rapid promotion is what your business needs then you’ll need to prepare a budget to get the targeted traffic increase.
There are three most common types of paid advertising on the internet: CPM (cost per mile, or cost per thousand views), PPC (pay per click), and PPA or CPA (pay/cost per action).
Photo Credit: Search Engine People Blog
Buy small text ads in email newsletters
Advertising in email newsletters gives you targeted access to new audience that is likely to have interest in your products and services. Personalizing the offer in these emails can be more expensive, but is also more effective and often has good response rates.
Start an affiliate program
Affiliate marketing is a cost-per-action model where other websites get commission for linking to your pages and making you an actual sale.
When starting an affiliate program you should define the commission (this would actually be your advertising costs per product/service), get a company to help you around the technical specifics, and also promote the program so you can find quality affiliates to link to your site. Locating those who have a financial stake in promoting your website is the actual challenge of this strategy.
Purchase pay-per-click ads
The search engines pay-per-click ads usually appear above and to the right on the result pages and are driven by keywords for which your target readers search the web.
Popular social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn also offer PPC ads to help businesses’ promotion, but these ads are less targeted when compared to the ads on search engines. This online marketing strategy is a bit expensive but can produce incredible results.
List your products with shopping comparison websites
If you are selling online you can list your products with shopping comparison websites like Google Shopping, Yahoo! Shopping, eBay, PriceGrabber, etc. where they are compared with other similar products and prices. This type of promotion can be paid on PPC or CPA basis depending on the service you use.
Sell your products on marketplaces
Amazon, Sears, Newegg, all offer different retailers to post and sell their products on their marketplace, but for a fee that cuts down their sales prices. These services have proved successful for many online merchants but you need to have good software and enough time to be able to track sold products, update product photos and prices, provide descriptions, etc.
So, what’s your internet marketing strategy?
Post it below.
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