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Digital Marketing, What Works, How Do I Start?

November 17th, 2014 - Posted by joe under SEO Industry Insider

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Online marketing is ever evolving and there seems to constantly be more and more digital marketing options for your business. If you are over forty you probably vaguely remember a time before the internet when trade shows, direct mail marketing, public relations and print advertising were the kings of marketing world for small to medium sized businesses. Since then we have seen many online marketing strategies become available and then slowly fade away in their level of effectiveness both cost-wise and in relation to ROI in the last 20 years or so.

Email marketing took off in the late 90’s and initially brought good results. Email marketing was a fantastic way for companies to market their products and services to their clients. However, by the early 2000’s how many email accounts did you cancel due to spam? Anti-spamming laws and filters killed email marketing as an effective online marketing strategy for most businesses in the last decade.

Since then we have seen webinars, online video, text message marketing and social media marketing all have their moments in the sun and then slowly fade away. This is not to say that these marketing techniques don’t have value, because each of them do but overall the major marketing impact has had a short life span. This brings us to the one constant digital marketing juggernaut that has been invaluable to businesses since its inception, online search.

According to the Marketing Sherpa 2012 Lead Generation Benchmark Survey, SEO is the most effective lead generating marketing strategy for business.

According to Hubspot’s 2012 State of Inbound Marketing Report, leads that are generated by organic search close at a rate of 14.6%, which is higher than any other form of digital marketing.

There are literally hundreds of online studies that report organic search engine rankings are clicked on approximately six times more often than paid ads. Research also points out that searchers also have a higher trust factor in regard to companies with high organic rankings as opposed to their PPC counterparts. Most consumers are aware that anyone can set up a paid ad campaign on a search engine. The perception among consumers is that companies with good organic rankings are more established and better quality vendors because organic rankings are not paid for, they are earned and are based on ranking factors that provide the best options for consumers.

If your business is not ranking well organically or you are curious what the first steps are in moving your business forward with search engine marketing. Here are two good tools to get you started.

The first is a free Keyword Research Tool that will give you hundreds of keyword suggestions at no charge. This tool allows you to enter one of your top targeted keywords and returns a list of long tail keyword search variants based on your entry. If your industries top targeted keywords are too difficult for you to rank on page one for, there are other options. One of those options is to target long tail keywords that are easier to rank well for and can still drive your business quality traffic.

The other part of your online marketing strategy that is paramount is your ability to rank online with mobile search. On Google when you are searching from your mobile phone you will get a different set of search results then you will if you are searching from your desktop. Google wants to see that your website is either mobile responsive or that you have a distinct, separate mobile site for your business. If you have a mobile site and your competitors don’t, you can rank your mobile site over your competitors on mobile search even if your main site isn’t ranking as well on desktop searches. If you have a mobile site for your business and you are not seeing the kind of mobile search rankings you would like to, I suggest using this mobile website evaluator it based on Google’s page speed insights and it provides valuable information on what you can do to improve your mobile sites performance.

Here is one more valuable piece of information for businesses regarding search engine marketing in general. Stefan Weitz the Director of Search at Microsoft admitted recently at the Web Summit Conference in Ireland that “Bing probably can’t compete with Google’s search engine in a head-to-head race.” Instead he states that Bing is focusing on incorporating search into more of Microsoft’s applications and that Bing is also focusing on search “in different areas of life.” It’s an ambiguous and yet telling statement. When any company, let alone Microsoft, admits they can’t be competitive with another company and that they are looking at indirect ways to compete, it provides insight. Google is going to continue to dominate search and be the platform to focus on for organic search results for the foreseeable future.

NETwork Ave is a Fort Collins SEO Agency serving Colorado’s Front Range.

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