Saturday, October 25, 2008

Watch Your Money with Search Engine Marketing

There is a new growth industry among us. Many companies want to convince you to write a check, appear on the 1st page of Google, and just watch your business grow. As in any industry, there are many credible companies with solid products that conduct their business in an ethical manner and produce good results. Yet, beware of the sharks that will take your money and provide little value in return.

The real story of gaining a strong online presence is a bit more complex. I have outlined some ways to improve your ranking with a solid investment of time over money.

* Optimize your site with good keywords. Go to a keyword index, such as You can find the keywords that online users search most often. Select three to five keywords for each page and have those words listed in the keyword section of your site's administrative functions. Then, make those words bold and place them at the beginning or end of a sentence. Bolding and placement will make it easier for search engine spiders to find these words.

* Use free classified directories as much as possible. Find ways to advertise your products or services online or possibly remotely. Place ads on Craig's List, Backpage, City Listing, GoGinzo and others. You might be surprised about how many credible customers are using these sites to look for products/services. However, there is a second reason to use these directories. Each time you place an ad, you have an online presence. If you place a free ad that says Copywriter in Denver on Craig's List, and a user does a search for the same phrase, then they may find your ad without logging into Craig's List at all.

* Make an effort to use social networking sites, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Digg. The more connections, associations and links that you make to solid sites, the better off you will be in terms of searchability. The true value of LinkedIn will not be from a former associate looking you up years later (although that might happen). The best benefit of these sites is from someone looking for your service and reading about expertise that you provide. The more connections or associations that you have, the easier it will be for someone to find you and your website.

* Lastly, blog, blog, blog. As a professional, you have knowledge and something to say that people will find valuable. Start your own blog and post frequently on other ones. It will increase your knowledge, make you more visible, and can be entertaining.

In summary, if you have the funds to pay a company to move you up the search engines, then consider it a valuable option. Yet, be careful that your service is one people often look for online. Also, as in many other things in life, research and know the company who will do the work.

If you follow these ideas listed here, you can substantially increase your web presence with an investment of time instead of money. This presence will not grow overnight. However, you will steadily build an online brand and increase your web hits by incrementally becoming more connected and visible in the crowded, yet crucial online marketplace.