Google was founded on September 4th, 1998 and it was not long after that the term SEO became more prominent. The actual start time of when development began, according to Wikipedia.org, was March of 1996. The project began with a goal by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, which was “to develop the enabling technologies for a single, integrated and universal digital library”.
It was not long after the launch of Google (which started to rapidly gain the trust of users for returning the most accurate search results), that the term “Search Engine Optimization” (SEO) appeared (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_engine_optimization). Search engine optimization, which started to gain momentum in the mid-90s (see Wikipedia.org), was the real buzzword in the industry. It seemed this buzzword went hand-in-hand with the word “marketing”. In fact, it became so big, that rather than getting a BA Marketing degree from a university, some claimed to be an SEO expert after merely watching a 20-minute YouTube video.
With the introduction of Google Penguin last year, times have changed. The way business is marketed on the web has changed. Some are now claiming that the term SEO is seen in a very negative light by Google. When you think about it, this does make sense. Why would someone need to “optimize” their site for search, when one should be developing their site for the best possible user experience?
Part of optimizing a website for the best user experience breaks down to points such as communication, colours used, where the user will look on their screen for items, how well written help files are, et cetera. This is not SEO, this is a combination of marketing and usability (a part of marketing).
This is just the user experience side. Great, you have an excellent website that has a wonderful user experience – now how do you get the users to your website? Marketing.
There is a large array of tools for a marketing agency to draw upon to help drive traffic to a particular website, but the mainstay tools are:
- Pay Per Click (PPC)
- Press release distribution
- Some basic directory listings
- Company blog
- Social media
- Affiliate programs
Pay Per Click
Pay per click is one of the easiest and fastest ways to “get going” on the web. Although some programs can become quite extensive to set up, for the most part, depending on your business, you can start to drive traffic almost instantly. Google, which is very high on many marketers’ list of PPC resources, has many attractive options and features on offer.
Press Release Distribution / Press Release Service
A press release would be a very close second to the PPC program for many marketers. The main difference between the two is that a press release, if you do the math on the numbers, is much more cost effective. PPC however, if set up properly, may draw a more targeted audience that might be more inclined to actually make a purchase. A press release (such as one from 24-7PressRelease.com) will definitely gain exposure, especially if picked up by some key media outlets.
Basic Directory Listings
Directories are no longer what they used to be, however there are a few key directories that are still useful to be listed in. A couple that we have always liked are Yahoo Directory, DMOZ, Bing, and Joe Ant. Directories used to be all the rage; however, this is no longer the focus. The focus now is more on social media.
A company blog is a must in this day and age. I had read a saying not too long ago that if you do not have an online presence, including a company blog, that you are either not attracting business, or are losing existing customers. Many websites now point to their blog which is a more interactive place to see everything from what is new with a company, current discussions to potential coupons and discounts.
Social media and a company blog some say may go hand in hand. Social media would include your Facebook page, Linked In profile, and now, ever more importantly, a Google Plus page. Google Plus has become more and more popular and will continue to increase in popularity. I remember about 18 months ago looking for other people and business acquaintances whom were active on Google Plus and I could barely find anyone. I revisited Google Plus a few months back to find nearly 80% of friends and business acquaintances now active on that network. When you think about it, Google search and Google Plus are both the same company. Why wouldn’t it help improve your website’s rankings?
This is the last main tool in a marketer’s toolkit. The affiliate program, such as one from a place like CJ.com, is a brilliant way to both receive exposure on the web, and also help cast a larger net for your product or service. There are many companies out there that perform this service, and it will take some research to find one that best suits your requirements. Like PPC, these services can become quite extensive, to the point where some companies have just one person that handles only their affiliate work.
Whether you use these tools above or you hire a professional marketing company that uses these tools, remember to keep in mind that your online presence is about marketing and not “optimizing”. The only thing that should be optimized is your site for the best user experience possible. Not for a search engine.Google+