Search Engine Optimization
Google, Bing, and smaller search engines control the internet. They control it because they are the ones that they choose what users can find on the internet. These search engines are the ones that dictate what will appear on page one of the searches.
As a business that has an online presence, it is imperative that it appears on page 1 of Google, and more importantly to appear as the first result on the first page. This is due to the fact that the first site gets 36.4% of the clicks while the site at the bottom gets 2%.
With over a billion websites out there, all the search engines have to come up with a way to rank which site will be most useful to the user. They came up with algorithms and machine learning to rank the web pages.
The algorithms used are a well-guarded secret because if anyone finds a way of understanding them then she will take advantage of them. As a result, the algorithms keep being changed so often and being on page 1 isn’t promised. A recent update prevented more than one site being featured on Google search.
Since they don’t let people know how the algorithms work Google tries to help better websites to appear on page 1 by giving out rules on how to do it. If the rules are followed, there is a likely chance of the website being ranked as first. The method of getting your website to the first page is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
SEO works by including keywords that relate to your product or service being sold on your site. This works by when people search the same keywords on search engines then your website appears. To get the right keywords, you would need to do some research to get what keywords your audience is searching.
Working on SEO takes a lot of time to get to the first 3 spots and when you are there, you have to fight future competition. The results of doing so are worth it for your business as stated earlier they help you get the most business.
SEO is a broad topic but here are some quick tips to help increase your ranking:
- Remove anything that slows down your site.
- Link to other websites with relevant content.
- Create in-depth content
- Write for human beings and not for search engines
- Get quality sites to link to you
- Write unique meta descriptions
- Use the right keywords for your images.
Knowing that it takes a while before you are able to dominate the search engines by being on page 1 and the first position, there has to be another solution to get your name out there.
In comes paid search, or pay per click – PPC – where you pay the search engines to display your ads when certain keywords are searched. PPC is what people think of when they think of online advertising and are scared about it because they don’t understand it.
PPC search ads are found on the top of the search results. Not to be confused by the organic listings they have the “ad” notation on it. This shows the users that these are paid ads.
PPC works by advertisers choosing relevant terms or keywords to bid on that cause text-based ads to be shown to web users when they enter search queries similar to the keywords into search engines.
For example, if your business sells beds, you might want to bid on the following keywords “comfortable beds”. When a user searches for beds using the words “quality beds” your ads will be triggered and displayed to the user. Depending on the user’s intent, he may buy your bed immediately.
PPC is as simple as that. PPC works only when someone clicks on your ads. If by any chance the user searches on cheap beds and sees that you aren’t offering what they are looking for then they don’t click the ads. Meaning you as an advertiser do not pay for the search ads.
As this is simple for many advertisers to do, many of them were bidding large amounts of money to be on top of the searches. To ensure quality ads are shown, Google came up with a way of ranking which ads would be displayed.
Google ads are displayed when the user searches using certain terms that trigger keywords which then put in ad auction and whichever ads that have the best ranking appear first. The Ad rank is based on quality score and bid price.
For a successful Google Ads campaign, keywords should be very relevant to the business, structured into ad groups and have the correct match type in order to be displayed.
Following paid search would be paid social. Paid social is the same as paid search but using paid ads on social networks. Paid search changed internet advertising but paid social is changing how people use the internet today.
Social networking sites are very popular these days with 80% of adults having social accounts. With the number going higher with children who are 13 years and older.
Facebook still remains king with the highest number of followers on its platform. While twitter lies a close second. Snapchat, Instagram, Reddit and the rest follow.
Paid social is mainly different from paid search in that with social ads, the advertisers look for the consumer. With search ads, the consumer looks for the advertiser. There are many other differences between the two mediums for example:
- The targeting method is different. With search ads, advertisers use keywords while in social ads they use demographics
- Social ads have a lower cost per click or cost per mille
- User intent is very different.
Social ads are very granular and advertisers can benefit from this a lot. Advertisers can target demographic data – age, gender, income, level of education, and marital status- browsing preference, interest, and social behaviour. These allow the ads to be more targeted and more effective for the advertisers.
There are many social networks out there and more and more of them are offering ads to advertisers. Each platform has its own identity and advertisers can choose wisely what will work for them or not. For example, Pinterest started offering ads recently has said its users are unique in that they are ready to buy and are looking for items you cant get anywhere else.