Have you ever stopped to consider just how many websites there are?
Since the first ever website went live on August 6th, 1991, over one billion unique hostnames have come into existence, with more being developed every day.
This information should give you an insight into the difficulties associated with distinguishing yourself as an online brand. Regardless of what product or service you have decided to promote, you are contending against literally thousands of other companies attempting to attract the same customers. However, this isn’t to say that success in the digital world is unattainable; it just means that we have to get creative with our methods.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
While it’s true that you are contending with an overabundance of other online companies and services, observing customer behaviour can help you understand what is needed to succeed. It likely won’t come as much of a shock that the majority of users never make it past page 1 of Google, with anywhere from 75-95% of traffic going to these top 10 businesses. This, coupled with the fact that around 64% of all internet searches are powered by Google, should give you a good idea of the power that search rankings can offer. Depending on how you decide to look at it, this can be seen as terrifying pressure or hugely beneficial, as it gives your strategies direction and focus.
Instead of “How do I compete with innumerable other businesses for traffic?”, the question becomes “How do I now climb the rankings of Google?”.
So, how do you do it?
SEO marketing is a strategy that involves making your website more appealing to search engines. Google, for example, may be highly advanced, with the ability to crawl hundreds of millions of websites for the most relevant results for specific keywords, but it still relies on an algorithm that is incapable of abstract thought to make these judgement’s.
Understanding what this algorithm takes into account when determining keyword rankings can be tricky, even for those that have experience with it. This is made especially true due to Google’s tendency to keep quiet about the specifics of its processes. Luckily, there are digital marketing agencies that can take care of this for you, but there are still things you can do to give yourself a fighting start:
- Ensure that you have Meta Descriptions and Page Titles on your site. Even if you aren’t entirely savvy with the advantages of SEO, these simple touches can do a lot to make your pages look more professional.
- If you have chosen keywords that you wish to target, make sure that you aren’t over saturating your pages with them (a process known as “keyword stuffing”). Not only can this give search engines the impression of a spammy site, it can also turn off potential customers.
- Avoid putting links to your site in every place you can find. This may seem like a great way to boost your rankings and recognition, but placing your URL on low-quality websites can be detrimental, and hasn’t been shown to have many potential benefits.
Despite often being discussed as simply an offshoot of SEO strategies, PPC advertising should never be taken lightly. In simple terms, PPC is a service of Google AdWords, allowing website owners to bid for desirable rankings in regards to specified keywords. However, these businesses aren’t bidding for a set price. As the name suggests, PPC advertising functions on a cost-per-click basis, meaning that you pay based on the traffic you receive from this process.
While basic enough in theory, this adds a layer of strategy similar to a roulette wheel, as choosing the right keywords is the deciding factor between an unmitigated success and an expensive failure. You may choose a keyword that gets you an enormous boost in traffic, but have very few conversions. This would indicate that, while people were drawn to your site, your service did not offer what this audience expected. Another possibility is that you have gathered an enormous amount of sales, but since you’re paying USD $100 per click, it hasn’t translated into any income whatsoever.
PPC will always be a risk-and-reward strategy, and should only be taken on by those that have done thorough research into their field. With that said, it is indeed an excellent tool that can be a perfect starting point for businesses hoping to get their big break.
There are definitely more things to discuss, but hopefully this has given you a foothold when attempting to understand the possibilities offered by search engines. There is always more to discover within the digital landscape, and those that are willing to put in the research are already leagues above much of their competition.