A few weeks back I was providing a marketing consultation for a start-up law firm when the topic of Internet marketing came up. More specifically, we discussed what it took for someone in a highly competitive field, such as legal, to purchase ads that could be visible on Google searches. The senior partner was utterly shocked as to how expensive it could be for just one click of an ad – given the fact that other firms were driving these rates up by, what in simplest terms can be construed as, a bidding war.
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While paid online advertising is a viable marketing channel, it can be somewhat overwhelming for a small business with relatively few marketing dollars. With that, let’s focus on organic searches. Organic searches are simply the results you get in the middle of your screen after entering in a word or phrase. These types of searches are highly coveted because they more trusted (by the searcher) and free (for you as the link provider).
The problem, however, is knowing what it takes to show up on Google’s radar. Before offering tips, know that Google accounts for over 80% of all web searches globally. Second, know that the advice offered is merely scratching the surface and should be viewed from a concept-standpoint, rather than a cut-and-paste formula. Let’s begin:
SEO Firms. Be Cautious There are search engine optimization (SEO) firms out there that promise to get you up to the first page on Google. Be very skeptical. While there are reputable firms that can do this, countless others do not have your best interest at heart. If an SEO outfit is so great, why can’t you find them with a relevant term on Google? Ask tough questions.
Relevant Text Google’s search results are largely furnished by text gathered from webpages. If your page is devoid of actual text, images and flash items are not likely to help. For those of you that are not tech-savvy, a picture that contains words will not count either. If you’re unsure about this or the subsequent tips, get with your computer guy or gal for further explanation.
Webmaster Tools Google provides a free service called, Webmaster Tools. This service provides a free, ongoing review of your site. It will alert you to any potential search related issues that is found in your site.
Descriptive LinksIf possible, give all of the links or pages of your site descriptive names. For instance, if your webpage is www.yourdomain.com , the page for your sales should be something like, www.yourdomain.com/sales_items. Links like these are more visible to search engines.
Strength in Numbers Work the blogosphere to get as many mentions about your site as possible. Google tends to pay attention to you if others are.
Do Not Strong-arm the SystemAs you learn about boosting your search position, do not take your knowledge overboard. More specifically, do not try to artificially enhance your position by doing things like, placing a key phrase on your site too many times, try to use Wikipedia as a backdoor marketing tool, or use page redirections to mask the final destination in which visitors will end up. Links have been eliminated altogether from searches for such practices.
Walter Dailey is a proven creative strategist. He’s the lead consultant and executive producer for Dailey Sound Vector, a creative services organization that specializes in jingles, radio ads and musiclicensing development for small and mid-sized businesses. Walter is finally on Twitter. Follow him here: @wrdailey