Expert Tips: Search Engine Marketing

Mike Moran is a highly sought-after expert on all topics related to digital media marketing. He’s brought his expertise to businesses of all sizes through books such as Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (co-authored with Bill Hunt), and Do It Wrong Quickly. Here, he discusses some of the important aspects of using search engine marketing, technology, and related strategies to target audiences/markets, promote small businesses online, and improve sales

Keywords Social Media RedWeb analytics are a valuable tool for gauging website activity, but are important indicators sometimes overlooked?

Probably the biggest thing that businesses overlook in Web analytics is that merely gauging activity isn’t that useful. More website visitors or ad clicks are good, of course, but too many people focus on these small numbers while missing the big one—sales. Though it’s hard to count sales that result from digital marketing, making decisions off the wrong numbers just because they are easy to collect is not exactly the way to riches.

 

What are the keys to a successful search marketing strategy?

  • Find your target markets by identifying the right search keywords.
  • Find the right messaging by delivering pages that search engines find that searchers tend to choose.
  • Religiously test your post-search experience (online and offline) to maximize purchases.

You’ve written that people overlook importance of their own sites’ internal search functions.

True—most sites are designed around their most popular offerings, but some of your customers are interested in something less popular. If your site search facility sends them to the right place, then you have a chance to make a sale. But if your site navigation doesn’t make it easy to find these products, customers will probably go back to Google to search, and your site might or might not come up, possibly costing you a sale.

What are some tips for identifying the best search keywords for a small business website?

  • Brainstorm the words that you think your searchers might use. Include your product names, generic names for those products, and words that searchers might use when they need your product (including words about the problem that it solves). Involve as many people as you can in your brainstorming so that you get multiple points of view.
  • See what your competitors call the same products. You don’t have to use their brand names, but you might see words on their Web pages that you hadn’t thought of.
  • Use keyword tools from the search engines themselves. You can enter the words that you already thought of and the tools can suggest variations that you had not thought of.
  • Look at what words people already use to find your site. Your Web analytics package can show you these words.
  • If you have a site search engine, look at the words people use there. It can give you clues as to what words and phrases you might be missing.

What are some best practices for choosing the right keywords for a small business website?

Keywords are your market segments in search marketing, so focus on the ones that are the best matches for your site, not necessarily the ones that are the most popular. Rather than trying to think of “everything”—that is, words that almost no one uses, look for a middle ground of words that are at least somewhat popular and are very strong matches for your site. For each keyword phrase you select, ask yourself, “Should Google put a page from my site on the first page for this search phrase?” If the answer is no, then it’s not as important as other ones, even if it is popular. Be careful not to spend more time on than it is worth. It’s best to stick to words that will attract the searchers who are you best customers because their keywords match what you do.

Have a question about Search Engine Marketing? Connect with a SCORE mentor online or in your community today!

About the Author

Mike Moran HeadshotMike Moran is a highly sought-after expert on all topics related to digital media marketing. He’s brought his expertise to businesses of all sizes through books such as Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (co-authored with Bill Hunt), and Do It Wrong Quickly. Here, he discusses some of the important aspects of using search engine marketing, technology, and related strategies to target audiences/markets, promote small businesses online, and improve sales.