Three Components of an Online Presence
Feeds, walls, vlogs, blogs, tweets, backlinks… With so many internet marketing trends and buzzwords out there, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. And that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. In this post, we’ve tried to boil all the major components of a web presence into three parts: on-site optimization, dynamic content, and pay-per-click advertising.
1) ON-SITE OPTIMIZATION
Obviously, this is the starting point for your online presence. This component includes both the site design and its page content. Optimizing a website is called “on-page” optimization – and it’s what Google needs to properly index (and serve) your site.
The main things to keep in mind are:
- Relevant Content: Does your site have enough relevant information to satisfy a visitor? Remember, Google’s job is to give people exactly what they’re looking for. Often times, a website will have tons of information about the company, but very little information about what that company can do for the visitor. Google will probably not send people to that site.
- Good Design: Is the site hard to read or difficult to navigate? This is much more important than how flashy the site is. In short, simpler is usually better. It is important to design the site after the content and the structure of the site are firmly developed. Otherwise, you may end up with a beautiful site that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to the visitor.
- Make your site search engine friendly: This can also be called on-page (or on-site) optimization. In short, make sure the site follows web standards to be sure it’s visible to search engines. As an example, let’s say you are a neighborhood restaurant with nightly drink specials. On your website, there’s a photograph with file name “image_421.jpg.” This means nothing to a search engine. However, a file named “waiter-serving-cocktails.jpg” can be understood by Google. Google will then give your page points for containing relevant photos.
2) DYNAMIC CONTENT
Search engines need a website to index so they know who you are, where you are and what you do. But what search engines crave is relevant, dynamic content. This is a big part of what we mean by “search engine optimization” and is sometimes referred to as “off-site” content. The purpose of creating this content is to drive people back to your site. Here are a few different types of dynamic content:
- Blogging: A business blog is typically displayed on a subpage of the main website. Blogs are important because they add to the conversation and make you a voice (and ultimately an authority) in your market. It really comes down to common sense: if you sell rugs, blog about rugs. This will give you an advantage over your competition simply because there is more of you on the web than there is of your competition.
- Link Building: The more inbound links there are to your site, the more relevant and trustworthy your site will be to search engines. For example, if an online news story writes about your company and includes a link to your website, Google will be much more likely to see you as a trusted source and send more people your way.
- Social Media Integration: While social media is more conducive to some companies than others, it can be a very valuable marketing tool for businesses. If you own a restaurant and have drink and dinner specials, for example, Twitter and Facebook are great ways to get your message out there. Social media can also be a great way to expand your network to be “top of mind” in your community.
3) PAY-PER-CLICK ADVERTISING
Lastly, there is paid advertising – or pay-per-click advertising. This is how search engines make money, and it’s how a lot of companies drive traffic to their site. If you have ever used a search engine, you have seen paid ads. In Google, for example, search results are displayed in two ways. The main column of content on the left-hand side of the page displays “organic results,” which are based on your website and your dynamic content we mentioned earlier. Paid ads (Google Adwords) are found on the right-hand side of the page. Every time you click on one of those ads, the advertiser pays the search engine. The more competitive the market, the more you’ll pay for the click.
However, be careful with paid search. It’s easy to spend money bringing people to your site that ultimately are not looking for your product or service. Unless you are prepared to do the research, it is advisable to work with a professional on developing a paid search campaign. To learn more about pay-per-click advertising, visit the advertising page of Google, Bing, or Yahoo (the three most popular search engines).
We hope this has been helpful. Just remember, it doesn’t really matter how you attract people to your site. What matters is whether or not it’s working. Feel free to call or email us with any questions – and, as always, visit us on Facebook or Twitter to share ideas.