Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Affordable Solutions For Internet Marketing
Do you have a website that is getting very little or no traffic at all? Well, there are ways that you can change that even on a small marketing budget. We will review each of the strategies you can use to promote your website, and then we will try to assimilate them into a single, uniform strategy that is both highly effective and affordable.
First of all, TV commercials, radio ads, and print advertising are very expensive. This is undoubtedly the best way to launch a business, but the costs are prohibitive. A full page ad in a prominent magazine or other publication can run as high as $50,000 per ad. TV commercials can run just as high; if the commercial runs during a popular television show or sporting event, the cost will be enormous.
So, if you do not have enough money in the coffers for traditional advertising, you will likely have to use online marketing. This is not a bad thing. Offline advertising (i.e. radio, TV, print ads) is sometimes not effective. Marketing on the internet is cheaper, and if done correctly, can give you much more bang for your buck.
Obviously, the cornerstone of internet marketing is search engine submission and optimization. There are hundreds of different search engines and directories on the internet where you can submit your web site for a listing. This is fairly easy to do. Simply sign up for a monthly submission plan with a credible search engine submission service. There are literally hundreds of these submission services on the internet; you can find them by performing a search on Google.
However, be wary of submitters that claim to be able to submit your site to 75,000 search engines. Such services are scams, and they will submit your web page to FFA pages and bogus link pages that can actually get you banned from the search engines. You should only do business with submission services that submit to the major search engines and directories.
Now that we have covered submission, we need to talk about search engine optimization (SEO), which is even more important. To optimize a site, you need to maximize keyword density and optimize the positioning for the words or phrases that best characterize the subject matter of your site, and you need to use proper Meta tags so that the search engines can interpret your web pages.
If you do not know how to optimize your web site, you should search for an optimization professional on Google. Steer clear of SEO experts who want to charge $1,000 per month or more. Their goal is to bleed you dry before you figure out that they really can not help you get to the top of the rankings. Stick to providers who will optimize your site for a one-time fee.
More important than SEO is link popularity. Link popularity is the number of web sites that currently link to your site. The more inbound links you acquire, the higher your search engine ranking will be. There are more than a few ways to acquire links, but I have a certain strategy that worked well for me.
My advice to you is to write articles and press releases and submit them to article directories and press release distribution services who will then distribute your articles and press releases to other websites who will publish them and in return link back to you. Also, you can submit your site to bloggers through a popular service called Blogitive (Blogitive will get blogs to post one-way anchor text links to your site in their blog, which will greatly enhance your search engine ranking).
If you are not patient enough to wait for your search engine ranking to improve, you can attract visitors to your web site instantly by using pay-per-click advertising (PPC). With PPC, you pay a certain cost per click to have an ad for your web page run at or near the top of the search engine listings for certain keywords. This can be extremely costly and ineffective. It is not uncommon for webmasters to blow thousands of dollars on PPC advertising and make only a few sales.
The best way to promote your site, if you are actually selling something, is through an affiliate program. You need to provide an affiliate code to other online merchants so that they will place your banner on their site; every time you make a sale that resulted from an affiliate referral, the affiliate gets a commission. Some internet companies have thousands of affiliates, and get all the business they would ever need or want this way; and it costs you nothing.
To recruit affiliates, you should submit your affiliate program to as many directories as possible (there are directories where you can list your affiliate program for free). The best way to find affiliates is by listing your program on forums or message boards visited by webmasters who are looking to generate additional revenue for their online business. You will have to consult with an experienced programmer who can set up the affiliate program so that the codes used to track sales for each affiliate will work properly.
So, to summarize, you should first optimize your website and submit it to search engines. You should then begin submitting articles and press releases to article directories and press release distribution services. You should also submit your site to Blogitive so that bloggers will write a review of your site and link to it, further boosting your link popularity. You might want to join a link exchange, but trading links often proves fruitless. Also, you should set up an affiliate program. And finally, you should budget a small amount of money to spend each week on pay-per-click.
If you are persistent and use all of these methods, you will continually increase your traffic over a period of time. It will probably take approximately 3 years of performing each of the tasks outlined in this article, on a daily basis, to get where you want to be. Just stick with it and your efforts will be rewarded in the long run.
About the Author: Jim Pretin is the owner of http://www.forms4free.com, a service that helps programmers make an HTML form.
Source: Entireweb Newsletter * July 31, 2007 * Issue #357
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