Online Marketing Basics

Having a website is not enough to make money online

Having a website is not enough to make money online

To promote your products and services successfully online, you need to understand a couple of key online marketing concepts:

  • Why online marketing is vital to your business survival
  • How people search for information online
  • How search engines deliver search results
  • How your website position in the search results affects your sales
  • What is web page ranking
  • What you need to do to get your website to the top of the search results
  • Why it is important to monitor your website traffic (or the lack of it)
  • What is a visitor conversion ratio
  • Why is it important to have an online marketing strategy prior to designing and promoting your website

arketing Basics – How people search for the information online

In the “offline” world people page through Golden Pages or ask questions. The questions are usually posed as full sentences. eg. Where can I buy yellow widgets? The person who answers usually assumes that they want to know a recommended local supplier of yellow widgets.

In the “online” world  things are a bit different. We seldom use full sentences, we just use keywords. We therefore type : “yellow widgets Dublin” or “Dublin yellow widgets” or “supplier yellow widgets Dublin” or “yellow widgets for sale Dublin“. The problem is that although we searched for the same thing , by using different keywords we most probably received four very different results.

What does it mean to you? It means that if you are trying to market your products or services online, unless you use the same keywords people are using in their search to create your website content and to optimise your website, your website will never be found by your potential customers.

It is therefore very important to do keyword research and decide which keywords are worth targeting before you embark on designing your website or launching an online marketing campaign.

You can find out more about Keyword Research here.

 

Online Marketing Basics – How search engines present your search results and why your website may never make it to the top of the list

When you search for the information online, you enter the keywords into a search engine query box.

After you press the search button, the search engine checks its index for the web pages that match your query and by applying its “search algorithm“, it filters, sorts them and presents them to you in a specific order, 10 results per page.

However, before your website can be found in Google or other search engine, it first has to be indexed. Each search engine maintains an index of all the web pages, similar to an old fashion library index.

This index stores information about the content of each web page. When somebody searches for a specific term e.g. “website design dublin”,  the search engine checks the index and retrieves only the web pages that contain the keywords “website design dublin”.

The pages retrieved are then sorted and listed in the search results according its relevancy, authority and popularity.  In order to be listed on the first page of the search results, your web page must therefore be seen as more relevant, more important and more popular than thousands or even millions of other web pages that target the same keyword.

Web page position in the organic search results can be increased through the process called Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). You can find out more about  Search Engine Optimisation process and the SEO services we offer on the Search Engine Optimisation page.

One of the drawbacks of organic search engine rankings is the time it takes to get to the top of the pile. Older websites typically require less time than new websites with a newly registered domain. Also the ever changing search engine ranking algorithms means the process needs to be ongoing to be successful. However, if you make it to the top, you gain the majority of the market share.

 

Online Marketing Basics – How your website position in the search results affects your sales

Online Marketing is a race, where the winner takes it all… Well, maybe not all but the majority of sales.

According to the latest research, the first listing in the search results attracts 36% of all traffic, while the second only 13%, . As you can see the difference between the first an the second position can translate into 65% less traffic and up to 75% less in revenue.

Lets assume that there are on average 100 people searching for your type of products or services per day and only one in 5 visitors buys. Lets also assume that your average sale is €500. If your website was placed first in the search results, you would have made €3500 that day. If it was in position two, only €1000.

It is therefore important to put the costs of Search Engine Optimisation in perspective. If you had to spend €5,000 – €10,000 on optimising your page over a year it may seem like a lot. But if SEO helped you move from position 312 to position 2 or even 1, you would have recovered that investment in a few days.

If you would like to find out more about Search Engine Optimisation and see if it would be beneficial to your business, go to our Search Engine Optimisation Services page or contact us.

 

Online Marketing Basics – What is web page rank

Google Page Rank

Google Page Rank

Page Rank is a numeric value that represents how important a page is on the web. Google uses numbers from 0 – 10 and and the rank importance goes in an ascending order. The higher the number the stronger is the Page Rank.

Google PageRank uses a logarithmic scale. This means that there will be many more PR 6 than PR 7 sites, and many more PR 5 than PR 6 sites, etc. It also means that there will be very few websites with PR 9, and even fewer with PR 10.

Page Rank 2 is not twice as good as Page Rank=1, but more like 10 times better. Page Rank=3 is probably 100 times better than Page Rank=1 and 10 times better than Page Rank=2 and so on…

Why is Page Rank important? Page Rank is not one of the most important things you should worry about, however Google uses page rank to value your outbound and inbound  links. It is therefore one of the factors that determines your webpage position in the search results.

If you are lucky enough to have a few links from hight authority sites (with Page Rank 5 and above), all other things made equal, those links will place you in front of another website that has maybe 10,000 links but they all come from websites with a Page Rank=0.

Internal and external linking affects the rank of your website and your individual web pages. If you link your pages incorrectly or provide reciprocal links, you could be losing your Page Rank. It is therefore important that your website is optimised or at least verified by an experienced SEO professional.

Online Marketing Basics – What you need to do to get your website to the top of the search results

How to get to the top of Google

There is no great mistery in how to get to the top of the search results. You simply need to have a better website than your competitors.

Better website means – better domain name, better optimised content, more pages, more links, better links and so on.

As discussed before , Google ranks pages in the search results based on close to 200 different factors, such as content, relevancy, popularity, page loading speed, the level of search engine optimisation and even where your website is hosted.

Getting to the fist page of the the search results is frequently a long and arduous process, but the end result is well worth the effort.

If you do your own search engine optimisation and link building, you need to remember that it takes time, consistency and painstaking monitoring of your competitors.

Although you can optimise your pages using free software, this method is so time consuming , you will soon give up.

If you insist in doing it yourself, invest at least in some page optimisation software, but remember that SEO has become very specialised and it is best left to the professionals who know what they are doing.

Online Marketing Basics – Why it is important to monitor your website traffic (or the lack of it)

Google Dashboard

Google Dashboard

Your success in Online Marketing depends largely on your ability to test and measure the results of your marketing efforts.

In online marketing you should never assume anything – test and measure, test and measure…This is the best advice.

For instance, imagine that you are running a Pay Per Click Advertising Campaign for dog training.

Do you really know which ad is better? It is not just a case of which ad brings in more leads, but which ad provides a better return on your marketing investment.

Compare Ad 1 vs Ad 2

Tired Of Wet Carpets?
Dog Training Tips!
Any Breed, Any Age
xyzdogtraining.com
Easy dog training!
Dog Training Tips!
Any Breed, Any Age
xyzdogtraining.com

For example Ad 1 brought 100 leads at $1.5 per lead and Ad 2 only 90 leads at $0.71 per lead.

Which ad, in your opinion, performed better in the end ?

You would not know an answer to this question unless you set some success measurement criteria and some targets for your online marketing campaign.

If your target was to generate as many leads as possible, then the first campaign was the winner. However if your objective was to generate leads without exceeding a €100 budget, then the second campaign was the winner.

The same approach should apply to everything you do online. Set up targets and performance measurements before you launch any marketing campaign.

Your choice of web analytics is very important. You should measure what matters – how many visitors your website gets? Is the trend upwards or downwards? Is your position for specific keywords improving or getting worse?Where the traffic comes from? Which keywords bring the most of your visitors? What is your convertion rate and so on.

It is shocking to see how many websites are out there without any analytics installed… Trust us, you will get nowhere online unless you know your numbers.

If your site doesn’t have analytics code installed, contact us. For a small monthly fee, we can install analytics on your site and monitor your traffic, conversion ratios and other statistics. We can also alert you when things are not going the way they should.

Once you have analytics in place, you are no longer shooting in the dark. You can pinpoint the areas that need to be improved and make informed decisions on how to allocate your online marketing budget.

Online Marketing Basics – What is a visitor conversion ratio and what affects it

sample website heatmap

sample website heatmap

A visitor conversion ratio is a number which tells you how many people perform a desired action on your website (eg download a file, leave contact details or go ahead with a purchase) in comparison to the total number of people who visit your website.

If one in 5 of your visitors buy or leave contact details, your conversion ration is 20%.

The higher the conversion ratio, the better it is. Conversion rate or conversion ratio should always be one of your website performance measurements.

A conversion ratio can be affected by many factors:

  • how relevant is your website content to the search term
  • how compelling is you sales message
  • how your content is placed on the page
  • how good is your navigation
  • how good are your calls to action
  • how appealing is your web design

Conversion rate can be improved by analysing your website, making some changes to it and testing and measuring the response. A heatmap is often used to determine where your most important content should be placed.

If you would like to improve a conversion ration of your website, contact us.

 

Online Marketing Basics – Why is it important to have an online marketing strategy prior to designing and promoting your website?

Online marketing strategy

Online marketing strategy

An online marketing strategy is nothing more than a plan of action for driving visitors to our website and convincing them to take action –  to read your offer, leave their contact details or make a purchase.

However, in order to define this strategy, you need to know, at least in theory, what keywords you are going to target, what traffic generation techniques you have at your disposal, what results are you likely to get and what costs vs returns can you expect from each marketing channel.

If your target is to get 100 leads for your new product, you need to define how you are going to achieve it. Hit and miss approach can prove very expensive, so defining your online marketing strategy before you blow your budget is advisable .

You can find more information about online marketing strategy here.

Online Marketing Basics – The Conclusion

In a nutshell, online marketing follows a simple model:

website + traffic + conversion = sale

Unfortunately, most small businesses get hung up on website design, spending silly amounts of money on designing and endlessly tweaking it, rather than focusing their efforts on creating quality content, generating traffic and improving their visitor conversion.

For your online marketing to be effective, you need to create a synergistic plan of action – a website is just one element of it. If you need some help with creating an effective online marketing strategy for your business, contact us.

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