After a successful run focusing on local or nationwide clientele for your business, it’s natural to think of digital globalization as your next step. Obviously, only businesses that sell products online or intend to open new branches in other countries to offer services benefit from globalization, but for those who do want to access a foreign market or several foreign markets, the results tend to be well worth the effort. It is possible to expand your search engine marketing to target a global market in a manageable, easy-to-implement fashion.
EMarketer predicts that the total amount of money spent on online advertising will outgrow the amount spent on TV advertising in 2017. If your business’ marketing budget is already stretches as far as it’s able, divert funds intended for other forms of marketing to SEM globalization. Take a look at what’s not performing as well – TV, radio and print, for example – and shift all or a portion of those funds to globalization instead. That way, you don’t have to drum up more financing and you won’t be at a huge loss if your initial globalization experiments don’t work out as well as you planned.
Zero in on a Handful of Countries
When considering globalization, your instinct might be to go wide – to target as much of the globe as possible. However, that will stretch your limited marketing budget and resources too thin too quickly. Start by zeroing in on three countries maximum – or even one country at the beginning. Use research data and sales from comparable businesses in the industry that have already gone global to determine which country or countries to target first. Do research into the shoppers in those nations; particularly in how they differ from the American shoppers you’re used to targeting. For example, French consumers may put more emphasis on fashionable clothing instead of affordable threads.
Look at What Works Domestically
The strategies that work best for your business in domestic markets will work best abroad with some small tweaks. For example, HubSpot reports that 61 percent of global Internet users research products online. It’s a universal trend, and chances are, your SEM already targets consumers who are attempting to research the types of products you sell. Use these same strategies but change geo-targeting keywords to cities in the nations you hope to reach, and translate the keywords into other languages as necessary. (If you really want to keep globalization manageable, though, you might want to at least start with only other nations that use English.)
To get a better handle on your global SEM efforts, start by focusing on one to three other countries. If these efforts work to introduce buyers from other countries as well, all the better, but you’ll see the best results if you narrow your focus and try different strategies in specific markets. Keep your SEM strategies manageable; work your way up to globalizing more of these strategies over time, and you’ll find that your globalization efforts are successful.
Thanks to attractive and simple-to-use templates, it’s easier than ever for companies to launch a new website. Even online stores are available in template form through hosting services that specialize in e-commerce. Some of these templates, particularly the ones without a store interface, are even free. If you’re part of a very small or new operation, it’s tempting to rely on one of these templates and simply plug your information in. However, even if you start with a template, it’s still important you customize it to suit your business and to optimize your website’s functionality and search engine results.
Change the Images
The simplest change you can make to a template website is to replace any stock photos with your own images – even your own stock photo choices. A company logo, professional quality photos of your products, satisfied customers, services, place of operations, and staff members are a good place to start. However, even just choosing different stock images will at least set your site apart from another business in the same industry that uses the same template.
Be sure, though, not to overload the site with too many images or images of too high picture quality. Adobe reports that 39 percent of people will leave a website if images take too long to load. As long as the image looks crisp and clear, you don’t need the biggest file size.
Highlight the Important Information
Tweak the template whenever necessary to put an emphasis on the important information most relevant to your company. For example, swap the “Contact” page from the very bottom of a template to the menu at the top, as it’s one of the most important pages for any business website. According to Ko Marketing Associates, 44 percent of website visitors will stop engaging a website if they can’t find a phone number or contact information.
Remove and add pages to a template to make your website truly representative of your business. If you’re not selling services and don’t need to display a portfolio of your work, remove a “Gallery” page. If you have testimonials to include, add “Testimonials.”
Add SEO Content
Add a blog to the template if it doesn’t include one already. Every business website needs a blog or news page because frequently updated content keeps a website higher in the search rankings. This is where you’ll manage to get a lot of terms relevant to your industry onto your website. For example, “affordable copyediting,” a common search term for those seeking copyeditors, should appear at least once a post if you offer copyediting services. Tweak any of the page information already provided with the template as well. The goal is to optimize search engine results for your website and to differentiate it from any other company that relies on the same template.
If you can afford it, it’s worth hiring experts to develop your site from scratch simply because it’ll stand out from the crowd and be fully customized to your business right from the start. You’ll also be able to rely on the web designer for any issues and updates. It’s probably less expensive than you might think. However, it’s worth putting up a free template website even as a place holder website as you develop your brand, and even a template can prove customizable.
Whenever companies set search engine marketing (SEM) strategies into motion, their foremost concern is eliciting attention from Google. As Expanded Ramblings reports, Google has an 89 percent share of the United States’ mobile organic search market and a 63.8 percent share of the country’s desktop organic search market. In other words, if you’re going to target a specific search engine, it should absolutely be Google. When making an effort to get your company’s website noticed by the world’s most popular search engine, the following strategies are sure to produce favorable results.
Offer Incentives to Link Sharers
Having a solid assortment of links to your company’s site floating around the web is a great way to grab Google’s attention. With this in mind, encourage any visitors who like what they see to share links to your site on their personal blogs or websites. (You should also encourage them to share links on their respective social media accounts, although this won’t necessarily boost your search engine ranking.) In order to provide link-sharers with a little incentive, consider offering them digital coupons or special discounts on services. As reported by Digital Current, many companies already have large networks of influencers at their disposal – they simply don’t realize it.
Engage in a PPC Arrangement with Google
There’s nothing wrong with trying to boost your site’s Google ranking organically. Not only are organic efforts incredibly cost-effective, they can have substantial long-term payoffs. However, if you’re hoping to see immediate results, you’re plumb out of luck. On average, it takes new companies between six months and one year to see a noticeable increase in their Google ranking. Thus, in addition to your organic SEM efforts, it pays to engage in a pay-per-click (PPC) arrangement with Google in your website’s early days. Per this arrangement, Google will display ads for your website at the very top and right-hand-side of its organic search listings. Each time someone clicks on your ad, you’ll be charged a previously agreed-upon sum. Fledgling companies whose marketing budgets aren’t particularly robust should be aware that this can prove very expensive, particularly if you have a large number of local competitors.
Register Your Company in Online Directories
Registering your company in online business directories is a great way to get some love from Google. There are thousands of business directories floating around the web, and the more you register with, the greater your chances are of being noticed by the world’s most popular search engine. Naturally, you’ll want to start with Google’s directory, but take care to branch out and register your company with Bing and Yahoo!’s directories, too. Furthermore, directories like SuperPages and YellowPages.com should not be ignored, as Google uses directories like these to confirm the existence of companies.
Given Google’s unrivaled popularity – both in the U.S. and abroad – it’s no wonder this iconic search engine heavily factors into so many companies’ SEM endeavors. If you’re interested in drumming up a sizable amount of new traffic and reaching out to a wider audience, there’s no substitute for a Google-focused search engine marketing campaign. The results may not be instantaneous, but the rewards will be long-term.
The cornerstone of any good online marketing campaign is search engine optimization, but with popular search engines such as Google and Yahoo updating their algorithms on a consistent basis, it can be difficult to keep ahead of the game. Even if you get a marketing campaign to work for a short period, with fluctuating rules and customer tastes, it’s possible for what once worked for you to peter out in time. At least four times a year, commit to doing three SEO exercises to see if your current campaign is really getting results and makes changes accordingly.
Check Your Mobile Optimization
The Phoenix Marketing International Research report says customers check their mobile devices upward of 100 times a day, and more than half the time they spend online is on a smartphone or tablet. Your website needs to run well on mobile devices, otherwise all of your SEO search term work will prove fruitless. If a search term brings a customer to your site on a mobile device and she finds it to be a frustrating experience, she’s not going to return, even if she sees your website pop up again and again in search engine results.
Collect data on what brings people to your website, and if they explore the website for long after reaching that landing page. If search engines aren’t the top referrers, you need to adjust your keywords.
Try Streamlining Marketing Channels
When you get some customers to visit from a social media post, others from an email newsletter and still others from search engine results, it’s easy for the tone and message of your company or website to become muddled. According to Oracle, 80 percent of customers notice this clunky transition from one platform to the next. The best way to combat this is not to separate your marketing team into different groups that develop different platforms, or if you must, to regularly convene to discuss streamlining your marketing channels. Not only should the look of each of these sources remain similar, but the content should as well. Come up with a company tone – humorous, sassy, informative – and keep it consistent throughout.
Search Different Keywords
The best test to see how your website is ranking compared to similar websites is to regularly search keywords relevant to your business. Search the ones you’ve chosen to focus on as well as ones that get less of your attention but still might bring people to your site. If your business isn’t on the first page of search engine results, you’re unlikely to be bringing in customers with those words, as few people scroll further.
The Internet is always evolving, and businesses and website owners have to evolve along with it or be left in the dust. Regular SEO “exercises” will put your website’s search engine compatibility to the test so you can make changes to your strategy before months or even years go by without you reaching your targeted audience effectively. Don’t get too complacent when you stumble onto the right formula because it may not be the best formula for long.
These days, entrepreneurs everywhere are preaching the virtues of search engine optimization (SEO). Depending on the size and scope of your enterprise, SEO can prove very useful in growing your business and attracting new customers. However, when it comes to search engine optimization, one size does not necessarily fit all. Certain businesses, for one reason or another, are simply unable to reap the benefits of SEO. This doesn’t mean that these enterprises have nothing to offer; it just means they’ll need to rethink their marketing tactics. As you’ll find, search engine marketing, or “SEM,” can prove instrumental in giving your business a shot in the arm.
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is one of the most common forms of search engine marketing. It involves purchasing ad space on prominent search engines, social media outlets and websites and paying a previously agreed-upon amount each time your ad is clicked. Depending on the search engine or website with whom you’re doing business, each click could cost you anywhere from a few cents to several dollars. As Staples reports, unexpected expenses can quickly arise when utilizing pay-per-click advertising. Although PPC can be rather costly for small businesses, search engine marketing serves as a prime example of spending money to make money. If you’re confident enough in your enterprise’s ability to win over prospective customers, a pay-per-click advertising campaign could be exactly what your business needs.
Google AdSense can be an invaluable tool for getting your website noticed by your business’s target demographic. Incredibly straightforward and user-friendly, AdSense places advertisements for your business on websites whose content meshes with the keywords in your ads. Within weeks of registering with AdSense, you’re all but guaranteed to see a return on your investment. You can even recoup some of your money by hosting AdSense ads for other businesses on your website. For every 1,000 clicks the ads on your site receive, you’ll be spent a check for $48. If your website enjoys a steady stream of foot traffic, you stand to make a respectable sum.
One of the most effective SEM tools currently available, Google AdWords stands to exponentially increase your visitor stats and overall customer base. According to Fox Business, AdWords was created with small businesses in mind. AdWords enables entrepreneurs to bid on specific search engine-friendly keywords. When a search is conducted using these words, an ad for your business will automatically appear on the results page. Depending on how competitive your industry is, as well as which words you wish to bid on, you may pay as much as $50 per click. Additionally, any words you’d like to bid on must first be approved by Google. Other search engines, like Yahoo! and Bing, have similar programs in place. However, their success rates pale in comparison to businesses that use AdWords.
There’s no denying that search engine optimization is here to stay. With countless businesses chalking their success up to SEO, it’s impossible to overlook its benefits. Still, certain enterprises are better suited to search engine marketing. Despite being more expensive than SEO, the timely results generated by SEM make it well worth the additional cost.
If you just nod and smile when other business owners are talking about their strategies for search engine marketing, you shouldn’t be too concerned, nearly half the companies out there have little or no strategy for SEM. This doesn’t get you off the hook. If you don’t investing in the basics of search engine marketing you’re neglecting an important opportunity that can lead to more traffic to your site, and when done properly your conversion rate will increase as well.
In order to stay relevant in your industry, it’s important to have a noticeable web presence. The internet isn’t going away any time soon, and the amount of people investing resources into their online marketing plan is only going to increase. If you haven’t put a plan into place yet, start now before you fall too far behind the completion. Here are some basics you should know to start.
Search Engine Marketing… What is it Again?
If we’re talking about the basics of SEM it helps to at least define it. When users search online they’re often browsing with a specific goal in mind. They’re using certain phrases they believe will be most useful in order to pull up relevant search results. To market through a search engine, you have to think like one.
What Are the Rules?
That’s the tricky part; no one really “knows” the rules. Google provides a list of guidelines and recommendations, but the specifics of their algorithm are somewhat of a mystery. We do know that Google values relevancy, engagement, and overall user experience. So regardless of what aspect of your website you’re dealing with, whether it has to do with design, content, or optimization techniques, make sure you’re doing so with your real life audience in mind. Google wants you to market organically to people, instead of trying black hat techniques that spam the system. Doing so will get you penalized which will make climbing to the top of rankings that much harder.
Since ranking for the most relevant search phrases that a high volume of users are searching for is the most important part of marketing online, it’s vital you begin by doing keyword research. The first step in the keyword research process is simply to brainstorm a list of the words and phrases a searcher might use to find your site or business. The key here is not to be too general. Forget broad terms like “cars” Focus instead on long tail keywords such as “good cars for winter.”
By running your list of proposed keywords through a keyword research tool, you’ll discover how many searchers are actually conducting searches for a given word or term every day, how many of those searches actually converted, and other useful analytical information. You can also use these tools to discover other terms or phrases similar to the ones you want.
Once you’ve determined which keywords to target, both for a general content marketing campaign as well as for specific, smaller initiatives, it’s time to build content around those phrases.
One of the important ways Google analyzes sites is by looking at the backlink profiles of each website. They’re interested in diversity, too many links coming from the same site doesn’t do much to impress Google, and if you’re linking to too many sites that are spammy and have low metrics, Google can penalize you. The best way to create a natural, healthy looking backlink profile is to generate good content that people want to link to and share. Focus on creating content that is valuable and engaging, and differentiate yourself from your competitors. Natural link building services can be hard to come by so make sure you’re using a reputable agency that knows what they are doing.
A great practice to put in place is reaching out to other site owners and writing an article for their site that contains a link back to you. It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement that with the right type of nurturing could develop into a useful relationship.
The technical side of search engine marketing should never be overlooked. Google has to properly crawl your site for indexing purposes, and if you don’t have all your pieces in line, you may end up getting overlooked. Keeps these important tips in mind:
· Your content on your site should have title tags and Meta descriptions.
· Meta keywords are pretty much ignored by search engines nowadays, but if you still use them, make sure it talks specifically to that page and that it is also formatted correctly.
· Your Meta description should be unique and also speak to that specific page. Duplicate Meta descriptions from page to page will not get you anywhere.
· Title tags should also be unique! Think your title as a 4-8 word ad, so do your best to entice the reader so they want to click and read more.
· In addition to optimizing for the desktop experience, make sure to focus on mobile and tablet optimization as well as other media.
· Consistent Domains: If you type in www.example.com, but then your type in just example.com and the “www” does not redirect to www.example.com that means the search engines are seeing two different sites. This isn’t effective for your overall SEO efforts as it will dilute your inbound links, as external sites will be linking to www.example.com and example.com.
· Keywords in URL: Having keywords you’re trying to rank for in your domain will only help your overall efforts.
· Optimize your non-text content so search engines can see it. If your site uses Flash or PDFs, make sure you read up on the latest best practices so search engines can crawl that content and give your site credit for it.
An important lesson I learned from a teacher was don’t do something unless you intend to do it in the right way. You should definitely invest your time and effort into search engine marketing; it’s where the people are. But unless you commit to following the right practices, all your effort will go to waste. Continue to educate yourself and speak with professionals in the SEM industry to get you seen and heard online.