Search Engine Optimization - Your Business's Options

By Gregory Smyth

For many businesses, their internet marketing strategy is driven by the need to come up early in Google results. Customers may come from overseas or be otherwise geographically distant or there may be intense competition within your product or service range - in either case, search engine optimization services are essential. Search engine optimization and marketing techniques have now been in a process of refinement since the early 1990s, as well as needing to adapt to changing search engine marketing rules and regulations. We look at the most common methods of search engine marketing, examining the benefits and drawbacks of each.

Search engine optimization is a term often used interchangeably with search engine marketing, however in reality they refer to different categories of activities. Search engine optimization is also known as free or organic listings, and the top ranked results get around 90% of the clicks for a particular keyword search. If you are in the top ten, you are almost guaranteed traffic increases. If you aren't, your visibility to consumers rapidly decreases.

Consumers also trust these search engine optimized natural listings more than paid results, like contextual ads or sponsored placements. 61% think that natural listings will be more relevant to their search, and many think that paid listings do not offer objective information. This search engine optimization can also be cross-budgetary, with smaller businesses with better SEO skills beating out their big budget competitors. However, this internet marketing services method can be slow and is not guaranteed.

Pay per click ads were hailed as the future of internet marketing services for a long time. The concept of paying only for views that turn into visits make good sense. This specialized internet marketing service, though, now needs expert analysis from internet consultancy services or online marketing agencies. Knowledge of the auction environment, and having the tools that web analytics and e-commerce consulting experts have is essential in a PPC campaign.

Vertical search engines and directories are a niche internet marketing services tactic, but one that can get great quality visitors to your site - ones that stay around, look through your pages and bookmark you, even if they don't buy anything immediately. Listing on verticals shows customers that they care about their niche customers and market specifically to them, and also indirectly helps with your corporate branding efforts. Even more than web marketing strategies like press release distribution and article distribution, vertical search engine optimization and directory listings bring your target audience directly to you.

Contextual ads are the last major internet marketing services technique. It involves displaying ads that are related to the content of a web page, or the words that searchers type into a box. It allows site owners the option of moving to free services sites, rather than subscription services, which are much less trafficked. You can reach the blogosphere audience with this search engine marketing strategy, as well as dedicated visitors to niche content sites. However, these ads can sometimes be seen as a waste of space, and only distracted site visitors end up clicking on contextual ads.