Search engine marketing is the single most effective way to drive local traffic to your business Web site. When you have dominated a Google search, rest assured you have driven most of the Internet traffic to your business’ Web site.
There are three main types of searches: a local search, a natural search, and a paid search. Obviously, as these types have different features, they also have different advantages. One may work very well for your business while others may not. You have to dig into the details of each of these searches so you know the best way of optimizing your Web site for the most appropriate search engines for the best results.
Before the advent of the Internet, people used the Yellow Pages to search for businesses whose goods or services they need. But as consumers shift online, so do businesses who realize that search engine marketing amps their sales in a way that traditional advertising won’t. A local search is conducted by consumers who would like to find a business operating in their area. It works quite like a Yellow Pages listing, only a local Google search is more convenient and interactive.
A typical search query for a business listing looks like this: “Manhattan Italian cuisine restaurant.” In a Google search, the mammoth search engine displays a local map of the area and the top 10 listings for restaurants in Manhattan offering Italian cuisine. Submitting a listing for your business to the biggest local search engines is undoubtedly a great way to drive local traffic to your website and to your business location as well, without the cost of paying for pay-per-click advertisements.
A natural search, also known as an organic search, mostly looks like a Google search on anything under the sun. Of course, you can also conduct a natural search on other search engines such as MSN and Ask.com. This is singlehandedly the cheapest form of search engine marketing method for most businesses and, in the long run, also the most reliable.
Search engines use automated software called crawlers to comb the billions of websites on the Internet and bring back the most relevant results for a certain query. These crawlers use algorithms that determine the relevance of these websites and their corresponding ranks on the search engine results page. It is for these crawlers that business websites are optimized using various on-page and off-page SEO techniques. The most common of these is the use of relevant keywords and optimizing website content. Increasing the number of off-page links to your website is also very effective. It should be noted, though, that the algorithms used to evaluate a website change every now and then to prevent business owners from designing their websites to be fully optimized for a Google search but not for the audience.
More commonly known as pay-per-click advertising, paid searches are the fastest way to make your business visible to your target market. Unlike a local search and a natural search, though, paid search requires an initial investment, albeit smaller than the investment you put in traditional advertising media, to pay for every time a person clicks on the link to your website. In a Google search, a paid search result appears in the form of an advertisement on the top right side of the natural search results, allowing your users to see you right away instead of having them rifle deep into the search results first.