My name is Karl Hindle and I am the CEO of Andersen Hindle, a broad spectrum online marketing agency based in Richmond, Virginia and here I will share my experience on what I believe is important for your business’ online marketing. There are three major online marketing strands which every business should be following – SEO, Paid Search (PPC) and Social Media. The problem I see again and again is how clients approach these marketing strands, and in particular how they rarely dovetail these powerful routes to market with each other, and also fail to integrate them with their overall marketing strategy.
Here I’ll discuss the three strands with an overview and give some indication as to how they should be working together for optimal effect.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
I put SEO first for several reasons, principally because search engine traffic from organic searches is already pre-qualified to a large extent. If someone is using Google to search for your products and services, then by the time they get to your site from this route, you already know they are interested in what you have to offer.
SEO traffic tends to convert well if you provide a good buying proposition with your website. To maximize results ensure you have good keyword research as the bedrock of your campaign, and this is where PPC (Pay Per Click) comes into play because you can simply and cheaply test keywords and conversions prior to going after organic rankings. In this instance, PPC acts as your scout for the heavy infantry you can then move up with SEO and is a good way to integrate PPC and SEO.
Pay Per Click (PPC)
PPC is paid search, where you pay for ads to appear alongside search results. You can pay in a variety of ways – pay for clicks (PPC), pay per impressions or pay for an action, e.g. completing an email inquiry form, or even making a sale.
Keyword research again is the bedrock of an effective paid search campaign, and PPC in particular is an excellent way to test keyword convertibility. However, where SEO is not going to get you the ROI, for instance where it is simply too competitive to get ranked organically, then PPC will allow you to get the exposure you need (but for a price).
Social Media Optimization (SMO) is not really about “optimization” though you should be following some basic optimization rules with your Social Media profiles. Include your business name, website address, physical address and contact information within Social Media profiles because this will help your business to be found with internal searches e.g. where someone does a search on Facebook, and also external searches on the likes of Google and Bing.
Social Media signals are also a ranking factor which is increasing in importance for both Google and Bing. What Social Media does for you is help you to build a community, especially when used in conjunction with your blog. One simple tip is to post the link to your blog posts on all of your Social Media profiles to help generate these signals, increase traffic to the blog and gain access to a wider audience.
As a minimum, create profiles on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn – for extra credit, make a YouTube channel and open accounts on Pinterest and Instagram. If managing all of these accounts is daunting, look at a tool such as HootSuite to organize posting.
SEO is the most powerful converting route to the online market, however it takes time, budget and discipline to implement effectively. It should work very closely with PPC and also relies on Social Media input too.
PPC is fast and allows for exposure to search engine traffic but it comes at a relatively high price compared to SEO.
Social Media allows you to build a community and reputation for authority and trust within your niche. It should work closely with your blogging, but it can quickly become difficult to manage because of the number of different platforms available.
Karl Hindle is CEO of Andersen Hindle Inc, an Internet marketing firm based in Richmond, VA. You can follow him on Google+ or contact him at email@example.com