Cincinnati Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Web Marketing
What good is a website if nobody knows about it?
Too often, a company will spend thousands of dollars developing a site, and then fail to invest in marketing the site so that their target audience can find it. Unfortunately, the "If you build it, they will come" approach doesn't work for the large majority of websites.
Promoting a website is just like promoting a business. A comprehensive strategy is necessary in order to ensure a high probability of success. Typically, such an approach might include the following:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Analytics and Goal Tracking
- Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Campaigns
- Affiliate Programs
The foundation of Internet marketing is to have a website that is both accessible to and optimized for search engines. This means that a website must:
- be programmed to conform to today's web standards (see webstandards.org and w3c.org);
- provide the right information in the right places, so that search engines know exactly what the site is about;
- include a site map in XML format, to ensure that all pages are accessed; and
- be modified and updated on a regular basis to maintain or improve search engine placement.
The purpose of search engines is to rank the most relevant websites that cover the topic being searched. Our job is to help clients create the most authoritative website for their industry or specialization, to the extent possible.
There is a widespread misconception that search engine optimization (SEO) involves adding dozens of keywords to a page and nothing more. This practice was popular, and somewhat effective, in the early days of search engines (before Google), but its abuse resulted in far too many irrelevant search results. Today, search engine optimization requires a much higher level of expertise, but when practiced well, it can generate impressive results – for both our clients and the Internet users who are searching for them.
To learn more about what's involved in SEO, please refer to our free article, What Search Engines Want (PDF).
Tracking results is another component of an effective web marketing campaign. Web analytics – the collection, reporting, and analysis of website usage – is a crucial companion to search engine optimization, because it enables an organization to understand and improve the effectiveness of its website.
Midwest New Media can help your company track:
- the number of people visiting your site;
- how they are finding you;
- what pages they visit, and for how long;
- which pages are most effective in generating business;
- which pages are turning people away; and most importantly,
- your return on investment (average advertising cost for each dollar in sales revenue).
The underlying purpose of analytics is to help businesses capitalize on their Internet investment by allowing them to understand how people are using their website, and to make adjustments accordingly. One of the best ways to do this is through goal tracking.
Every website has a purpose – to sell a product, to generate a sales lead, to distribute information, or any number of other possibilities. We can help you to clarify the purpose of your site and then to track the steps that your customers take toward the result that you desire. One common scenario is sales conversion, starting from a pay-per-click ad placed on Google; here's an example:
- 1,966 customers clicked on the ad last month, taking them to the main page of the company's website
- 44% of them continued from the main page to the featured product page
- 51% of those customers added the featured product to their shopping cart
- 68% continued from the shopping cart to the shipping options page
- 5% continued to the payment page
- 87% placed an order and reached the "thank you" page
In the example above, an alarming fact is revealed: Customers appear to be having a problem with the shipping options page. Further investigation might reveal that customers are having trouble understanding how to select a shipping method (ground, overnight, etc.). If the issue can be resolved and the percentage of customers continuing to the payment page can be increased to just 50%, this would result in a tenfold increase in business for the company's website.
In short, without understanding how your website is being used, you are most likely wasting a significant portion of the time and money you invested in it. Midwest New Media can help you prevent this from happening and maximize your investment.
After a website is launched, it can take days or even weeks before it starts appearing on search engine listings, and it can take much longer to climb the rankings. Even after a site starts getting traffic from search engines, it might not be the right traffic. So, what's the solution?
In many situations, it's pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, where companies place ads directly on the results page of a particular keyword search, and pay for those ads only when the user clicks on one of them. PPC offers the ability to:
- select which keywords or phrases your site will be listed under (e.g., "auto dealer cincinnati");
- filter out words to exclude non-shoppers (e.g., "jobs" or "statistics");
- place separate bids for certain phrases (e.g., paying more for searches that include "buy" or "shop");
- set a daily spending limit; and
- turn your ads on and off at any time.
PPC advertising is easy to set up, but managing it can consume a great deal of time, because adjustments have to be made on a consistent basis. Proper keyword selection and ad copy are vital to any successful PPC campaign. Our role is to assist clients in this process, or to manage campaigns on their behalf, depending on the scope of the project and the preference of the client.
Before a PPC campaign begins, a site must be optimized for search engines, because the subject matter of the site must correspond to the keywords being purchased. Also, an analytics program should be in place beforehand, so that return on investment and other customer trends can be tracked.
Oftentimes, the most effective way to sell a product or service online is to have others do it for you, by implementing an affiliate program. Here's how it works:
- An exlanation of the affiliate program, along with a sign-up form, is added to your website.
- When someone signs up for the affiliate program, they are provided with information on how to add links to your site from their own website or blog.
- Any time someone follows a link from the affiliate's site to yours, and then makes a purchase, the affiliate receives a small commission, usually in the form of a flat fee or a percentage of each transaction.
- Commissions are paid either directly by you, or by a third-party affiliate marketing company, depending on your preference and on the scope of your program.
Midwest New Media has the creativity and technical expertise to develop a custom affiliate program for your organization, or to guide you through the process of engaging an affiliate marketing company that can provide an out-of-the-box solution.
Request an Estimate
No matter whether you have a sophisticated e-commerce system or a basic one-page website, call us today at 1-866-742-9150 or use our online quote request form to find out how your website can get noticed!