By Ray Troy
So you have incorporated and are now looking to get people or businesses to purchase your product or service. How do you get people to buy your goods or services if they are not coming in the door, or on the Internet, visiting your site? This article will focus on Internet marketing or getting people to visit your site also called traffic.
There are many buzzwords out there and people trying to sell them. The first is SEO (search engine optimization) and the second is SEM (search engine marketing). They are different! I’ll quickly go over what each one means and what is best for your start up.
First, lets start with a search on the largest search engine, Google.
As you can see, there are the organic results and ads. On Google, Ads can take the form of text or product listings. In addition to organic and ad results, you can also show up in the knowledge graph (non ads) or map listing (non-ads). Everything except for ads is free.
Search engine optimization (SEO) refers to the process of increasing your rank in the organic (non-paid) results. You can never pay Google to your get your site in or to increase your rank in the organic results. If a company guarantees results in SEO please, WALK AWAY. No one knows Google’s ranking algorithm so results can not be guaranteed.
Generally, SEO takes time to increase your rank. Among other things, this is due to something SEOs call “trust.” Just like in life, trust takes time and Google values trust. The components to SEO are not limited to URL structure, content on the pages, amount of pages, inbound links, quality of inbound links, internal linking structure, using SSL, designed for mobile, etc. Since Google has increased its privacy policies, it is also difficult to get information about traffic from organic search traffic.
For a start-up, SEO might not be the way to start. It can be very expensive to hire a company to do it for you and it doesn’t get you revenue today. Cash flow and revenue are crucial to start-ups. Also, it doesn’t give you a lot of information about the people coming to your site from organic search.
Search engine marketing (SEM) refers to ads on search engines. This can be on Yahoo, Google, etc. Each search engine has a platform for people to manage their ads on each respective search engine. For Google, it is called Adwords. Generally the method of this advertising is called Pay Per Click. It is just as it sounds, Google charges you, the advertiser, every time someone clicks your ad and is taken to your website.
When you start a campaign on Adwords you get information about the people coming to your site such as the query (search terms or keywords) they put into Google. In addition to more information, it also instantly brings traffic to your site. Within minutes of starting a SEM campaign, you can see revenue on your site directly attributed to the SEM ads. Another great feature is the return on investment (ROI) calculation. Due to the abundance of information from SEM, you can instantly calculate the ROI from your ads. Ads also can be instantly turned on, off, and throttled. You can control the rate of spending and therefore traffic.
What I recommend for a start up is to start driving traffic using SEM. Once you know what works (keywords, ads, etc.) and have gathered a lot of information about your customers, then take that knowledge and build a SEO campaign. The ROI on SEO will be high instead of starting in the dark. The only drawback to SEM campaigns is that they require capital.
Stay tuned for my next blog post on how to value your start up when raising capital.
Ray Troy Consulting