Christmas is over, and 2012 is just around the corner. So, the time for New Year’s resolutions has arrived. If you’re like many small business owners, taking steps to improve and enhance (or even start!) online marketing programs is at the top of the list. The following resources provide in-depth assistance with creating and optimizing programs for key online marketing venues.
SEO: Search Engine Optimization (free search)
Download the Periodic Table of Search Engine Ranking Factors.This infographic from Search Engine Land (also available as a .pdf), provides clear, concise explanations of SEO factors that can enhance or detract from how well your website, or a page on it, ranks in search engine results. Each factor is given a positive or negative influence rank, so you can score your pages. For an in-depth discussion of each of the ranking factors and tips on implementing them, read the multi-part Search Engine Land Guide to SEO.
PPC: Pay Per Click Advertising (paid search)
A successful paid search campaign involves much more than simply selecting keywords and placing high bids. From a search engine’s perspective, they make money when people click ads. So even if place ridiculously high bids, if your ads are lousy or irrelevant to your keywords, no one will click and the search engine will not make money. Thus the search engine will not simply place the ad with the highest bid at the top of the results. This is an advantage for small businesses that have limited budgets, but can master the PPC process and deliver high quality ads and high-quality, high- conversion landing pages. To help you understand, and leverage, the search engine’s approach to PPC read 43 Paid Search Signals You Need To Understand. This Search Engine Watch post provides valuable insight to both PPC newbies and veterans.
Facebook marketing took off in 2011 and it does not appear to be slowing down in 2012. If you don’t have a Fan page yet, create one. For tips on optimizing your fan page so that it will be found by interested Facebook members and by search engines, read the Basic SEO for Facebook Fan Pages post on Search Engine Watch.
Twitter has also taken off in 2011 and is likely to maintain its popularity. So, if you’re not tweeting about your business and your industry yet, now is a great time to start. Sign up for a Twitter account here, and start posting and following. Not sure what to post? Read 17 Twitter Marketing Tips from the Pros on the Social Media Examiner website.
Finally mobile, in its many incarnations from smart phones to tablets, is now firmly part of the online marketplace. In fact, according to a recent Google study, The Mobile Movement: Understanding Smartphone Users, “74% of smartphone shoppers make a purchase as a result of using their smartphones to help with shopping, and 88% of those who look for local information on their smartphones take action within a day.” This trend is particularly important if you have an actual store and can use local search to drive customers to it. Mobile marketing has its own best practices and its own (smaller) scale. It won’t be successful if you simply clone your traditional online marketing campaigns and use your current website design. For help addressing this unique new marketplace, read the Quick Guide to Smartphone & Mobile SEO on the Top Rank Online Marketing Blog.
Best Wishes for a Successful and Profitable 2012– Both Online and Off!