By Greg Mate and Barry Byers
brought to you by SearchEngineAcademy.ca
Search Engine Optimization and Web Site Design Go Hand in Hand.
Greg Mate of www.SearchEngineAcademy.ca discusses new opportunities for small and medium enterprises on the web.
“Like most things, unless you know what you are doing, it’s not likely to work. The same holds true for Internet Marketing,” said Greg Mate, President of Search Engine Academy Montreal .
“For many businesses simply “putting up” a web site is a major coup. They write a few pages of facts about the company. They hire a web site designer to add some graphics and bingo! They are online,” said Byers. Indeed, it sounds simple, right?
It’s so simple that 55% of Canadian businesses have a website. A November 2005 Report from Statistics Canada states that in 2004 total online sales, by private firms, reached an estimated $26.5 billion.
So, what’s next for these businesses to do? “They then sit back and wait for the business to pour in. Then, wait some more. Only to realize that the time and money they invested is not paying off,” said Byers. So what is the problem?
“Just because you build a web site it doesn’t mean they will come,” he says. “The programming used to write your web site has to be “coded” in such a manner that Search Engines like Google and MSN can find it, and understand it. A competent SEO firm will ensure that the guidelines detailed by the Search Engines are adhered too when programming (or reprogramming) a web site.”
Enter the next generation of Witch Doctors. They call themselves “Internet Marketers” or “Search Engine Marketers” or “a SEO” (a Search Engine Optimizer). They are the Merlins of the Internet who claim that their hocus pocus techniques can take you from Internet obscurity to financial freedom. How?
Imagine how many widgets you could sell if your site was listed on the first page of www.google.ca. If the SEO does their job right your web site can vault towards the top of the “Organic Listings” (as apposed to the Sponsored Ads) on the Search Engines.
Big whoop? There were 19,888,000 visitors to the top 100 Internet properties in Canada in December 2005 (data from COM Score Networks). What could just a 1% share of that traffic to your website do to your business? More like a big whoopee.
“If there is a great deal of competition using SEO techniques for your product or service, it may not be easy to get to the top of the Organic Listings,” said Byers. In which case, rather than a cost of $1,000 to $4,000 to reprogram your web site, hiring an SEO firm could cost from $1000 to $5000 per month to higher still as ongoing optimization is required to maintain a high page ranking. “Yet the Return on Investment may warrant the expense, he said”.
Some companies prefer to pay to be listed at the top of the Search Engines by purchasing “Sponsored Ads” also known as Pay Per Click (or PPC) ads, where the advertiser pays each time someone clicks on an ad that leads to their web site. There is an online bidding process that determines your placement and the PPC costs involved. The more competition there is for a search term the more expensive each click is. The advertiser can set a maximum daily budget, or temporarily halt the campaign, or end it altogether at any time.
However PPC is susceptible to “Click Fraud” and must be monitored very closely to ensure that someone, a competitor perhaps, is not simply clicking on your ad to burn through your budget without resulting in sales or leads for you.
According to studies by Eye Tools, Inc of San Francisco, over 80% of all Click-Throughs are to the Organic Searches Results versus the Sponsored Ads. “The expense of SEO can seem high, but the potential returns can be huge,” said Byers.
Well, if that weren’t enough, after finally deciding to have your web site reprogrammed, you knew there had to be something else, right? “Properly writing the code of your web site is only half the battle,” said Byers, “once someone lands on one of your web pages, you only have 5 seconds for them to find the information they are searching for or else they will abandon your site.” He said you must make sure the site is written to meet the needs of the user. “Make sure the user finds what he looking for and finds it fast. This way you will likely meet your objectives if you can keep them on your site.” In Internet-speak the more “sticky” your site is, the more time people will spend on your site. Of course the more chance you have of selling your product as well.
Using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) may more bring more traffic to your website, and Internet Marketing may result in making more money for your business. “There are no guarantees however, so it’s best to be well informed before building a website in-house or outsourcing the work.” said Byers. He suggests combing the wealth of information available on the Internet, and/or to take courses offered online or even better, to attend courses in person. “This way you will be better able to either perform the SEO work yourself, or hire and better communicate with an outside firm” said Byers.
About Gregory Mate
Gregory Mate is the Director of Training of the Montreal Search Engine Academy, He teaches a 1 Day Executive Masters’ in SEO Seminar, the 2-Day Basic SEO Essentials, 3-Day Advanced SEO Techniques, and 5-Day All-Inclusive SEO “hands on” search engine marketing workshops in the Greater Montreal Area of Quebec.
About Search Engine Academy
The Search Engine Academy is the first search engine optimization training designed for people with little or no previous experience with SEO. It also has a detailed certification program for current SEOs to ensure they possess the most current and correct skills. The Search Engine Academy was formed by industry leaders Robin Nobles and John Alexander. Each of the Search Engine Academies are independently owned and operated by licensed associates of the Search Engine Academy.
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