Search Engine Marketing Best Practices
Following search engine marketing best practices is the only way of staying on the good side of search engines and your website visitors.
Search engine marketing is a great way of getting your website in front of people who are interested in what you have to offer, and are actually researching it and in the right mind-set to be converted to customers. Depending on your budget and needs you may be using PPC search engine marketing or search engine optimization, or a combination of the two. Following search engine marketing best practices is the best way of ensuring your efforts aren’t wasted due to a misjudgement.
Conduct Adequate Keyword Research
The basis of any search engine marketing campaign is keyword research. Choosing the wrong keywords can make your SEO campaign a waste of time, or reduce the ROI of your PPC campaign, so learning how to perform keyword research correctly is one of the most important aspects of search engine marketing. A good keyword:
- Has a level of competition you are comfortable with
- Has buying intent
- Is closely related to what you are trying to promote
- Has enough traffic to achieve a positive ROI
Free tools such as the Google Keyword Tool are often enough to implement a search engine marketing for beginners strategy.However, if you plan on optimizing for a lot of keywords or are on a very competitive niche it’s worth investing on low cost keyword research tools that offer better keyword generation, more data for each keyword and insight into your competitor’s strengths. You can use a self-employed expenses guide to see if you can claim the cost back against your taxable income.
Make Landing Pages Align With Target Keywords
The landing page is defined as the page where the user will land if he clicks on the link to your website, either as an organic search result or as a paid ad. It’s important to make sure that your landing page content closely aligns with the keyword you are targeting, as doing otherwise will result in many visitors leaving immediately. Most search engines will consider this negative, and if it happens often your ads will become more expensive and your rankings for that keyword may be affected.
If you are employing external SEO copywriting services to create your content, you should provide the ad copy that will be landing on that page. This will go a long way towards making sure the landing page and the ad copy are coherent in terms of calls to action and hooks. For example, if your ad is about an exclusive offer, your landing page copy needs to be about that particular offer in order to get the best results.
Avoid Black-Hat SEO at all Costs
Search engines are very clear on their webmaster guidelines about what is acceptable, and any attempts to cheat end up on your website being blacklisted, temporarily or permanently. Since SEM traffic often represents a good chunk of the total traffic of any website, avoiding black-hat SEO tactics should be your first priority. Things such as:
- Buying and selling links
- Displaying different content to search engines than to your users (cloaking)
- Spamming in order to get links
Are frowned upon by search engines and when you are caught your site will be removed from the listings. Be wary of any random SEO company sending you emails where they guarantee first rank in Google or any other search engine, as they often use this kind of tactics. By the time your site is discovered and blacklisted they have already disappeared with your money. If you are learning how to do search engine marketing yourself avoid anything promising incredible results for no effort, automated software solutions and other things that sound too good to be true.
If you are outsourcing your SEM, you need to make sure that your chosen SEO agency follows search engine marketing best practices and won’t use any unethical method for short term gain. This is one of the most important questions to ask a SEO agency because an unethical SEO can cause untold damage to your website and reputation.