from domain-b, India 17 June 2011 –
A Dozen ”Web” Things Every Business Owner, CIO and VP of Marketing Needs to Consider Before They Lock In A Model for Their Company’s Internet Marketing by Amy Munice, President, ALM Communications also doing business as Global B2B Communications –www.globalb2bcommunications.com )
1-First and foremost understand that for nearly every business of all sizes and all types (B2B, B2C, global, local)-internet marketing is likely to be the most ”mission critical” IT investment for your business, whether you keep internet marketing in-house or outsource en toto or something in between. A decade or so ago that was not the case. Today, businesses live and die on the web. Your business survival is closely intertwined with your internet marketing programs.
2- Every week I seem to speak to one or more business owners or marketing directors who tell me that their business does very well in search engine rankings and that they check by ”googling” their keywords and without fail find their company on the first page. These business owners or marketing people are HIGHLY mistaken. So are the people who google, find themselves on the first page of results and think their work is done. They are HIGHLY mistaken. Why? The search engines learn your personal preferences (personalized search ) and they try to display your preferred sites on the first page of what you seek. The search engines also favor local companies (localized search ), so that you are far more likely to find your company on that first page than a key competitor from afar. There are math-based search engine optimization tools that allow your copywriters to overcome these obstacles and begin by giving you real-world information on your site’s rankings. First things first-a business owner can no longer remain illiterate about these basics of how today’s search engines really work.
3-The complexity of that part of internet marketing dealing with ”organic search” and search engine optimization , without exaggeration, increases every day. Search engine algorithms are changing daily-not just when headlines appear about major changes such as the recent spate of publicity regarding ”farmer algorithms” and content farms. Every time anyone ”Googles” (or uses Yahoo, Baidu, etc.) to find something it feeds the underlying mathematics that drive these search engines in their attempt to mimic and anticipate human behavior. Search engines are seeking to optimize ”natural language processing”, a sibling of computational linguistics. In the real world this means that an in-house IT person handling internet marketing must be given ample time to keep their skillset up-to-date. In most cases this would require weeks of study each year, at the minimum. To the extent that budgets allow, bringing outside SEO consultants in who live and breathe internet marketing every working hour as adjuncts to in-house IT staff has a high return –on-investment IF the SEO consultant is skilled and up to date.
4- Unfortunately, sourcing qualified SEO consultants is often easier said than done. Many SEO consultants recycle myths about search engines that are not real. MOST of what you will find on the web about search engine optimization is out-of-date; some of this material was erroneous from the onset. Even if search engine optimization is totally outsourced, IT staff will need time budgets to become educated buyers of such services. For example, ” keyword and description metatags” have zip bearing on search ranking but MANY SEO consultants still talk about them a lot. Another big red flag of out-of-date SEO practices are static rules of thumb on how web copy should be written in terms of factors like ”phrase depth” or ”page count” etc. Because the web is a very dynamic entity there are NO static rules. The things it will take your company to succeed in its unique competitive landscape are quite different from what would be required of another company, and what works today will not necessarily work tomorrow.
5-Paid search –pay per click advertising-used to be straightforward enough for in-house IT managers to handle. This is not the case any longer. Google AdWords and the like continue to get more complex. A poorly run pay per click advertising campaign can be extraordinarily expensive and with low return. A well run AdWords campaign can have orders of magnitude higher return-on-investment for a wide swathe of companies. Today, to the extent that budgets allow, bringing in experts who do AdWords every working hour and who have seen campaigns that work and campaigns that don’t are the recommended route. However, totally outsourcing AdWords for all time is prohibitive for the lion’s share of small and medium-sized businesses. What is usually affordable is a periodic checkup of campaigns with AdWords experts or a thorough consultation on how to synch ad copy with web and design so that landing pages for ads really work. The good news is that success or lack of success is totally straightforward and measurable.
6-Google offers a free service to help you set up your first AdWord campaign. Foxes will offer to build you a hen house too. Your goals and a source for paid advertising (Google, display ads, Yahoo, etc.) are not identical. Forget that and you pay for it— perhaps significantly. Google’s guides may know more than your in-house IT person about Google AdWords-but that doesn’t mean they will serve your company better, especially if you sell highly technical products or services that require a nuanced understanding of niche market targets. ”You get what you pay for” is another adage worth considering as you weigh the value of Google’s ”free” service. A day of independent pay per click advertising experts is a far better spend on time and money budgets.
For the next six tips-see part two of this article in the next issue.
About Amy Munice- Amy Munice is President of ALM Communications Inc.
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