If you are planning to launch an online business and you haven’t yet given thought to how you will implement a marketing campaign (one that caters specifically to the Internet audience) you would do well to consider it now. Any online business owner that enters the fray without a proven method for attracting his potential market is doomed to eventual failure, and SEO is one of the best ways to ensure that doesn’t happen.
Properly implemented, SEO is a tried and proven set of methods by which online businesses of various sorts gain the edge over the competition. And it does that by giving a specific site a higher ranking on the search engine results pages of the major search engines.
Why should you want a higher ranking for your online business? Let's say for instance that you have an online business that offers flowers to the Seattle market. If anyone in the Seattle area is looking for flowers locally, he or she is more likely to do as search on the Internet instead of browsing the pages of the local phone book. This hypothetical customer would then probably do a search for "Seattle based flower shop" or some variant thereof. Now, if your business doesn’t show up at the top of the search engine results pages or at least as close to the top as possible, the chances that this potential customer would find your site are reduced considerably. In fact, it has been shown that most web searchers simply go for any one of the few results at the top of the search engine results pages, and simply ignore the rest.
In the scenario described above, potential customers may well end up at the site of a competitor. By getting a high ranking on the search engine results pages of the major search engines however, you increase the chances of such web searchers clicking on the link to your site. And that is precisely what a properly implemented SEO campaign can do for you.
Now keep in mind that it is not enough to merely have people see your site. What you want is to convert all those hits into actual sales. Again SEO can be an invaluable means to meeting that goal, and it does this by ensuring a high degree of targeted traffic for your site. Going back to the hypothetical flower business in Seattle, targeted traffic would be people who are looking for flowers in Seattle. A potential flower shopper from California wouldn’t be of much use to you, so you will want to make sure that a higher degree of your visitor count is made up of potential buyers in your locale, i.e. your target market.
With the help of a properly implemented SEO campaign, you can ensure that more people who are likely to buy from you end up at your site, and you avoid wasting resources on people that do not comprise your target market. Since SEO can be precisely tuned to attract potential buyers who are already seeking out your products and/or services actively, you have a much better chance of converting each and every hit into an actual sale, with the end result being a better return on your investment.
SEO also helps enhance the "stickiness" of a website; that is, its ability to retain a visitor for a longer period. Keep in mind that a visitor that ends up at your site only to click away quickly means one more lost sale. By utilizing effective SEO, you attract mostly people who are interested in finding out more about what you have to offer. And since the longer a potential customer stays on your site means the more likely he or she will end up becoming a paying customer, improving the "stickiness" of your website via SEO is a sound method for increasing your bottom line.
Search engine ranking is a tricky thing, and the criteria by which Google and the other major search engines rank pages tend to change over time. For many online businesses, it is a constant battle to stay on top of the search engine results pages and stay visible to their online market. Nevertheless, utilizing a properly implemented set of SEO techniques will greatly improve your site’s chances of consistently getting into the top slots, and into the collective awareness of your audience. For that reason alone, SEO is well worth considering as a viable marketing tool.
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