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(ARA) – Everyone, businesses and individuals alike, is struggling in today’s economy. When you need extra income or are facing a layoff, taking your talents online can generate big business and even a new career. Whether you already have a Web site or are considering one, it’s important to think about how to attract customers to your business.

Nearly everyone uses search engines to find a product or service, so having your business show up in a Google search is far more important than an advertisement in the phone book. In fact, according to a 2008 eMarketer study, only 2 percent of advertisers believe they receive a worthwhile return on investment with a Yellow Pages placement, compared to more than 50 percent who engage in online marketing and advertising. Small, strategic investments in online marketing can make your business Web site much more visible, and grow your revenues.

Get Found by Search Engines
Search engines scan Web sites for keywords to determine what the site is about, and then rank the sites in order of relevance. To get your Web site listed in these natural (also called organic) listings, many businesses engage in search engine optimization (SEO). SEO incorporates specific key phrases into the content and programming code, so that a search engine is more likely to reward your site with higher rankings. SEO also includes building up a Web site’s popularity by getting links to it from other Web sites.
According to a report from iProspect and Jupiter Research, 62 percent of searchers click on a link within the first page of results. Using SEO is a great way to increase your site’s natural search rankings and drive more traffic to your Web site (and more revenue to you).

TIP: For the best results in SEO, start early. If you can incorporate optimization into the structure of your Web site as you build it, you’ll already be ahead of the curve. Consult an SEO expert about ways to get your site maximum exposure on search engines.  Although SEO is an ongoing process, getting your site designed with SEO in mind can save a lot of time and effort down the road.

Turn Visitors into Customers
Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising is a cost-effective way to drive traffic through your doors, increase online orders, grow your list of contacts and get visitors to take action on your Web site. PPC is an advertising method in which ads are displayed on a search engine result page like Google or Yahoo!. These advertisements, or sponsored links, appear at the top or on the right side of a search results page. An advertiser only pays for an ad when a visitor clicks on it and is taken to the advertiser’s Web site.

“Unlike traditional advertising, only consumers that are already searching for products and services you offer will see your PPC ads,” says Harry Brooks, director of search marketing for Network Solutions. “This can lead to a friendlier user experience for shoppers, less wasted ad costs for you, and a higher conversion rate for your ad campaigns all around.”

Whether a customer is shopping for the product you create or the consulting service you provide, PPC ads can reach the right customers at the right time — when they are ready to buy. A recent study by Piper Jaffray & Co. found that the average cost per acquisition for search engine advertising was $8.50 versus $20 for advertising in the phone book.

FACT: According to a study by iProspect, when a user encounters a PPC ad and an organic SEO listing on the same search result page, there is:
* a 45 percent  increase in orders.
* a 45 percent increase in actions taken on the Web site
* a 43 percent increase in page views
* 39 percent more time spent on the site

Get the Word Out
Online Media Marketing is another way to market and advertise your business online. Through press releases and e-mail campaigns, customers learn about your business and can find your products and services more easily. If you’ve got exciting news about your company — sales are up, you have a new product or you’ve recently appeared at an industry event — an online press release can build your site’s popularity and boost your search engine rankings even more. Targeted e-mail campaigns go the extra mile to reach out to your customers through newsletters and announcements.

On the Internet, it is all about driving customers to your Web site, so the more you distribute information about your business electronically, the better.

TIP:  In addition to distributing press releases online, posting releases onto a “news” section of your Web site is a great way to keep your site’s content fresh, which in turn helps with SEO rankings.

For more information and more tips on how to get your Web site noticed, visit http://education.networksolutions.com

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Author: Andy Quayle

Andy was born in the Isle of Man and currently lives in Pittsburgh.
Known globally as a willing source for tech news and views, Andy takes great pride in consultation and education.

Should his schedule permit, Andy is available to help you with your SEO and Web Analytics needs.