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The following applies especially to small to mid-size businesses: obvious conclusion of the week – understand your customers!

Why am I stating this most simple and basic understanding in business?

Recently I have been undertaking an SEO project for a company. I’m far from an expert on the subject and it’s somewhat of a research assignment, but by this point I should know a thing or two about marketing and customer behavior. This is based on a current, real experience.

The goal of optimizing a website to rank higher is clearly to drive more traffic to the site; now here is the kicker:

  • Image your site is #1 on Google for exactly what you do; those exact functions you perform are ranking top-of-the-class! Sounds great right?
  • Now add the following: The people who search for those exact terms want nothing to do with your service…

Some ways to remedy this problem:

  • Use Google Analytics – Find out alternative keywords that your customers use to find you.
  • Ask your customers – find out what they think of you; ask them to use your company in a sentence.
  • Research – Find out what market segments are most important to target (come back for a post about this next).

This is my shock for the week and this is why is incredibly important to understand your customers. What you think your function is could be completely unrelated to what your customers think you actually do!

Coming Soon:  Niche Marketing

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I am currently undertaking an SEO project at my internship.

For those of you that don’t know, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s basically a way to improve a site’s ranking on search engines.

Eventually I will apply whatever SEO I learn to this blog as well.

The Difference between Pay Per Click (PPC) & SEO

PPC:

  • The most popular method of generating and paying for advertisements online.
  • One of the main revenue streams of companies such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
  • Ads are posted based on keyword bidding.

SEO:

  • A cost effective way to improve visibility & site rank, search-ability and of course generate leads, sales or ad revenue.
  • The key to good SEO is in proper web design, relevant keywords, a good reputation and links.

SEO has become a major business opportunity:

http://www.seologist.com/

http://www.searchengineoptimizationcompany.ca/

http://www.seo.com/

http://www.alphasearch.ca/

These are some of the companies that clearly know their SEO (as they are also top ranked on Google). Many companies use SEO along side PPC platforms to maximize traffic.

BE AWARE when choosing PPC, SEO or both:

  • Many small time SEO developers offer “dream” statements about their potential results – this is an extremely competitive field, results take time and need to be maintained.
  • There are good and bad methods of doing SEO – some can get your site banned, others such over using keywords can actually lose you page rank.
  • Think about all those ads you see about “work from home” or “online job opportunity” and “click on links and get paid“. This is big business and sites use people (knowingly or not) to scam your online ads with meaningless clicks that lose you money!

For a good starting point check out:

Googles Webmaster SEO Tips

Matt Cutts (Google’s head of Webspam)

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