In order for any online business or retailer to succeed, it remains integral for the internet marketing and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy to work alongside each other in order to improve traffic, customer experience, and site visibility. After all, more visitors means more customers.
If you’re looking to start a business online or expand the reach of an existing website, then we have you covered for everything you need to know about creating effective SEO and internet marketing strategies. This article will run through the finer details of these methods and how you can implement them into your own websites in order to secure visibility and traffic.
What is SEO?
SEO is a set of strategies and tools you can use to increase the visibility of your website, and therefore the traffic to your site, when it is viewed on a search engine. For example, if you have an online pet shop and you type ‘pet shop’ into a popular search engine, unless your business is internationally renowned, it is very unlikely that your website will dominate search engines. This is directly where SEO can come in and assist in making sure your business gets the recognition it deserves. The internet consists of millions of websites and online platforms that are competing for visibility and space in an already highly competitive marketplace. This is statistically proven as well, as research Gitte Lindgaard explains ‘users make up their opinion of a site ‘within 50 milliseconds’.
So, how can you make sure that your online pet shop can appear high up in searches? SEO is the answer. Online search engines run entirely on algorithms that are constructed in order to deliver the best results, therefore, it is absolutely necessary that your website provides these algorithms with the information they need to boost your site higher on a search engines online rankings. By increasing the chances of visitors clicking on your site, via an SEO strategy. The higher your site sits on a search engine’s online ranking, the more traffic and custom you will receive to your business.
Now, if you aren’t well acquainted with SEO it may seem a little confusing and technical to begin with. However, SEO can be the difference between your website being lost within a search engine sea of similar results or being the most visited and trusted site of its kind.
In order to successfully introduce SEO to your website, it is important to focus on:
- The keywords and phrases used in your website’s copy
- The titles and headers used on the website
- Links to authority sites, videos, and other types of media
- Using words with quality links
- Creating a solid and positive reputation on search engines for being a reliable and informative website
SEO is simple in its strategy and effective in its results.
What is Internet Marketing?
Whilst internet marketing and SEO do work together to improve business and site visibility, a distinction should be drawn between the two. Internet marketing, sometimes also referred to as content marketing, refers to the broader services you may employ to improve customer experience and help drive sales. SEO is a very specific form of internet marketing, to put it very simply.
For example, internet marketing could include paid links and media, social media accounts, email and newsletter options. Fundamentally, this is where it differs to the aforementioned SEO strategy. Internet marketing really does encompass everything that your site would need in order to secure sales and increase a customer base, whereas SEO strategy just works on boosting search engine visibility.
So, using our previous analogy of an online pet store. Say, for example, this online pet store included an online shop feature that allowed you to buy products specifically for dogs. In order to provide the best internet marketing, alongside a comprehensive SEO strategy, you may also offer the option of a newsletter customers can subscribe to in order to stay updated with your brand.
In order to successfully introduce an internet marketing method into your website, as well as including SEO, it is important to focus on:
- Web design strategy and method
- Email and newsletter content
- Social media platforms and presence
- Successful SEO strategy
- Blogging and online journal features (if appropriate for your business)
- Video and podcasting features (again, if appropriate)
- Incorporating affiliate programs
So what’s the difference ?
Whilst SEO and internet marketing do have to work in conjunction in order to produce the best results for your website, there is a difference between the two sets of strategies.
On a basic level, internet marketing is a broader term that includes a number of online marketing methods. Whereas, SEO purely focuses on how to improve your website’s ranking on popular search engines. In effect, these two terms are not interchangeable, but SEO has been categorized by some marketing specialists as a form of internet marketing.
Although, it is important to remember that without the support of the other method, neither SEO or successful internet marketing alone are going to drive the best results for your website and business. It is the success they have working together and alongside each other that is going to provide the most successful outcome.
How can SEO improve my business?
There are a number of ways that successful SEO can improve your business and, with some initial work and potentially a few start-up costs, it can pay dividends to the success of your sales. After all, according to researcher, Danny Goodwin, a staggering ’93% of online experiences begin with a search engine’. Therefore, it has never been clearer just the significance SEO can have to your brand and business.
One of the ways in which SEO can improve an online retailer is by increasing the organic flow of traffic to the website. The term organic is used in this context to describe how a potential customer or buyer may visit your site naturally based on what they may have searched on Google or any other search engines. The majority of business stems from the organic flow of visitors to the site, but it is how you take advantage of this and make your brand highly visible that will help to drive sales. SEO focuses on how the organic flow of users can be directed to your specific site. By working on improving traffic, it is likely that your site could become one of Google’s own trusted resources and this will again have a significant impact on the success of your business. Brightside, conducted their own research on the impact of organic traffic and concluded that, ‘over 40% of revenue is captured by organic traffic’. Once again, this just goes to prove that, even statistically, revenue can depend significantly on SEO.
SEO can also help to secure your website as a trusted, reliable, and sophisticated source of information and commerce. Of course, this sort of reputation is also facilitated by strong and successful web design. However, SEO does go far to help provide customers with an efficient and effective user experience. It is no secret that, the further down you travel in search results, the less likely you are to trust a website. On the other hand, when SEO is successfully executed, your site will come up as a higher ranked result, and one that any customer is more likely to trust, support, and buy from. Mike Lieberman extensively researched SEO method, and concluded that ’75% of people never scroll past the first page of their search engine’. Once again, this solidly confirms just how important effective SEO is in cemented your business website in a high ranking position online. SEO can be the difference between 75% of potential customers visiting your site and engaging with its content or losing these 75% customer.
Furthermore, even though reputation is built over time and does require consistent work, if your site does develop a positive and renowned reputation on the internet it will give your business more authority in the marketplace. SEO can increase visitors to your site and with that comes a more solid presence. With more authority and influence also comes more trust and respect from customers and potential clients too. For example, if your online pet shop is able to take hold of the marketplace through robust SEO and build on customer experience and client retention, then your business will stand a chance of having a degree of control in the online marketplace.
Even though it is very rarely mentioned, it is worth acknowledging that part of the reason SEO is so successful for online businesses is that is also requires very little in start-up costs. Unlike another internet marketing method such as running FaceBook ads, SEO is significantly cheaper to implement. If you are working alongside a copywriter, then SEO can be fairly simply optimized by included a list of ‘key words’ to mention in the site’s content that can be easily looked up on a search engine. As well as this, SEO can be cheaply updated and managed if you ever want to shift the position of your business. For instance, if you hire a copywriter to control your business’s online content, then it is fairly simple to employ them to update this content periodically depending on what you may need altered. Essentially, there is no reason why SEO can’t be implemented into a business’s website.
The SEO beyond ‘key words’:
Although, it is naive to argue that SEO is just focused on ‘key words’ in the content and headers of your site. In fact, nowadays especially, it can be far more sophisticated with many SEO specialists campaigning for this distinction to be recognized.
Whilst it is fairly simple to work on your own SEO or even enlist the help and support of a copywriter, it may be particularly beneficial to hire an SEO professional that has a technical understand of how to optimize visibility. For instance, SEO professionals will be able to create high quality backlinks and utilize programs that can help in analyzing and tracking the success of your site on a technically detailed level. SEO specialists can also help improve the site architecture for your online platform and carve out a structured, detailed, secure, and efficient site.
For instance, an SEO specialist can pay close attention to not only the content of your website but also the off-page search engine optimization factors. Essentially, it is important that your site integrates different types of SEO strategy and method. Therefore, it may be beneficial to look for a copywriter that has strong knowledgebase of SEO to help in incorporating every facet of the strategy into your site.
How can internet marketing help my business?
A robust and detailed approach to internet marketing can have a significant approach on your sales and ability to retain customers and keep them shopping with your business. In fact, research conducted by the U.S Commerce Department in 2017 concluded that online consumers spent around $453.46 billion just in online retail purchases alone. So, it is statistically proven that there is big business to be made in the online sphere and it is how you create the best experience for your customers that will make all the difference. Alongside a focus on SEO, your revenue could be exponentially boosted by employing these strategies.
Web design alone can have a great impact on your internet marketing strategy and the chances of customers making a purchase or, even in the longer term, returning to your site to make repeat purchases. Poor web design choices can have a particularly negative effect on your brand and business, and this has been proven by recent research. For instance, studies have shown that according to a study by Northumbria University, ‘first impressions are 94% design-related’.
Although aesthetically attractive and effective web design can incur some initial costs, in terms of hiring a web design team. This may be something that is worth considering when looking into expanding or improving upon an existing platform. Whilst there are countless programs that offer free or cheap templates to complete by yourself, it is undeniable that the professionalism and technical expertise that a web designer can offer remains unmatched. If paying by an hourly rate, it may be worth understanding that, according to recent research, ’60% of web designers on average taking 11-20 hours per project‘. So, perhaps the cost of a bespoke site may even be slightly less than initially considered. Ultimately, web design matters to internet marketing strategy because it is vital that you have an aesthetic and online branding that matches the ethos and direction of your company. The cohesion of these two factors will increase the likelihood of customer’s trusting and revisiting your site to make a purchase.
Internet marketing is not just confined to the website that you may run your business from. Many more businesses are also advertising on other social media platforms in order to increase their brand visibility. No longer is it the case that businesses can only advertise on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube or even TikTok unless they are confined to a certain industry. Nowadays, it is commonplace to find a whole host of different businesses advertising options and engaging with their customer bases on these sites. Online statistics office, Statista, recorded ‘almost 4.2 billion people were active internet users and 3.4 billion were social media users’. This just goes to show how prolific and wide-reaching social media has become and how effective it can be to create a brand presence in these areas of the internet. This is also a statistic that is likely to continue on the same trajectory as technology and, by extension, social media become more accessible and utilized by all audiences across the world.
Social media doesn’t only have the ability to improve traffic to your website, it also goes a long way in ensuring that customers are receiving adequate support and advice whenever necessary. For instance, by allowing direct messenger accessibility on your profiles, customers and clients no longer need to get in contact via the phone or email. Instead, they have can forge direct communication with your brand and customer relations team. If reply times are monitored and customers feel as though they are valued and listened to with this function, then this can only have a positive and lasting impact on the reputation of your brand.
This is backed up statistically as well, with, Smart Insights, recording that a staggering ‘63% of customers actually expect companies to offer customer service through their social media’. Their research also goes onto add that ’90% of social media users have already connected with a brand or business through their chosen platform’. Therefore, you can see that a social media presence has, in effect, now become an industry standard for the vast majority of users.
Whilst social media goes a long way to ensure that your customer base feels valued and recognized, it could also be a consideration to include more interactive content in your internet marketing strategy. For example, including video links to projects or promotional material adds a dynamic and exciting element to any customer’s experience on a website. Of course, if it is relevant to your brand, it could also be a consideration to include interviews or a podcast feature to your website. Again, this goes further to ensuring that your business website is credible and reliable to the customer base it seeks to support.
Furthermore, if your business has support from content creators and other professionals, involving these individuals in promotional material like a podcast or video series will go far in endorsing your brand within the marketplace. Of course, much like web design, there can be some startup costs to this but if the budget is available it is an effective way to making sure that your website appears professional, sophisticated, relevant, and engaging.
Lastly, even though it may seem rather outdated, another effective internet marketing technique is to use newsletters and regular email subscription services to keep your customer base up to date. This is a particularly efficient and affordable internet marketing method as well as, depending on whether you have a copywriter to formulate the content, you can keep your clients and customers engaged with your product and any promotional material. Ultimately, customers may not visit your site everyday but, with an increasingly connected and internet focused world, it is unlikely that these individuals wouldn’t check their emails regularly. Furthermore, it could even be possible to include the wording and phrasing used in your SEO plans in these emails as well, in order to provide customers with a sense of continuity and cohesion.
Ultimately, it is clear that internet marketing encompasses a great deal of techniques and methods in order to drive traffic and sales to your site. Internet marketing works alongside SEO in order to create a robust, direct, and effective marketing strategy for your brand.
Throughout this article, it has become clear just how integral effective SEO and internet marketing strategy is to the success and longevity of an internet business online. SEO and internet marketing work together to creating an overall goal which is to increase traffic and engagement with your site. Even though they are not interchangeable terms, it is still important to acknowledge that SEO and internet marketing rely on the success of each other to boost your business’s visibility online.
Supported by countless surveys and research papers, in order to debut a business website online that will prove to be the most effective and give you the best return on investment, it is important to invest in professional strategy and take the time to investigate SEO and other internet marketing methods. Whether that be in terms of hiring a web designer or copywriter, or even in terms of seeking professionals that understand the importance of SEO, this can be an upfront cost that ultimately pays dividends down the line.