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Drive Optimal Traffic to Your Site

SEO and PPC help drive traffic to your site

Have you ever been to Target in search of a single item? It isn’t pretty. First, there’s the struggle of finding exactly what department your item would be in – let’s say you’re looking for a replacement light bulb. Next, when you finally track down the correct aisle with the help of the gangly teenage staff, there’s the selection: do you want soft white or ultra white lighting? Are you environmentally conscious enough to spend an extra $5 on the fancy energy saving bulbs? Suddenly, you’re frozen by all these choices, and by the time you finally leave the store, you’d rather not admit that you just spent 20 minutes picking out a light bulb at Target.

Well, finding something on the internet is that experience, times about a thousand. At any given time, a consumer can easily search millions of websites and ecommerce stores, all within seconds. So if you are one of those ecommerce sites, hoping to reach the right consumers, what can you do to make their search a little less frustrating? The dynamic duo of search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, of course!

All good internet marketers know that SEO is the foundation of online marketing. It’s how you advertise your website’s content to Google search engines, who in turn advertise it to normal people browsing the internet, if the search engines find your content worthy, that is. Unlike brick and mortar stores (especially big chains) that leave a good deal of the effort of finding a specific product to the consumer, ecommerce stores can use SEO to let consumers know exactly what they offer up front. The following two SEO components do much of the work of getting optimal traffic to your website.

Meta titles and descriptions: The “summary” of your page, this is what search engines will show in the search results. Meta info should be concise, informative, and enticing while containing the keywords you’d like to rank for. In case that wasn’t enough criteria, meta titles are limited to 50-60 characters, and meta descriptions are limited to 150-160 characters. Remember writing haikus in high school? It’s kind of like that. A well-written meta description works wonders, so the time consuming task of completing meta data for every page on your site does pay off.

On-page content: The on page content on your site needs to align harmoniously with the expectations you set in your meta description in order to provide great user experience. In other words, do not advertise blue shirts in your meta description if the page is all about red shirts. When consumers find the info on the page they were expecting, they are happy, and are more likely to convert. It’s like walking into a store and finding precisely what you need without having to wander around endlessly.

While SEO is the most vital internet marketing practice that can drive traffic to your site, paid advertising shouldn’t be overlooked. It is a common misconception that SEO and PPC work against each other, or that you can’t target the same keyword in both arenas. This isn’t true: PPC can be used to reach a different audience and help you see results sooner - if your website has a strong SEO foundation. Paid advertising should never be the first, or only, channel of marketing that you invest in. Tempting though it may be, (setting up an Adwords campaign takes mere minutes compared to hours of creative work writing good meta and on page content) just don’t do it. PPC without SEO is almost like false advertising. If you write a great ad for a certain keyword and your landing page is sloppy and has no content, the searcher will leave your site, and your rankings will suffer.

Instead, set up your PPC campaigns after you have completed SEO for your site. Because organic rankings take time to rise, PPC can help grab quality traffic that you may otherwise miss out on. And if your site is optimized properly, that traffic will stay and ideally, convert.

Without SEO and PPC, your website is unlikely to appear to consumers in search results, which means missing out on optimal traffic looking for exactly what you have to offer. So if you haven’t already, get to optimizing and advertising!

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