Online Marketing: A Quick Guide to Testing The Marketing Waters For Free

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First, there is the importance of SEO, which is Search Engine Optimization, or all the ways to get the search engine to pull up your page before everyone else’s. This is an enormous advantage because people will usually click on the first option they see that seems like it will fulfill their need. So if your website gets pulled up a little ahead of another website selling the same exact thing, you will still get more sales. What does SEO entail and how do you acheive it?

Keywords: If your site has the right keywords that more people are searching for, the engine will pull your site before someone’s who don’t have as many of the more popular search keywords. If you have made your own website or have the ability to edit your website content, you can do this easily yourself. The work will be in finding the right keywords, and integrating them smoothly into your content. Remember that website content filled with randomness is not going to attract anyone. People will just click right out of a site that appears random and not professional and useful to them.

Webpage Organization: All of the pages on your site need to be clearly and cleanly linked together for search engine bots to find and cache them to retrieve them for searchers.

Header Tags and Meta Desciptions: Every page on your website should have these filled with the right keywords to attract your clientele, also. Search Engines look at html headers when deciding what to pull up, and they also look at the meta description. Make sure each of your headers in your content (titles of pages, posts, ect.) are marked in html as headers (h1, h2, etc.) and that they are SEO friendly with attractive keywords or phrases. Make sure the Meta tags hold a good description and keywords of your site.

Links: the more links to your site that other sites have, the more popular (ie. useful to people) a search engine will assume your site is, and therefore it will pull up your site before a less popular one. Some ways to acheive this are by link exchanging, which is linking to another site in exchange for them linking to you, commenting on other sites in which you can leave a link to your site in the comment, forums in which you can do the same, and writing articles that pertain to whatever your website is about, slipping a link to your website into the article, and submitting to an article directory. Blogs are another great tool. Make a blog yourself where you can blog posts about your website or its products or content, or if you have friends with blogs that are established, see if they won’t help promote your site. This is also a great way to exchange links, as bloggers are generally eager to link up with other blogs or websites that focus on their same niche, subject or category.

There are more ways to optimize your website, but these are the basics and things you can begin to do yourself before enlisting the help of a paid professional. There are many blogs, websites and articles on improving SEO and on each of the topics I outlined above that will tell you more step by step details on how to do each of them.

Then there is the importance of targeted traffic. Targeted traffic means people already interested in your site’s product or service, and therefore more likely to buy.

Links: Building links is important for this also, because it is a free way to advertise your site to your target audience and get that important targeted traffic. If your link is on someone else’s site which pertains in some way to your own, and that has a lot of traffic itself, odds are good that people will click on your link and the link will bring traffic to your site that way. If you make an interesting comment on someone’s blog, other people reading are likely to click your link to see what else you have to say on your own site. Writing an article about something that somebody wants to know about, and giving your website as a solution to their need or want in that article, is a great way to get some targeted traffic that will buy from your site.

Advertise: Now hold up and read on, there are ways to do this for free or really cheap! Advertisers like Google Adwords and Facebook Advertising will offer a certain amount for free as a promotion. I think when I used Google Adwords, I had to pay $10 to activate the code i had for $25 worth free. So I basically got $35 worth of Adwords advertising for $10 and I got about 250-300 hits from it. You can also find cheap advertising on blogs sometimes. Especially if they are a new blog that doesn’t know its own worth yet.

Social networking: Sites like Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter are a huge traffic mill which everyone is taking advantage of now. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room in the pie for you. Make a Facebook page about your product, service or website, promote it to your own Facebook fans, and get people to like the page. The more people like it, and their friends can see it on their page too, the more traffic you will get that way. You can also use a Facebook profile to make friends with people who might be interested in your product. If its a baby product, friend a lot of parents, share the link to your Facebook page on your status, and have them like your page. Their friends will see it, and the goal is that they will like your product to and go from there to your site and buy!

All of this sounds like a lot of work and time? Trust me, it is! Thats why the professionals cost so much money (other than the fact that they are in high demand and can charge a lot anyways) But it all works! And you can do it all yourself if you would rather not or can’t spend the money for someone else to do it for you. All this stuff will contribute to you getting more targeted traffic through link building, SEO and advertising that will end up buying your product or service. There are plenty of blogs, articles and websites that focus on each or all of these topics that can tell you in more detail how to accomplish each thing. You shouldn’t have to pay for any of it. Someone out there will tell you how for free if you are just willing to spend the time and do the work.

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