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Marketing Your Business on Search Engines

When it comes to marketing your business online, few tactics may be as effective as using search engines. After all, the first stop customers and prospects make online to find information on products and services like yours is usually a site such as Google, MSN orYahoo!.The challenge, however, is ensuring that they see your business in their search results.

Unfortunately, there are no ways to guarantee that your site will show up in a relevant search. But there are steps you can take to help improve the chances that qualified prospects can find you online.

Marketing on search engines may be most critical for businesses with a strong online presence

  • it should be considered as a primary area of

ad spending for e-commerce businesses where a click to the right product may result in a quick sale. For other businesses, determining how much effort and money you put into this area may depend on how important your website is to your prospecting efforts. In either case, marketing on search engines can be affordable and easy enough that it is may be worth testing as a way to find new customers.

SEO and SEM Using search engines for promotion comes down to two similarly-named but different disciplines

  • search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM). SEO involves creating your

company’s website in such a way that it ranks high in search results when an appropriate term is used (see sidebar). SEO generally takes some technical know-how, as well as an understanding of the various algorithms search engines use. It’s not for the faint-hearted.

SEM, on the other hand, requires less technical knowledge and can often be done effectively in-house. SEM generally refers to pay-per-click ads that show up in search engine results.They are offered by programs like Google Adwords that let you create ads that appear above or next to the “natural” or “unpaid” results of a search. By purchasing ads based on keywords, you can reach customers when they are actively looking for information on your type of offerings. And you pay only when your ad is clicked on.

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