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Website Promotion Strategy

You have created your website, uploaded your products information, and left your contact information on the website. Now you are about to promote your website. There are numerous techniques that you can use to mark your web site, whether a new web site or an existing one. However, the major five of them are search engine marketing, pay-per-click advertising, and bulk email marketing.

Web Site Submission & Search Engine Marketing

Everyone wants the best placement in the search engines and directories as more and more people use search engines to find what they want. But which search engines should I register with? It is estimated that the top 20 search engines account for 95% of web traffic combined; Google, Yahoo!, AltaVista, Excite, Infoseek, Hotbot, Lycos and WebCrawler. Actually, Yahoo isn't really a search engine, but rather a directory.

Today, as more and more people use search engines to find what they want, search engine marketing is becoming the most important way to market your website, especially for new web sites. According to Bridgat.com research, as many as 66.9% percent of new websites get noticed through search engines.

On the above chart, you can find that roughly two-thirds of websites are exposed through search engines.

According to The Bridgat.com, the top 10 ranked websites on search results constitutes to 72% of all clicks for a particular keyword search, 18% for second 10, and only 10% for those ranked after top 20 websites.

 

There are maybe 3000 search engines and directories currently in operation. With very small ones popping up or dying off all the time. Submitting your site to major search engines is the first step to promote your site.

Major search engines and directories:

AltaVista

LookSmart

AOL Search

Lycos

Ask Jeeves

MSN Search

DMOZ / Open Directory Project

Starting Point

Excite

Teoma

Fast Search / All The Web

WebCrawler

Galaxy

What-U-Seek

Google

WiseNut

HotBot

Yahoo!

Inktomi

InfoSpace

Search engine optimization, also known as SEO, is a process to recreate your website so that it is search engine friendly. Search engine optimization is the best but easiest way to improve your search engine placement. It typically includes Meta tags editing, Robots file generating, and sitemap creating. Here, Meta tags can be further divided into 3 components: Title, Description and Keywords. If your site provides downloadable GMAT test prep courses, you can create Meta tags like the following:

<title>GMAT Test Prep Course</title>
<meta name="description" content="MySite.com offers downloadable GMAT prep courses.">
<meta name="keywords" content="gmat, test, prep, course, download">

When search engines visit your website, they will find it provides GMAT test prep information, and then index it to their own database. If the keyword density in your web page is what the search engines consider perfect (around 7%), your site will get high ranking. Most people call it “relevance”. The more your site relevant to a particular keyword, the higher your site ranked for such enquiry.

Seems easy? Absolutely! However, everyone can do that like you. Therefore, when your competitors imitate your strategy, then you advantages no longer exist. Here are some techniques you can do to beat your competition.
1. Choose keywords that best describe your product or service, not too narrow or broad. For example, if you are offering essay editing service for business schools admission, the best keywords are MBA Essay or MBA Essay Editing. Do not use Essay or Essay Editing. For the later, you are competing against the whole essay industry.

2. Occasionally use plural form when typing your keywords. Plural noun is a great choice because it can represents two words, one in single and the other in plural form. For example, you types “MBA Essays” in your web page. When end users inputs “MBA Essay”, they reach you. By enquiry “MBA Essays”, they also reach you. But if you simply input MBA Essay as your keywords, only the former users get to you.

The disadvantage of SEO strategy is that it has limited potential. As I said, everyone can optimize their sites. But who should be ranked higher? There should other factors that determine search engine placement. Then, the Link Popularity was invented to evaluate how important a website is. The more other sites link to you, the higher your site is ranked. Also, you can increase your link popularity by exchanging links with other sites, and then increase your rankings. This value process really takes time, but it has unlimited potential.

Paid Advertisement

Paid advertising includes fixed-rate banner program in portal websites (e.g. Yahoo) and pay-per-click advertising in search engines (e.g. Overture). Banner Advertising is one of the oldest forms of online marketing. The click-through rate (people clicking on the ad to visit a website) can be relatively low. But it's not on click-through alone that you should assess banner advertising effectiveness. It can also raise your brand awareness and reinforce brand recognition.

Pay-per-click is alternative if you want immediate traffic to your website. As its name suggest, you only pay for clicks. Many search engines provide such opportunities. Major of them are Google AdWords, Overture, LookSmart, etc.

As its name suggests, you only pay for actual click through to your site. Targeted advertising in pay for clicks will help increase the amount of customers you obtain at a controlled cost. Listed below are the most popular pay-per-click search engines, which count almost 95% paid web traffics on the internet.

Google AdWords is a quick and simple way to purchase targeted cost-per-click (CPC) advertising, regardless of your budget. AdWords ads are displayed on the right sight along with search results on Google, as well as on search and content sites in its growing ad network, including AOL, EarthLink, HowStuffWorks, & Blogger. With more than 200 million searches on Google each day and even more searches and page views on its ad network, Google AdWords ads reach a vast audience.

When you create a Google AdWords ad, you choose keywords for which your ad will appear and specify the maximum amount you're willing to pay for each click. You only pay when someone clicks on your ad. There's no minimum monthly charge -- just a $5 activation fee. Your ads start running within minutes after you submit your billing information. You can easily keep track of your ad performance using the reports in your online account Control Center. To find out more about Google AdWords or to begin creating your ads, visit the Google AdWords home page..

Overture.com (formerly GoTo.com and was recently purchased by Yahoo) is the earliest but most expensive of the pay for placement search engines. Using it costs more than Google AdWords but it is also good way to get targeted traffic to your web site. If you are a U.S. or Canadian merchant, you can sign up an account with free $50.00 credit. Overture is the king of pay for placement. It partnerships with Yahoo and many other search engines. Be prepared to pay a significant amount of money for the web traffic you send to your site.

It typically takes 3 business days for Overture to review and approve your account after you sign up. Also, every editing in your accounts should be approved before it appears on the search results.

LookSmart.com changed from a traditional directory to a pay for placement service in April of 2002. I personally do not recommend doing business with this company. The only reason to advertise on LooksSmart is its partnering with MSN-the directory results will also show on MSN search results. Looksmart does not use robots, everything indexed into Looksmart is done by people.

Search Engines

Google AdWords

Overture

LookSmart

Editor

Robot

Human and Robot

Human

Setup Approval

Less than 5 minutes

3 business days

3 business days

Setup Fee

US $5

No

$29

Minimum Cost-per-click

US $0.05

US $0.10

US $0.15

Editing Approval

Instantly

2-3 business days

5 business days

Shown Networks

Google, AOL

Yahoo

LookSmart, MSN


Email Marketing

E-mail marketing can be effective only if it is permission-based. Continually sending unsolicited emails can be prosecuted. If you are accused of sending spam you can run into trouble, ranging from impolite responses through to loss of internet access accounts and the destruction of your business reputation. In short: don’t spam your customers. They won’t like it, and you won’t like the results.

This method is the second most effective after search engine marketing for reaching a targeted customer base.

Opt-in is a permission based mass e-mail distribution list. You must ask for permission to send someone an e-mail. If you insist on sending unsolicited e-mail's, then your on-line future will be very dim. It takes time to build an opt-in list, but the advantage is that people are already interested in what you have to say and/or what you sell. Your return on the dollar will be highest using this method.

Your newsletter is FREE to create and to FREE to transmit. If your list grows to 10,000 people and you send out one message every two weeks, you reach 20,000 targeted customers for FREE every two weeks. Starting your own newsletter is beginning to make more sense.

Opt-In list: These lists contain the e-mail addresses of people that have asked to being informed about new things related to certain subjects or topics.

Affiliate Programs

Affiliate programs are great tools for promoting your web business. Affiliate programs are a lot like networking marketing. Affiliate programs pay other websites for referring people to your company's products, services or web sites. The commission that you pay to them can vary between 5% - 15% of the purchase price for any product or service that they referred someone to and they made a purchase.

Link Exchange

Link exchange program is free, but is a very efficient technique you can use to increase traffic to your web site and boost your search engine rankings. The benefits of having a large number of relevant web sites linking to yours are two-fold: Direct Traffic and PageRank for link popularity.