First page placement is the holy grail of web business – and anyone can achieve it if they put strong organic SEO practices into play early and constantly. In the last article, we talked about how pay-per-click management is a great way to give a new web business a very fast start — but what about the rest of the race? That’s where you need to optimize your page for the search engines while keeping it natural enough that humans can intuitively use it without hiccups.
That optimization falls into two categories — on-page and off-page SEO. The number of detailed rules to follow in each category is far to great to meaningfully condense into a single blog post, but the basics are generally quite sensible.
On-page SEO consists mostly of making sure that your page is arranged in a layout that the search engine’s spiders will understand, having a clearly accessible site map, and emphasizing the most important part of your content. There are other rules regarding meta tags, outgoing links, and various other tiny little tricks like putting keywords into the alt and title tags of your graphics, but they start to get very minor very quickly. The big impact comes from what you choose to put first and last on the page. The search engines generally assume that, like a college essay, your point comes first, and then is repeated at the end — so those two areas have the most impact on what Google thinks your web page is about.
Off-page SEO is a far more robust and interesting topic than on-page SEO under most circumstances. While there are only so many things you can do to your website, there are a virtually infinite number of things you can do on OTHER websites that have an impact on your website. Some people who know a little bit about SEO are content to think of off-page SEO as various versions of ‘making backlinks’, but that’s much akin to saying that engineering a bridge is one version of ‘building stuff’.
By applying the precepts of on-page SEO while you first build a website, and then continuously using the power of off-page SEO to create an ever-increasing network of support for your website, you will eventually rank well for a wide variety of keywords relevant to your niche — and that’s how you win a marathon.
PPC Management is a love-it-or-hate-it deal. Either you’ve had a bad experience where you lost money, or you’ve heard other people tell you it’s complicated and scary and you don’t want to get involved — or you’ve tried it and made money doing it, and you want to do it more (and better!). Most business owners who fall into that last category realize quickly that ‘more and better’ both come in the same package — a PPC management company. There’s just too much to do it all yourself, at least if you plan to make any really serious money with it.
Pay per click marketing is kind of like a rocket trying to escape gravity. You put money in (fuel), and you pick your keywords carefully (aligning your booster), and you click ‘go’. If you’ve done it right, the traffic will come in (rocket goes up), and the money you make (thrust) will exceed the money you spend (gravity). If you’ve done it wrong, your rocket comes sputtering back to earth, crashes, and leaves you staring at the burning wreckage and wondering what went wrong (and how you’ll pay for it all).
But that’s an incomplete analogy, because unlike a rocket, the website never reaches orbit. So long as you’re using pay-per-click marketing, you’re going to have to pay for more fuel constantly. Any sane businessman is going to want to get off of PPC management eventually (and on to some serious organic SEO if all goes well.)
So here’s a different analogy that may be more accurate: Organic SEO, with its backlinks and blogs and articles and SERPS, is like a marathon. Everyone has the same goal: to reach the end, where they can sit back and relax and watch their magnificent SEO cause floods of organic traffic that convert into sales and fill the bank account. Everyone might eventually get there, but PPC management is essentially like some special shoes that allow you to get a running start, getting serious money flowing long before you get near the end of the marathon, and essentially shortening the race by putting you a few miles in by the time the other runners are just slipping into their pace.
Ten words or less: PPC management is the head start you need to win.