How to Get Your Business Found Online

While professional search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the smartest investments a Website owner could make there are other effective search engine marketing solutions to consider that will increase your chances of being found online.

Statistics show that medium and large businesses are moving up to 60% of their advertising budgets online. While this may not be possible for many small businesses we could still learn a few things from observation, for example, the food services giant Aramark is focusing efforts on their online presence for their event coordinator and planning service. One of those observations could be that larger businesses are taking advantage of the advertising opportunities made available by the major search engines Google, Yahoo and MSN, and these opportunities are perfectly feasible for your small business.

Pay-Per-Click

A pay-per-click strategy is a great complement to an SEO strategy. Pay-per-click offers so much flexibility that it’s almost silly for a business not try at least a small test campaign. Pay-per-click offers the flexibility and convenience of setting your own budget and creating your own advertisements. Other conveniences of pay-per-click are that you can create a new advertising campaign in a few minutes and turn the advertisements on and off in an instant. This feature is great for seasonal or holiday campaigns. Other advantages are that pay-per-click can be targeted by geographical region making it is possible to narrow the advertisements within a city location or globally.

Site Targeting

Site Targeting is Google’s new program that allows you to customize text or banner advertisements and display them across specific Websites within the Google network. You can target Websites by suggesting keywords to Google and allowing Google to choose from the network which Websites are relevant to those keywords. Or you could suggest a specific Website URL to Google and Google will let you know if that Website is available within the network. You may even be able to specify which page within the Website you want to advertise your customized advertisements on. This form of advertising is new from Google and the advertising opportunities within the network are slim; therefore, caution should be taken to test your market within the network before throwing a large amount of money at this form of advertising. The payment model for this program is CPM (cost per 1000 impressions).

Behavioral Targeting

The Yahoo! Impulse program provides businesses with the ability to target Internet users based on their past Internet behaviors. With this method of advertising we can target users with text and banner ads customized to whatever the user has recently searched or viewed online. For example, if you sell canoe camping products you could target Internet users who have recently visited canoe camping Websites, or performed canoe camping searches. Yahoo! Behavioral Targeting allows you to display your banner advertisements across the Yahoo! Network and even within the Yahoo! email. Google recently announced they will offer their own behavioral targeting program in the future.

These are just a sample of the online advertising opportunities available to small business owners. Transitioning your small business online may be a smart move but be sure to do your homework before committing to any of these programs. When taking the leap to online advertising realistic goals need to be established and strategies need to be developed. Sure it is a good idea to drive Internet traffic to your small business but steps need to be taken to ensure your business is being found online for the right reasons.