How to Dance with Google
By Rick Sloboda | May 31, 2007
Millions of websites attempt to seduce Google and its competitors to score high search engine rankings. But what is the best path to this lucrative romance?
While there are more than a few website promotion tactics, you have two primary means to establish a relationship: court Google and other search engines with alluring web content; or simply pay to get lucky.
Pay per click campaigns
This popular search engine marketing tactic can get you substantial presence in just hours or days. However, after you clear the floor of fraudulent clicks (from competitors eating up your marketing budget) and tire kickers, you might end up with less-than-anticipated conversions, if any at all.
Big businesses with hefty marketing budgets might be able to absorb such losses. But if you're a relatively small business, blowing your budget with nothing to show for it can be crippling.
Depending on the market demand for your keywords and clicks, a pay per click campaign could range from just a few dollars to thousands per day. Hence, if you go this route, be sure to have someone well informed and reputable conduct meticulous testing and analysis on your behalf. That way, you can identify what's not working and swiftly make adjustments to improve conversion efficiencies.
Organic search engine optimization
Organic search engine optimization (SEO) is achieved by optimizing your web content with the right keywords and acquiring inbound links. Both tactics help boost search engine rankings and drive traffic to your site.
The con of this website promotion strategy is it typically takes three to six months to advance to search engines' top pages. However, once you get there, it's possible to maintain your position with no budget and little effort.
Plus, web users consider organic search results to be more trustworthy than pay per click ads, hence, potential clients are twice as likely to click on the organic listings. Moreover, organic results build credibility in the marketplace, which further establishes your business and brand for long-term success.
Wear a white hat
Whether you conduct the organic search engine optimization campaign or have someone do it for you, be sure to play by the rules. This is often referred to as “white hat” SEO.
Try to manipulate the likes of Google with “black hat” SEO and chances are you'll be deemed a â€˜spammer' and disappear from search engine rankings altogether. Not good for any bottom line considering Google alone receives more than 350 million searches per day, and provides the search results for AOL Search, ICQ Search, Netscape and others.
To oust those who've entered the dark side of SEO, Google performs frequent updates industry types call the “Google Dance.” While these events were initially held monthly, Google now maintains a database that's updated continuously. As a result, the â€˜dances' only take place when Google needs to make major changes to its algorithm (a complex set of rules used to determine website rankings).
If you play by the rules and feature relevant web content and high-ranking inbound links, each update or dance can bring you closer to the top spot. On the other hand, if you break search engine rules and regulations, it could be your last dance, at least for a while.
To pay or not to pay?
If you can afford it, a combination of organic search engine optimization and pay per click advertising can generate leads and sales in both the short and long term. But if you have to choose between the two, going organic provides the most significant margins over the long term.
Regardless of the website promotion route you choose, your web content must promote usability and readability, and comprise strategic calls to action to convert the additional traffic into sales.