The Big Picture – Well-Rounded SEM for SMBs, Part 1

Looking back over the last year of writing for Search Engine Watch we covered a wide range of search tips for small business owners. It ran the gamut from social media to paid advertising and tons of stuff in-between. It’s hard to believe my first Search Engine Watch article, “Time and Money: Small Businesses Have Little of Each,” was published on April 3, 2007 – I guess that even a little bit of time still flies when you’re having fun!

While reflecting on the past year, I started to think about all of the different elements small businesses can use to put together a well-rounded online marketing campaign. I decided to put together a list of “things to think about” when putting your search marketing to the test.

I don’t pretend to know everything about every facet of operating a small business – either online or offline. My mantra has always been, “Keep your mind open to the possibilities.” I try not to discount something out of hand, but first try it out and play with it a bit. For example, Twitter or LinkedIn won’t work for everyone, but addressing the possibility and making sure you’re not missing a great opportunity is part of what makes great marketers successful.

I went back through what we’ve discussed and what others around the Web have touched on and decided to put together a resource list of articles and thoughts for a variety of online marketing strategies. So much happens in a year, this is definitely a two-part series.

This first part will address the bread and butter of an online marketing campaign – Analytics, SEO and Paid Advertising. In two weeks I’ll talk about social media, brand and reputation management and some other fun things that can be very lucrative.

Analytics:

Without analytics you’re throwing money away. Time and dollar investments in online advertising without analytics can be akin to throwing $100 at the roulette wheel and walking away. You have no idea what hit and what missed, and you never know if your $100 doubled or disappeared. The key to effective online marketing is measurement of your success and the analysis of the data. If you don’t have analytics, get them.

Conversion Rate – What’s your Web site Tracking as a Conversion? by Li Evans
Taking the Fear out of Web Analytics for Your Small Business by yours truly
What Are You Converting? by Tim Ash
Data Segmentation: Web site Analytics for PPC by Eric Enge

Search Engine Optimization

SEO is a discipline that has a foundation in a variety of factors. On-page factors include items such as content, page titles, and meta descriptions. On-site factors include navigation and internal linking. Off-site, you need to worry about the almighty link – is it relevant and worth the potential investment?

SEO factors can change occasionally and staying on top of the trends can be a challenge for full-time optimizers – let alone the multi-tasking small business owner. Like I’ve said before, reading this blog is a first step. Consider the basics that haven’t changed drastically for awhile:

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