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The online visiblity forumula. The one sentence answer to the meaning of life (at least for online marketers)



By Chad Klingensmith

The QUESTION:

For the duration of 5 year web marketing career I have been asked the same question. How do I get my website ranked higher? How do I get more traffic? Or sometimes, almost incredulously, how do you get websites ranked higher? In the modern day of ultra-sophisticated borderline artificially intelligent search engine algorithms (formulas Google and the other the other search engines use to rank websites) this question could be considered along the lines of “what is the meaning of life”….anybody who understands search engine holistically knows there is no one right answer for marketing a website.

So maybe you belong to the growing market of web marketing newbies and rather not spend hours learning and researching search marketing. When starting out, how can you determine the best plan of action is for marketing a website? Well barring all extraneous circumstances or outliers the answer simply lies in fundamental economics (and you thought you were \done with high school/college economics…..)

The ANSWER in ONE SENTENCE.

Lets clean up the chalkboards and mute out the noise. Here is a simple formula you can apply to web marketing visibility.

Demand (Money + Time) = On line Visibility

Yes thats right. This simple algebraic equation is a baseline approach you must consider when promoting a website. Let me explain the variables to this formula.
MONEY

Welcome to the NOW generation. Most businesses are impatient and will quickly turn to only paid advertising for quick traffic and sales. This includes spending on paid advertising, paid linking, press releases, anything that costs money to get visibility on line. It could take months to rank for “New Balance running shoes” where it takes only 15 minutes to setup a Google Adwords campaign and start getting traffic immediately. However you must be willing to pay anywhere from $0.01 to over $50 a click for this traffic. Once your out of money, tough luck.

There is nothing wrong with spending money on paid advertising as long as your business is producing a positive ROI. Also considering this primary way search engine generate revenue (in fact Google makes 99% of its revenue through ad words) it’s unlikely the paid advertising will ever go obsolete. Our suggestion is to make sure you are carefully managing your paid accounts…or find a professional to manage them for you. Many people are clueless when it comes to setting up and managing ppc campaigns. Similar to hiring an accountant to save money on taxes, hire a legitimate search engine marketing professional to save money on pay per click and/or other forms of on line advertising

TIME:

It’s possible to generate on line visibility without spending a dime on paid advertising. This is usually accomplished through search engine optimization, blogging, social networking, etc. This is often more common with hobbyists/part timers who are under less pressure to generate on line revenue. The problem it may take several months to learn how to naturally promote a website and much longer to actually apply these tactics. Worse yet beginners may succumb to taking bad advice and end up wasting time and effort on learning search engine optimization. Plus it isn’t just about SEO anymore, there are new marketing options such as blogging, video promotion and social marketing.

Spending you own time promoting a website/blog can be very rewarding if you are diligent in your work. However remember the old cliché “time is money”. Do you really have extra time to devote to your project? If “yes” great, if no find someone to do it for you (unless you want to become a SEO professional).

DEMAND

In the not too distant past, the venerable web marketing guru Danny Sullivan commented at SES conference that when it comes to web marketing “it is much easier to have the search engines pull your product or service….then trying to push it”. Just face it, some services or products are in more demand than others. And some industries are more or less complicated. If you are trying to promote a website for general keywords related to insurance, real estate, viagra, etc you are likely going to have demand variable that is less than 1 ( < 1 ). This variable will unfortunately lower the demands. Refer to the earlier on line visibility formula. So for instance your product/service demand is 1% then your equation might look like something like this

.01 ($100000 x 200 hours of work) = low visibility

Not to be discouraging, but just realize that if you have a low demand service/product you will end up investing more time and money.

However the opposite is true as well. Have you found the cure for cancer? Did Oprah endorse your book/product? Do you have something special that none of your competitors can offer (and your customers truly want) If you answered yes your demand variable will increase exponentially. So the little money/time you devote to a high demand service/product will be significantly multiplied.

The tricky part about demand is that business owners often overestimate the true demand for their service or product. You need to seek unbiased information about popular your service/product is.
You also need to protect yourself against copycats, imitators and knock off artists.

So you may be saying to yourself “well I understand your point….so now what?”. We will explain more simple steps on what you can do in our next article.

This is an entry to Marketing Pilgrim’s 3rd Annual SEM Scholarship contest.