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Online marketing literally moves at the speed of innovation and marketers just have to keep up in order to maintain, or better yet, improve their SEO Ranking.

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, first started to invade the psyche of webmasters when Yahoo first came on the scene in 1994 and Google showed up in 1997.  It was clear from the beginning of Search Engine popularity that ranking on the first page would provide you more traffic to your website. Funneling people from the Search Engines to your website is, in essence, the heart of any online marketing strategy. So how do you go about crafting your online marketing strategy? The first step is to understand the difference between Organic versus Paid Marketing.

Simply put, Organic marketing is customer acquisition using a free model through standard SEO best practices. Paid marketing is exactly what it sounds like, spending money to bring customers to your website and exposing them to your products and/or services. Any online marketing strategy will involve organic components and could, possibly, involve paid components. But let’s look at each a bit more closely.

Organic Online Marketing

Historically, SEO was primarily concerned with moving your website, or a specific page, up in the search results by having both strong on-site and off-site components.  This was a challenging concept in online marketing in the areas of television, print and online media.  On-site components could include using proper meta-tags, finding rich keywords that were not that competitive and many other factors.  Off-site components would include the links back to your site from other sites in your field, comments on blogs or even social media engagements.  This became a tried and true standard SEO formula that worked for years.

With the advent of the lightning fast changes in the Google search algorithm, many people have taken a Holistic SEO approach.  This approach is primarily geared towards the user who is searching and not on the keywords or the search engine.  The major differences are the use of long tail keywords that cater to the specific needs of search users.  The basic idea is that even though longer keyword phrases might bring you less traffic, that traffic would be of higher quality and greater ranking potential.

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Paid Online Marketing

Paid advertising is as old as the concept of advertising itself. The Internet history of paid advertising began in the mid 1990s with flat-fee directory listings.  Overture, first appeared in 200 and was purchased by Yahoo in 2003.  Google Adwords evolved as a result of Google’s early cost-per-impressions model and has, since that time, dominated the paid advertising market.

Google began with a simple text ad model and did not involve banner advertising until much later.  In fact, Google almost sold their advertising model to a company called Doubleclick, the single largest banner advertising business at that time.  As many online advertising agencies know, the banner ad market crashed in the Spring of 2000 and Google started to investigate the success of Goto.com and implemented what would soon become their Google Adwords pay-per-click platform.

Modern day approaches to online marketing should always consider Google Adwords as a primary advertising platform.  What was once a pay-per-click advertising engine is now a powerful, multi-tool, suite of approaches that can meet the needs of anyone involved in online marketing.  With models that involve pay-per-click, pay-per-impression, conversions-per-action and media that ranges from simple text ads to complex video ads, Google has blazed a trail in the online marketing venue.

One of the greatest things about online advertising is the ability to instantly monitor performance and engagement.  The Google Analytics platform is excellent for this and provides a wealth of information on demographics, engagement and performance. You instantly get feedback on who is viewing your ad, what age group they are in, what interest groups they are in, what geographical area they are in, what language they speak and so on and so forth.

With Analytics, you have the ability to be as granular as you want and make adjustments on the fly.  Suppose you found out that 18 to 25 year olds, who live in Phoenix and speak Spanish are the primary purchasers of your product.  You would then increase that budget and decrease the budget in a demographic group that you were not being successful with.  Then final result is that your advertising dollars go to the demographic that you are most successful with and you are getting better results for your investment.

Closing Thoughts

Regardless of your choices in using organic or paid advertising, or if you choose to use both, the commitment to understanding how all of these pieces work together is critical. Developing metrics for success, understanding what is a win in each advertising campaign and clearly identifying your traffic funnels will go a long way towards saving you time, money and effort. Talk to your advertising agency about all the options available out there in the online marketing world that can can help you leverage your message and turn it into quantifiable results. In the meantime, stay ahead of the curb by joining our mailing list using the sign up box at the very bottom of this page for exciting and innovative tips about things to come.

Bob Cristello

Bob (aka AJ) joined Davidson Belluso with 30+ years working experience in web development. Born and raised in Boston, Bob is a U.S. Army veteran. His resume includes being a former Microsoft Developer Days keynote speaker, Head of Internal Development for Rebar International, Team Lead at Sally Mae and the Head of Computer Sciences at the Hyde School. Bob's articles on technology have appeared in Visual Basic Programmers Journal, Byte, InfoWorld and Computer Telephony. His skill set includes database design, complex SQL query design, and an impressive list of CMS software with a focus on WordPress. Bob handles clients Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media Optimization (SMO) and Digital Advertising, holding all six Google Analytics and Adwords certifications. Bob loves spending time with his family, enjoys the performing arts and plays several instruments.