If you’re anything like me, chances are that by the time you’re reading this, you’ve probably already broken one of your new year’s resolutions. But hey, that’s okay. Those personal resolutions aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. All they really create is guilt and anxiety over the fit of your pants. Instead of putting all that pressure on yourself this year, why not do something different—something that will actually pay off? How about resolving to improve your search marketing efforts? Below are five areas to focus on.
Get out of debt
Figure out what keywords are causing you to spend too much money. Perhaps you’re not changing bids as frequently as you should be. Utilize day-parting as a way to ensure you are effectively spending at the right times. Determine if affiliates are impeding your ads from showing up, and if they are, get them to cease and desist from bidding on any trademarked or branded terms. If your organization is part of a larger entity, take steps to align objectives so that campaigns between sister companies are not inadvertently bidding against one another and driving up your cost per click.
Coordinate an offline ad with a search campaign. I still cannot fathom why large organizations are not mobilizing faster when it comes to incorporating search into their overall marketing plans. They spend thousands of dollars—if not millions—on push marketing, hoping to change a targeted customer’s perception of “want” into “need.” Yet they fail to utilize search to capture the demand they create. This is akin to fishing with a net—with a huge hole in it. According to an iProspect/JupiterResearch user behavior study, 67 percent of searches are influenced by some form of offline marketing, with television and print responsible for 39 percent and 30 percent, respectively. If you’re working with an agency that handles your offline marketing, coordinate a call between that agency and your search firm so the two can start to share data about performance that will make both channels more effective.
Go someplace new
With the introduction of universal or blended search, SEO stopped being just about Web pages. This year, try optimizing a press release for search. If it’s optimized for the proper terms, the release could find its way into the top of the search results. Also, positioning your company as a thought leader—either by contributing editorial content to industry publications, or by creating an RSS feed to distribute content to additional outlets, or by sponsoring a survey on an important industry topic—demonstrates that you are a trusted source of information. That trust will lead to inbound links, and that credibility could get other pages of your site into the top of the search results, too. It’s also a way to achieve visibility on a term that you normally wouldn’t be able to create a typical page of content for.
Spend more time with family & friends
Participate in a social network. You are not going to rank first in Google because three people “digg” your story, or because somebody wrote on your wall in Facebook. However, you will begin to build both visibility and credibility for your company through transparent participation in these networks. If you present yourself as a trusted adviser and dispense good and useful advice, you might even earn a few links out of it—not through solicitation, but rather from good old fashioned valuable content. Not only will that ultimately serve your PageRank well, but it will also generate additional traffic.
Get (your analytics) in shape
Getting your analytics in shape is key. Whether that means upgrading your platform, giving yourself the ability to parse out paid from organic, or tracking conversions to a keyword level. Having worked with a broad range of clients over the years, I have found that the most successful campaigns are the ones where clients have the greatest flexibility to track. If we know what is converting, we can spend more time optimizing around the terms that will bring the greatest returns.
Think about it. Today is only Day 9 of 2008. You’ve got the whole year ahead of you. When December 31st rolls around again, how will you measure success? Hopefully it’ll be by more than just the fit of your pants. Be smart. Make some resolutions that will actually pay off.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.