Web Marketing and SEO: “Ya Gotta Know the Territory”
by Andrew MIllar
Marketing your business on the internet presents some challenges that are much different form traditional ways of getting your products and services in front of your customers. It is also true that the more it changes the more it stays the same. That refrain from the opening song of the musical, The Music Man, comes to mind when a group of salesmen are discussing the basics of their profession: “Ya gotta know the territory.” Web marketing and SEO, Search Engine Optimization, are critical to today’s business environment but unless you choose the right key words that your potential customers are entering into search engines, unless you ‘know the territory,’ your efforts may well be wasted.
Before you decide which key words to feature, it is just as important to decide who your market is. Who are your traditional customers? How old are they, what gender, education level, career choices, and recreational preferences? Spend some time putting together a composite of your top 2 or 3 customers, a ‘persona,’ of each of them, that allows you to target very specifically what they’re looking for and how they are seeking it. Keep in mind that tastes change and buying habits shift according to season, region, family status and whatever’s the latest buzz.’ This gives you a reliable base from which to develop accurate long-tail keywords for SEO.
Just remember that keywords are the starting point for your marketing efforts. They are the flag that you are waving to attract the attention of the search engines. As you research your personas, ask yourself what problems do they have that my services or products can solve for them? Since you know what you do and now you know why they want your product, BINGO!, you’re now onto the right key word. Except there’s only one problem here, that keyword is really popular and it covers a general topic. So your job is to chunk it down to a more specific, a more targeted, topic. This is done through the use of ‘long tail key words.’
For example, instead of listing ‘vitamins’ you become more specific and list ‘whole food multiple vitamins.’ The advantages of using long tail key words is that they become more tailored to your business and, since it is more specific, there are fewer customers and less competition. They are easier, therefore, to rank higher with the search engines.
Now you can see why with web marketing and seo, ya gotta know the territory. In a comprehensive online marketing campaign, this is the point of the spear!