The golden egg to marketing is targeted traffic. Targeted advertising is when your marketing efforts reach the actual people you are going after. Newspapers, radio, television and similar advertising are not really targeted because they basically cast a wide net and will get some people you are interested in. There are things they can do to make it more targeted like advertising a sporting goods store on a sports talk radio station, but there is a more targeted method and that is using the Internet and search engine optimisation.
Search engines are the sites we go to find things on the Internet. The popular ones include Google, Yahoo and Bing. There are other ones out there, but those three are, by far, the biggest. And, Google is perhaps the king of those three. Search engine optimisation is the practice of creating a website in a manner that helps the search engines read the site and understand what it is about and how to rank it on certain terms. So, if you want to rank on the term “poodles for sale” then you tailor your web page around that term.
That is a simple explanation of what SEO is, but it is much more complicated than that. There are many steps to properly optimising a site. And, there is a thin line to walk too. If you over optimise or try to hard you can actually trip a wire in the search engines algorithm where they know they are being manipulated and may exclude you completely from their results. This is known as gaming the search engines. The makers of the search engines like for websites to grow organically and naturally. They do not like to think that people are doing unnatural things to help their sites rank fast. However, due to the competitive landscape, this is just not the case. There has been a whole cottage industry created around helping websites rank in the search engines.
This mainly has to do with the targeted advertising mentioned earlier. If someone has a plumbing problem, goes to Google and types in “affordable plumber in Chicago”, and your site shows up in the first position then you have a really good shot at getting a phone call. That is the epitome of targeted advertising. People recognised this long ago and ever since then have been trying to manipulate their sites to rank on all manner of keywords and phrases. Thus, SEO company was born.
Proper SEO, however, takes patience and lots of time. You need content for the search engines to find. You need links pointing to your site so the search engines understand that your site is one that needs to be paid attention to. You need proper keyword research to make sure you are ranking on words that have merit. You want to rank on words that have high search volume because if you rank on words no one is searching for there is no point in all the effort. As you can see, there is a lot of work that needs to be done with SEO, but the results can be amazing.