It is all well and good to search engine optimise your website for as many of the terms and keywords you think your potential customers may use, but often those users do not know how to use search engines accurately.

After all, “Google” is still one of the top searched upon terms on the major search engines, showing that many internet users do not understand that by typing the word “google” or the URL “www.google.com” into the location bar of their browser they will find the site without needing to visit a search engine.

When advertising your company, it is therefore not enough to just put your URL into all your advertising copy – you also need to include a “call to search”. We are beginning to see more of this method employed on TV adverts and in print. Generally, a company will say “Just search under x and y keywords” having optimised rigorously on the major search engines for such terms, and additionally having purchased the terms in a PPC campaign.

For instance, if your company sells widgets for swimming pool pumps, you can optimise your site for that precise search term, or a combination of those words, to ensure that your site comes in the first page when a potential customer searches for it. The user is more likely to remember the word combination “widgets for swimming pool pumps” (if that is what they need and are searching for) than www.widgets-for-swimming-pool-pumps.com.

When thinking of the search terms you are planning to advise your potential visitors to search upon, think about what makes your company, its products, and services unique. Use humour, or a very memorable set of search terms so they stick in the memory. This can also help to brand your business and create a ‘personality’ to set you aside from the competition.

We have seen a growing use of search advice rather than just URLs in Government awareness campaigns, such as for saving electricity and climate change. Leading the user to further sites on the subject is actually a good way of increasing awareness and knowledge at reduced cost for the government agency. It also prevents the government being accused of going into competition with independent websites and businesses covering the same topics.

However, for a business, this technique of advising which keywords to search upon can actually lead to your competitors’ websites, who may also be optimising for similar terms so conduct competitive analysis with your proposed search terms to see who your potential customer may also find. If the sites that turn up are complementary rather than competitive, consider contacting those websites to creat reciprocal links or backlinks.

Adding a geo-tag, eg a location or town name can also help the user pinpoint your business more precisely and help grow awareness of your presence in that particular location. As more and more people use their mobile phones to find information, and mobile phones can pinpoint with a fair degree of accuracy where that user is located, this can have unexpected benefits. However, your website will need to be mobile friendly to capitalise on this approach to search engine marketing.

So, remember, advise your users to search for very specific, niche, or little used terms. This also means that any Pay Per Click employed will be far cheaper, ensuring your marketing budget goes that little bit further in these times of the credit crunch.

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About the author:

Phil Robinson is an online marketing consultant with over 17 years experience in marketing planning, internet strategy and online acquisition. In 2004, Phil founded ClickThrough, an ethical search marketing agency. He gives best practice training for businesses, runs seminars and writes books on digital marketing.