All I really need to know about search engine marketing I learned in kindergarten. Or something like that.
The goal of search engine marketing is to get your pages to show up when target customers make relevant searches. As search engines get better at finding relevant content and preventing SEO-spam, search engine marketing success comes not from tricks known to only a few, but from basic common sense.
These are the things I’ve learned about search engine marketing:
- Share links.
- Don’t spam people.
- Keep your ad groups organized and tidy.
- Match types and negative keywords are your friends.
- Don’t bid more than you can afford.
- Bidding for position is about ego, not lead generation.
- Traffic for traffic’s sake is pointless. Relevant traffic is
- Measure conversions, not clicks.
- What you say is as important as what you pay.
- The landing page doesn’t need to sell your product, it just needs to sell your offer.
- Every element of your landing page should sell or reassure the prospect.
- Don’t ask for more information than you need.
- Tests are hard, but important.
- Use web analytics.
- Quality matters.
- Protect people’s privacy.
- Give credit where credit is due.
- Play fair.
- Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
- When you go out in the world, watch out for click fraud, hold hands and stick together.
- Live a balanced life—learn some and think some and blog some and play and work every day some.
Everything we need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and SEO and SEM and basic manners. Pay per click and social media and Web 2.0.
Think what a better internet it would be if we all followed these rules. If everyone created quality content, shared relevant links, and regularly took some time off from online marketing. If spam wasn’t a problem and everyone had a policy to put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess.
And it is still true, no matter how high your page rank, when you go out in the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.
Jon Miller is VP of Marketing for Marketo, a provider of marketing automation software that helps B2B marketing professionals drive revenue and improve accountability. Download Marketo’s new eBook, Building Effective Landing Pages. Jon’s blog, Modern B2B Marketing, explores best practices in business marketing, ranging from pay-per-click management to lead nurturing to marketing accountability. The Strictly Business column appears Wednesdays at Search Engine Land.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.