Search Engine Marketing Without PPC

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If you go to just about any search engine marketing (SEM) specialist, you’ll find out that their main service usually involves pay per click (PPC) advertising. Misleading consensus among SEM service providers, and ignorance on the part of clients, has led to the belief that SEM is PPC. PPC is only one facet of SEM, and can be one of the more expensive and short-lived strategies, depending on how it’s implemented.

Although PPC can work well for websites trying to create immediate exposure, or for businesses that have products they want to sell, that traffic usually dries up quickly once the PPC campaign is over. That’s why PPC isn’t always the ideal form of SEM. It can cost a lot of money, and many times only yield short-term results. There are many other ways to market a website, without having to do PPC — here are a few examples.

Create Something and Make it Free

One of the very best ways to drive traffic to a website is to create something that is of value to the user. That something could be an online tool, an entertaining game or video, or a howto tutorial. Once you create that special something, submit it to peer reviewed community sites, like Digg, delicious, etc… If it’s truly something people are interested in, traffic to the website will snowball, and organic linking will greatly increase your search engine result pages (SERPs).

Become Active In Online Communities

Participating in online communities (discussion forums, blogs, and social networking websites) is one of the best ways to create interest in a website. Online friends will be interested in your website, and are in the best position help promote your website through their network of friendships and personal blogs.

Make the HTML Semantically Structured and Keyword Centric

Search engines need help understanding what web pages are about. This is why they give preference to websites that use semantic structure. Providing semantic structure involves using headers and paragraphs within the HTML — in a manner that makes sense both to a search engine and a person using a text-based browser like Lynx. A semantically structured search engine friendly web page is one that has important keywords in the page title, headers, and spread throughout the subsequent paragraphs.

Actively Comment and Post Messages

There are literally thousands of discussion forums, blogs, and online magazines that allow users to post messages that include their website address. This is a great way to slowly get the word out for a website. The trick, as with all of these strategies, is to not be spammy. It’s best to always offer sincere opinions regarding the content that’s being commented on, even if the message is short. Although it’s quite random, in great numbers, these links can play a large role in both driving traffic and creating exposure to a website.

Foster Relationships with Highly Ranked Site Owners

Similar to the Online Communities strategy, creating and maintaining relationships with people who edit and maintain well ranked websites (like highly trafficked blogs) can really pay off. It’s generally best to create a sincere online friendship with site editors, and to try to find items or subjects of interest that you can exchange with them. At some point you’ll be able to tell them about your website, and if you’re lucky, they’ll mention it on their website.

Write Good Original Content

Writing good original content is one of the oldest and best SEM techniques. Whether it’s in the form of a blog post or traditional article, providing well written original content on a website that’s being promoted is one of the best ways to drive traffic. Doing so provides lots of valuable content for search engines to spider and index, and also encourages organic linking. As users find the content via search engines (using long-tail keyword searches), many of those users will end up linking to the content, which will in turn increase the SERPs for better, more sought after keywords searches.

Submit Content to Free Article Websites

After writing good original content, there are generally two options for what to do with it. You can post it on your own website, or you can submit it to free article websites like Constant Content, TextBroker, ArticleCity and many others. Each article that gets submitted to a free article website requires that the free article website, and any user who wants to include the article on their own website, include a byline that has a link back to your website. This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to promote organic linking.

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