Pay-Per-Click Search Engine Advertising: Pay-Per-Click with Google AdWords and Yahoo Search Marketing remains the fastest way to drive new traffic to a site, and is the preferred method of driving traffic for a brand new site. However, it’s not quite the idyllic situation it was 2-3 years ago. Bid prices in some markets have risen to the point where it is more of a challenge to run a profitable campaign. Google has actually been having teams of their people contact big advertisers over the last few months offering help to improve their clickthrough and conversion rates, which is a first. I look for bid prices to fall in some markets as some advertisers actually stop or significantly reduce their PPC advertising. Just like real estate, bid prices can’t keep going up forever.
Article Directories / Content Hubs: From first hand experience with a wide variety of clients (plus my own web sites), I see article submission to continue to be a viable way to build quantity inbound links to a web site, despite the predictions of demise of this method that I have seen over the last year. And the number of links is Google’s top criteria for determining the ranking of a site. Articles submitted to article directories drive high numbers of links, plus the articles get picked up by others and posted on other blogs and web sites.
Optimized Press Releases: These releases are a great way to generate quality links to a web site, and will continue to be one of the best SEO (Search Engine Optimization) actions you can do in the coming year to drive your search engine rankings up for your selected keywords. This is especially effective if you send out a release once a week, and do it in conjunction with content hub submissions. I think it’s important to recognize that you do optimized, keyword-rich press releases mainly for SEO purposes, not specifically for distribution to the media, though they are often successful for that purpose too. But the primary purpose is for SEO.
Building up inbound links to a web site using article directory submissions and optimized press releases is the most effective and most cost-effective way to build traffic to the site over the long run. You can use pay-per-click in the short run, but build links in the long run. You’ll get more consistent, higher volume traffic.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Actions Done to a Web Site: These are the actions you take to make the site able to rank well for your selected keywords. It’s what you do to your pages and is often called “on-page optimization." This will continue to be important, but is still not nearly as important as driving up your number of inbound links.
Email Marketing: Email marketing to rented lists is for all intents and purposes dead. The use of email marketing today and in the coming year will continue to be to mail to your own in-house email lists that you have built up, sending them newsletters and sales pitches. Therefore it is vital to have actions in place that build up those email lists to high numbers. A large in-house email list is a formidable marketing weapon, because it allows you to communicate to those people regularly at far lower cost than other media such as direct mail.
Banner Ads: These appear to be making a bit of a comeback, but they will not be a major driving force in 2008.
Web 2.0: This is defined by Germworks.net as “Web 2.0 is a perceived or proposed second generation of the web. This is where the web has evolved and improved over time and now offers better and more up to date services like blogs, wiki’s, social networking sites etc." (Wiki’s are sites where users enter articles or their own definitions of terms.)
All the buzz within the SEO community over the last year has mainly been about Web 2.0 and how it is changing the web and is the cutting edge of web marketing. That’s all well and good. BUT, I personally don’t know anybody who has made a lot of money using Web 2.0 methods. Do you? I look to see these methods gaining in strength in the coming year, but I am approaching them with healthy skepticism, prefering to stick with methods that are proven to actually make money. Most companies can’t afford to invest heavily in speculative technologies, although the SEO community loves them.
Search Engines: The current biggest search engines are 1) Google (57.7% market share according to Nielsen/NetRatings), 2) Yahoo (17.9%), 3) MSN.com (12.0%), 4) AOL (4.5%) and 5) Ask.com (2.7%). Google and Yahoo together account for 75% of the marketshare. I don’t foresee a lot of change here, although in the SEO community I have seen less fawning towards and more criticism of Google over the last 6 months. Frankly I think this is a good thing because Google is the 800 lb. gorilla in the marketplace and has tried to control what the SEO industry does with a sledgehammer hand. They have tried to define what “ethics" are, all towards methods that are good for Google, not necessarily good for web site owners, especially small or new web site owners. And they have a whole enforcement division that looks for people breaking their rules and punishes them severely in their rankings. I am seeing fewer people who really like the company and more who simply tolerate them. For these reasons I expect the company to start losing some of their marketshare in 2008 and for other companies to gain.
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