Promoting a product online may seem difficult. Traditionally, businesses have different sales channels that include distributors, wholesalers, retailers, and more. But now these transactions are online, which means the strategy needs to change as well. Placement is important on the internet. When everything is available it’s hard to find what you need, and this is a problem your customers will encounter. One way to better situate yourself is through the use of search engine optimization, a strategic way into gaining and acquiring organic online visitors. To understand SEO one needs to understand a search engine. Search engines like Google and Bing have crawler bots that track websites and index them. Their own proprietary software, Google’s Hummingbird for example, algorithmically ranks each website periodically. To be placed on top of search engine results for key phrases that are important for your business, for example “Mechanic Repair near me,” these bots must read a clean website that is fine tuned. This is down through the use of meta tags and some coding on HTML (to non-coders, don’t be afraid; as a finance major, I was able to complete an SEO internship this past summer and learn the fundamentals). 95% of people that search something on a search engine don’t look past the front page, and of those people, most look at the top few results. If your organization is the first result it will have about 2000% more views than if you were on the second page. SEO isn’t just for Google, it’s for all search engines and for e-commerce as well. The same tactics are being applied to Amazon and eBay for sellers to get their product in competitive market spaces to the top of the results page.

The state of digital marketing is changing, and if history has taught us anything about technology, then we know the change will continue to. Google’s algorithm, Hummingbird, was changed from its predecessor Panda and is now more focused on content. This is motivating organizations to keep updated blogs on their websites, as well as have more content-rich information for users. This is not just in search engines, but in the SaaS industry as well with unicorns like HubSpot that coined the term “Inbound Marketing.” This is the promotion of a company through social media such as blogs, podcasts, newsletters, and more to acquire a larger portion of the purchase funnel.

Correctly budgeting online advertisements seems to be a hassle when there are so many options. When conflicted with this problem, my head was spinning between choosing ads on Google, Bing, Yahoo, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, and more. Ultimately it depends on your goal and your organization. If you are trying to reach a college demographic with a startup idea, StumbleUpon and social media such as Twitter may be better options. If you are in a very specialized sector, LinkedIn and Google may prove successful, although expensive. LinkedIn, for example, has a $2 minimum bid for CPC, which is extremely high. StumbleUpon may land your website or shop 1,000 visitors, although with a high bounce rate. To learn more it is important to comprehend the basics of SEO, HTML, marketing analytics, Adwords, and more. LinkedIn Learning, YouTube, and CodeAcademy are all great resources to get started.