Search engine optimization

Abbreviated as “SEO,” search engine optimization generally means creating content for your site that is optimized for certain keywords. Check out this blog post I wrote awhile back for more information about how to choose keywords, and how to use the Yoast plugin to optimize your content accordingly.

Search engine marketing

That said, “organic” search results aren’t the only websites that pop up when a user searches Google or Bing. You may have noticed the ads that appear at the top of search results. These are appearing because someone has paid to be there. You can use Google AdWords to buy “clicks”—in other words, paying to appear when someone searches for specific terms, and paying when they click.

Link backs

Authentic relationship building can be a great strategy for encouraging other credible websites to link to you. Note that there’s a side benefit to link building: if you have lots of links to your site from highly credible websites, Google and Bing will consider you more credible as well and consequently increase your search rankings.

Original content and social media

Building your own following (on social media or via an email newsletter) is a great way to drive traffic to your site. Of course, this approach works best if you’re developing new, quality content on an ongoing basis. A content calendar and strategy that’s driven by what your audience genuinely finds interesting and useful is a great way to start building that following. To achieve more prominent placement and reach new audiences, you can explore paying to promote this great content on various social media channels (Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.)

Other (possibly offline) tactics

I’d be remiss not to mention that sometimes, the best marketing strategies are offline. It’s best to start any marketing effort with a high-level analysis of who you’re trying to reach (and what you want them to do), rather than immediately jumping to the tactics. Focusing on your ideal customer naturally leads to a conversation about the best medium to reach them, and how to add value to their lives in a genuine way.

Quite unfortunately, “build it and they will come” doesn’t work in the land of the internet; designing and developing a beautiful, engaging, user-friendly web experience is only piece of the puzzle. For website owners looking to drive conversions and reach new audiences, creating a marketing strategy with the appropriate tactics is a critical next step.