While one of the most important tools for marketing any size business is the internet, it can seem overwhelming and complicated. Here an explanation of the top 5 online-marketing “buzzwords” to lend some understanding, take away some of the mystery and make it more accessible to your practice.

  • AdWords (Google AdWords): Easily the most confusing concept is AdWords. AdWords is an advertising service by Google for businesses who want to use Google and its advertising network to reach customers on the internet. The AdWords program allows businesses to set a budget for advertising and only pay when people click the ads. The ad service is largely focused on keywords, and usually uses “banners” on other websites to get possible customers to click on their link.
  • News Feed Ads: Known also as “sponsored stories,” these are the ads that pop up on social media such as Facebook, interspersed with the other stories the reader is looking at. The goal is to get the reader interested in the topic so they will click on the link and be taken to the advertiser’s website.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a method to improve a website’s earned (organic, natural, unpaid) search rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs) such as Google or Bing. This is typically done by ensuring that the advertiser’s website content has the relevant search terms included, so the website shows up when someone searches for a related topic. This is why web content is so important – it determines how easily people find your website when searching the internet. Search Engines regularly update their algorithms to decrease visibility to sites that try to game their rankings, making optimization a challenging and constantly changing enterprise.
  • Pay-per-click marketing (PPC): Pay-per-click marketing focuses on paying a search engine for higher positioning on a search engine results page. It is not as simple as just paying more money, however. Paid search is more like an auction. Advertisers bid on keywords that are relevant to their business, consequently driving the display of their ads on the search engine results page when that keyword is searched. Sometimes the ad will be displayed below the top unpaid search results, sometimes to the side. Advertisers can also determine if they want their results only for mobile (cell phone) searches.
  • Affiliate marketing: Affiliate marketing (also called lead generation) is when advertisers have third parties generate potential customers for them and then pay the third party. Affiliate marketers generate leads by getting potential customers to take a particular action, and when the desired action is taken, the affiliate earns commission. Some of the methods used by affiliate marketers to get people to take the action include offering awards or prizes, or discounts on the service they are advertising. The compensated actions can be sending an email, making a call, filling out an online or offline form, clicking a link, completing an online order, or some other action that the advertiser is willing to pay for.

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