Search Marketing

Are there people already searching online for your products and services?

If you are not sure, you can view the search volume for keywords related to your business and your operating region using the Google Keyword Planner.

Chances are, there are a lot of people actively trying to find the products or services you offer and you would probably like to capture a larger share of that volume than you currently do. There are exactly two general approaches to accomplishing this:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

As a concept, SEO is very straightforward: You want a link to your website to appear in front of potential customers when they search for what you offer.

The basic principle behind accomplishing this is also relatively simple: a search engine's reputation depends on showing the websites that are most relevant and useful to searchers, so your website needs to appear to be that way when the search engine looks at it.

There are hundreds of factors that go into your search ranking, but the two main things that determine your ranking are your words and content on the website and the quality and quantity of other websites that endorse your site by linking to it.

  • Onsite SEO: You want to make sure that you have wording on your website that will match with common searches you want to show up in. For example, HostGator is a web hosting company, and currently, the phrase "web hosting" appears on the front page of our website five separate times.
  • Offsite SEO: You also want other reputable websites relating to your field to link back to your website. Especially for young websites, this gives you reputation by association and generally improves the position your website appears at when people search for related keywords.

Search engines also give more weight to websites that have been active for longer periods of time. This puts new websites at a bit of a disadvantage when first entering a market, but if your website remains active and continues to gain new references from other websites over time, you should see your ranking rise significantly over the course of several months.

HostGator offers fully managed Offsite SEO services to our customers, which includes consultation on your content and wording for Onsite SEO. Speak with a HostGator Small Business Consultant about your specific needs or to get started using any of these services.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Where SEO relies heavily on a website's reputation built up over time, SEM is where you pay to put a paid or "sponsored" link in the search results so that you can get immediate traffic to your website. It is typically done on a pay-per-click basis where you only pay if a searcher clicks the link to your website (or your business's phone number if you want to receive calls from smart phone searches).

SEM is frequently used for new websites until their SEO work has time to show results organically. Many businesses continue to use SEM even after their organic search ranking is good to drive a controlled amount of additional traffic or to send high-quality targeted traffic to their website.

Most search engines offer SEM programs where it is free to create an account like Google Adwords or Bing Ads, although you will need to pay to actually appear in any search results. HostGator has a partnership with both Google and Bing to provide $100 credits to our US and CA customers with a Shared hosting package.

Caution: SEM is a complex and constantly evolving marketing method. It is very easy for a novice to damage the reputation of their SEM account or to rapidly waste money on improperly set up campaigns. Unless you are an expert or are willing to spend a substantial amount of time learning and running your campaigns, HostGator highly recommends that you utilize a reputable SEM agency to do it for you.

For this reason, we have our own team dedicated to customer success that has helped thousands of our customers over the past several years. Speak with a HostGator Small Business Consultant about your specific needs or to get started using any of these services.