In issuing the list, the firm said that the best strategies this year have been the ones that are directly related to establishing credibility, eliciting trust and directly targeting a desired demographic.
Credibility Most Important
Credibility is one of the most important things to establish in an online presence, especially in an economically challenging year, according to Ash Buckles, SEO.com’s director of search engine optimization. “When people are watching their money closely, they will only buy from companies and websites they trust,” he said.
Credibility, Buckles said, depends on how well a site is architected, how many other sites and networks link back to your site, how much social media and buzz surrounds a domain, how often a site goes down, how unique a site’s content is and how fast a site loads.
The top 10 list and commentary from SEO.com:
1. Organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Websites at the top of the search results are viewed as the leaders of their industry, and more than 80% of web users click on the first listings. Good SEO services will consistently deliver a huge return on investment.
2. Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn: Social media marketing engages customers on a personal level, and can rapidly create buzz around a product, brand or business. It can also be more cost effective than traditional forms of advertising and outreach, SEO.com said.
3. Keyword Research: Online, everything revolves around discovering what words and phrases an organization’s customers are searching for online.
4. Video Marketing: This is becoming more important both on-site and off-site. Videos help convert website visitors into sales. In the universal search results, people tend to click on links with videos more than those without -? even if the video link is ranked lower.
5. Online Public Relations: This builds credibility online, in the mainstream media and for potential customers. Online public relations can help create a lot of buzz about your site through bloggers and industry sites, and can boost organic SEO.
6. Link Building: A key element in search engine optimization. Search engines like “popular sites.” From the search engine’s point of view, a credible and popular site will have a lot of links pointing to it.
7. Blogging: Blogs provide additional site content (which search engines like), graphics and other viral content to disseminate information and tie in with social media. Blogs can build credibility by establishing a site as the hub for industry information.
8. Conversion Web Design: A good web design will keep visitors on the site and sell them products or services.
9. Paid Search Marketing: Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is an extremely targeted strategy with measurable, immediate results. This enables a more efficient spending of marketing dollars.
10. Email Marketing: This is important to nurture relationships and retain existing customers. It’s much easier to keep old customers than to get new ones. Send good offers and valuable information that’s customized to their needs.
“Companies want to make sure every penny goes to something that produces results,” said Dave Bascom, chief executive of SEO.com. “For that reason, more and more money is being allocated to internet marketing because it’s measurable and has proven to increase ROI.”
Bascom added that the same 10 strategies will also be important in 2010.