So you’ve designed a website, created great Web content, and submitted your site to a variety of directories, so where are all of your readers?


Unfortunately, you cannot just publish a website and kick back to wait for the traffic, customers and advertising dollars to start rolling in. In order to build a successful site, you need to invest some time and energy in search engine marketing.


What is Search Engine Marketing?


Search engine marketing (SEM) refers to a series of techniques and strategies used to improve the website visibility in the major search engines. Theses techniques might involve pay-per-click advertising campaigns, submissions to online directories, link exchanges, and search engine optimization (SEO).


The Benefits of Search Engine Marketing


While search engine marketing may seem daunting to beginners, the potential benefits of an effective SEM campaign are too valuable to overlook. Many marketers have seen their sites rise from the very bottom of the search listing to the very top thanks to successful search marketing.


Achieving top search results and high visibility is vital to your website’s success. The majority of website traffic comes just a few major search engines, including Google, Yahoo, and MSN. If you want to reach out to a specific audience and gain valuable site traffic, learning a few useful search engine marketing techniques can dramatically improve your chances for success.


Types of Search Engine Marketing


1. Pay-Per-Click Campaigns


Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing campaigns are one of the fastest and most affordable ways to increase the visibility of your website. Using advertising services such as Google AdWords, you can create text link ads that will appear on relevant websites. This type of contextual marketing is a valuable way to gain visitors quickly and to target a specific audience.


2. Online Directories


Another popular search engine marketing technique involves submitting your website to available online directories. While some free directories still exist, the vast majority charge a small fee in order to be listed on their website. How do these links help you? In addition to bringing in traffic directly through the link, these directories can help increase the profile and search ranking of your website.


3. Link Exchanges


Another effective search engine marketing technique involves using reciprocal links with other websites to help boost the search profile of your site. When calculating the ranking of your website, most search engines take into account the number of other sites that link to you. Each of these links is considered a vote of confidence for your website.


How can you establish more links to your site? Start by approaching other websites that cover similar topics. E-mail the Webmaster about the possibility of exchanging links with the site. Most websites are more than happy to trade links, since they also stand to benefit.


4. Search Engine Optimization


Search engine optimization is perhaps the greatest and most effective search engine marketing technique. Optimizing the content of your Web pages to appeal to the major search engines is the best way to earn high search rankings and draw in new readers. Basic SEO techniques such as choosing keywords, writing content for the Web, and creating quality META tags are just a few ways to help your website reach the top in search engine results.


While search engine marketing takes time, energy and planning, the results are well worth the effort. Overnight success is rare, so be prepared for some ups and downs on your journey to online success.