Ever wonder why certain websites pop up at the top of a Google search? It's no accident. There are a few ways a business can get to the top of a search list. The first way is by paying for exposure. Companies can set a pre-determined fee with Google; if it is 25 cents, then every time someone clicks on that site, the company pays Google a quarter. "Paid search is certainly an area where companies can utilize their marketing dollars fairly effectively to drive traffic to their sites,” explained Thom Porter, a UNCW internet marketing professor. The second way is by companies registering with the local business directory. Their website pops up in the middle of a search and is pin-pointed on a map. Businesses can register their company with most of the major search engines for free. A company can reach the top of the list through "search engine optimization" which is done by making its site the most relevant result for a given search. For SEO success, valuable content is a must. A title with strong keywords for the website and descriptive headings for each web page are also important factors. "It's important to have that well-crafted, because you only get so many characters and you've got to make sure you've got a well-thought out message that's going to help inspire people to click on your website,” said marketing specialist Bryan Kristof. Businesses can also track the traffic on their website. Google has a free tool called "Google Analytics" which gathers general traffic data and also where visitors spend the most time on the site so the company knows exactly where to spend marketing dollars.
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