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Getting “found” online is the end goal of your content and SEO initiatives, in addition to the conversion of your web visitors into customers too, of course.

And it really wasn’t all that long ago that you could effectively grow your business or share your ideas online by “interrupting” prospective customers with Push methods such as banner advertising, unsolicited email messages, or other off-line (and old school!) methods like cold calling. But business people grew weary of being targeted by outbound marketing and promotions long ago, and the technologies in use today have become far better at blocking these methods.

Businesses and people in general have also changed the way that they shop and learn, primarily utilizing search engines, social networking sites and blogs to find the information that they need. “Pull” or inbound marketing helps companies take advantage of these shifts by helping them get found by customers in the natural way in which they shop and learn. Here are five tips that you can use to help yourself “get found” online:

1. Start with an extraordinary idea

The days of needing a huge advertising budget to spend on marketing and PR to promote your ideas are long gone. Today, truly unique or extraordinary ideas can find many ways to spread like wildfire on their own online, without any significant expenditure. And by comparison, those ideas that are not extraordinary usually languish unfound – regardless of how much advertising or public relations that you do. Make sure you have a unique, remarkable offering and it will spread like wildfire online, if it’s truly unique and innovative.

2. Create LOTS of content

Once you have found an extraordinary service or product, you need to create lots (and lots) of quality content about it. There are many ways to distribute your content – social media accounts, blogs, article marketing, tweets, videos, podcasts. Great content about a great product or service will attract the links you need from other sites. These links generate traffic, which in turn tells Google and every other search engine that YOU should be ranked more highly.

(Need some writing help to keep up with your publishing schedule or additional resources to help you distribute what you are creating? Contact us for your many cost-effective options!)

3. Optimize your content

All of your content should be “keyword optimized,” both for search engines like Google and also for users of social networks like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Flickr etc. who will be spreading it.

Be sure to include some of the most important keywords within the title (or Title Tag) of your piece so it will be easy for the engines to find and identify it. But you also need to make the titles enticing for human eyes as well, with a subject line that will elicit responses. Something that arouses the curiosity of readers such as” “Everything you need to know about…” or statements that can only be answered by reading all of the content, such as “How to”, “What can” or “Why do”.

Lists are very popular as well, like “10 things you must do on your website” or “5 easy steps to…” Provocative titles such as “7 things your bank doesn’t want you to know” or other even more sensationalized titles such as “5 financial decisions that could RUIN your retirement” or “8 Mistakes that cost you money, every month” also often work well.

People often respond as well to avoiding negative consequences as they do to potential positive outcomes.

4. Share your content

After you have created a remarkable piece of content and optimized it, now you need to spread the word. Email it to your E-Newsletter subscribers, post the content on your blog, tweet it to your followers, update your Facebook page and LinkedIn profile with it, then share it with article directories.

If your content is truly extraordinary, others will share it online for you. And as your content spreads, you will have more people subscribe to you or Follow you, so that the subsequent content you publish in the future will have an even greater audience.

5. Measure the results

If you cannot measure your results, you’ll never truly know which methods or channels work best for you. For example, you should compare your results for Google organic search (both branded and non-branded), Google paid, your E-Newsletter and Twitter feed, Facebook, LinkedIn or other social media, Forum postings, and any of the myriad campaigns you could be conducting right now.

You should track visitors, leads and customers over time, for every campaign. Then increase resources spent on campaigns that are working, and discontinue or scale back the ones that aren’t.