As Google continues to evolve their homepage, new opportunities popup for search engine marketing.

The simpler days of relying on just one tactic like optimizing your website are over.  As you’ll see in this post there are a lot of options when it comes to getting your business on the first page of Google for relevant keyword phrases.

Let’s start with the obvious choices first…

1. Traditional SEO

When you think of online marketing, you probably think of traditional SEO right?  In other words, getting your website to rank high in Google when prospects search for your product or service.

Below is an example of traditional SEO for the keyword, “google adwords checklist.”  You’ll see we’re ranked #2 and #3.  Plus, one of my guest blog posts is ranked #8.

Google AdWords Checklist Search Results


2. Google AdWords Search Ads

The next most popular way to get on Google’s first page is with Google AdWords search advertising.  Instead of (or in addition to) investing time to optimize your website, you can also buy advertising space in Google’s results.

I highlighted the AdWords advertisers in the image below so you can see where you’ll show up.  Note that a lot of business owners I talk to believe “no one clicks on those ads.”  That’s simply not true.  I manage between $150,000 – $200,000 per month in advertising so I can assure you people do click on those ads. :)

Google AdWords Results


And now for the less popular, but equally effective choices..


3. Local SEO (via Google+ Local)

On May 30, 2012, Google replaced Google Places with Google+ Local.  Before that Google had already started to display local business listings very prominently on the first page of Google for “local intent” search phrases.  For example, when I search for “car mechanic,” then Google knows that I am really looking for a local car mechanic.  So to make my life easier, Google adds a big map in the upper right corner highlighting nearby car mechanics.  Plus, Google lists the business information right at the top of the main search results (see image below).

This is really important because if you’re focused only on Traditional SEO, then your website is going to be pushed WAY down the page below all the Google+ Local listings.

 Google+ Local Results


4. Local SEO Carousel (via Google+ Local)

Just a few months ago, Google updated the local results (see image above) for specific industries like hotels, dining & nightlife.   Read “How The New Google+ Local Carousel Will Impact Your Business” to learn more about this important change.  Below is an image of how your business will look in the “local business carousel.”

Google+ Local Carousel

5. Google AdWords Product Listing Ads (PLA)

If you sell products, then Google AdWords Product Listing Ads may be a great way to profitably get on Google’s first page.  Similar to the local results, Google only displays PLA ads when the keyword clearly has “product buying intent.”  For example, if you search for “dyson vacuums” then Google knows you likely want to buy a Dyson vacuum.  Therefore, Google gives advertisers the ability to show a product image right on the first page of Google to entice prospects to click through.  See the image below to see PLAs in action.


Product Listing Ads Results


6. Google AdWords Mobile Search Ads

Finally, there’s mobile advertising to show up in Google’s mobile results.  Below is a screenshot when I searched for “car mechanic” on my smartphone.  As you can see, the ad formatting is a little different and the 3rd advertiser is using a “click to call” button right in the ad.  That means I can click to quickly call that particular mechanic.

Mobile Google AdWords Ads

For many businesses, one or many of the options above will work well to drive relevant leads and sales.  The question is, “which are right for YOUR business?”  Before you dive into SEO or AdWords, play around in as if you are a prospect searching for your product or service.  Which types of results do you see?  That should help guide your decision.