Search Engine Marketing
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) refers to online marketing techniques brands use to create a strong web presence on search engines results, get in front of the target audience and increase website traffic. Website traffic can come from two kinds of search engine results – natural (organic) search, which uses search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search advertising, like Pay Per Click (PPC). Search engines will display a mix of natural and paid search in the top of the search results. So, which technique gets your web pages to the top of search engines?
Being first place on search results should be the goal of the digital marketing team running your company website. Getting there requires that your inbound strategy understands how to use SEO and when to consider paid search services to improve your rankings and increase traffic to your website.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Natural, Organic Search
Natural search listings are the result of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Optimizing your website to improve your page rankings re-quires content, and lots of it.
The content that you publish on your website won’t get you to number one based on QUANTITY alone. Optimizing your content means that you are also offering information of the highest QUALITY.
A search engine’s job is to find and deliver pages that meet the expectation of the searcher, and searchers want the most relevant, authoritative, expert content at the top of the search result listings. Therefore, your web pages need to be optimized to demonstrate your expertise to both man and machine. In order for a search engine to find and deliver your web pages at the top of the results, you need to code all of your content so that search engines understand and match your pages to the searcher’s keywords. Check out our Keyword Worksheet.
When it comes to SEO efforts companies often leave out some of the necessary details for building authoritative, optimized content that will effectively reach the target audience. If your website content is not properly optimized, all the efforts put into building that content may not yield a worthwhile return.
A decade ago, Google PageRank measured a website’s rank for search engine results. Using a scale ranging from 0-10, Google PageRank would calculate a website’s authority by content richness, keywords and other SEO elements. Since that time, Google’s algorithms have evolved into far more complex systems. Our Super Simple SEO Guide and Checklist can help you to check if your web pages are optimized and help you to identify where you have an opportunity to increase your chances of winning on search engine results.
Online studies and expert opinions across the board agree that long-term SEO efforts will yield the highest returns, conversion rates, and the most qualified leads in comparison to paid search results. A significant increase in traffic from your SEO efforts might not happen overnight, but it will be worth it over the long term.
Pay Per Click (PPC): Paid Search Engine Marketing
When you are first launching a company website, paid search can be the best way to generate traffic to your pages and build brand awareness. Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising works by purchasing advertising space on search engines using targeted keywords that your prospect is likely to type into the search bar when looking for your products and services. When a prospect types your keywords into the search bar, your ads are placed near the top of search engine results. These ads are called banner ads or sponsored ads/links and they will often appear right next to natural results.
With PPC, you pay a set fee only when your listing is clicked on by someone surfing the web. With the right paid search campaign, you can get cost-effective advertising to help you build your brand on a small budget.
There are many paid search advertising services that you can purchase for your search engine marketing campaigns. Some common PPC advertising services offered by paid advertising companies include:
- Daily keyword optimization that determines what keywords are top performers, and then allocates your budget to only the most cost-effective conversions.
- Precise targeting to prospects within a specific geographical area.
- Targeting to searchers based on buying behaviors.
- Different versions of copy based on the media or device type (mobile, pc) searchers are using to surf the web.
- Digital marketing strategies that place your display and banner ads in the right places and across the best networks.
- Ecommerce campaigns that help bring traffic to your online shopping cart and promote product sales (also called product listing ads, or PLAs).
- Retargeting/remarketing capabilities that use tracking cookies to display your ad to the same prospects over time. Retargeting helps to reinforce your brand in the mind of the tracked prospect and increase the likelihood that they will buy from you.
If you have a new website, PPC can help you increase your web presence as you build the foundation for your inbound strategy, nurture leads and engage with visitors, but it should never replace your SEO efforts.
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