What is Search Engine Marketing?
Search Engine Marketing – What is it? Well, it’s one of the many buzzwords that has been created to define what companies do on the Internet to get noticed. You hear about search engine optimization, pay per click, click through rate and other terms that seem to be related to the same thing, but what is really going on? Do I need it on my website?
Search Engine Marketing has been around for a few years but is always improving upon itself to bring in more profit for small and large companies. SEM, as it is abbreviated, is not a magic bullet or a genie in a bottle. It takes some knowledge and a good brain to decipher the ins and outs of the process.
In this post, you will learn how to optimize your website using Search Engine Marketing techniques. There are several tools that encompass the topic of Search Engine Marketing and their uses will be discussed here.
History of the Search Engines
For many years after the Internet became popular all anyone talked about was searching the Web. It was a place to play and see what was going on in other parts of the world. Mathematicians and techies devised a way for people to find information faster with search engines. Results could be grouped together according to search parameters.
Only the technical guys new the algorithms that produced the results but we only wanted to get at the information they promised to give us. A search box allowed us to enter words or phrases that became known as keywords to find a vast amount of information. The entire Internet was at our fingertips.
Algorithms have changed over time which makes them unpredictable. But, marketers discovered a way to use those search results to help searchers find their particular website or web page. This development was great for businesses and search engine engineers were glad to help but they needed a way to bring in revenue to pay for the free searches they offer to everyone.
The search engines came up with the idea to help businesses that wanted to appear on the search results page to do so regardless of how their search engine optimization was going. They could pay to advertise on the more popular search engines. That included Google and Yahoo. These are the sponsored links or sponsored ads that appear at the top and bottom of the search page.
Their experiment was a success. It was a cash cow. Now, these search engines offer marketing programs where businesses can bid on ad placement in the search engine results pages and create compelling ads from their list of keywords.
Search Engine Optimization
Optimizing your website for free rankings in the search is something you want to do right off the bat, but understand, the results may take time to come. After you’ve optimized your website and you’re waiting for the traffic to come, paid search can bring you immediate results in the meantime.
Over the past decade or so, the way search engines rank websites has changed a great deal. The basics of optimization are the same, but there is more focus on “off page” factors rather than “on page” factors, which we’ll explain in a bit. Add to that, social media is playing a large role in establishing rankings and that is something that should not be ignored.
But let’s start with the very basics and it all starts with what people search for…
The key to unlocking business on the Internet begins with words. Words are all around us and how we use them makes a huge difference especially in business. The million dollar question is what words you use to get the results that you want.
Everyone knows about keywords or at least they have heard of them. Keywords are entered into the search box and results are spat out. If you know what words they may use that is a start. But, all words are not used as frequently as others. Choosing the wrong words means very little traffic to your site. Programs can analyze keywords for you but the only way to know for sure is to test market them.
As a business owner, you have an advantage. You know your product or service better than anyone. The keywords you want to begin with are the ones that pertain to your website. These will get the ball rolling.
Now, there are other words. Everyone won’t know what they are looking for. Let’s say that you sell flower bulbs. A searcher may want to establish a garden but they aren’t sure what flowers to plant or even which ones work best in their area. To attract them, you’ll have to think of general keywords they might use in a search.
You can also find useful keywords on competitor sites. If competitors are using some of the same keywords, what are they doing differently than you? Paying attention to your competition can yield valuable information in your keyword search.
You should also employ the use of powerful keyword research tools like this one to help you find the best keywords for your market and products.
Your list of keywords can stretch into the hundreds and probably thousands. This is good because you have many to choose from. Don’t just stick to a single keyword. Long tail marketing is a popular technique. Combine keywords to create unique phrases to gain higher search engine rankings.
Here’s an example of that. Let’s go back to the flower bulbs. “Flower bulbs” is a popular search entry but “flower bulbs sellers in DeKalb County” narrows your search to a select group of people who are serious about finding flower bulbs and buying them.
Content and Search EnginesSearch engine optimization should permeate every character on your website. Search engines like Google, crawl unique web pages. Using those keywords in your titles, headlines, content, links and other elements can help you rank well, but long-term ranking requires more than that. By consistently producing plenty of fresh content, you’re showing yourself as relevant to search engines and you’re more likely to enjoy a sweet place in the rankings for your many keywords.
Content has many benefits in a Search Engine Marketing campaign that utilizes SEO as a tool.
Think about what you would like to offer to your search traffic.
Your content can fill a need by:
- Demonstrating your expertise in a particular area with informational articles for customers
- How-to articles that will address the needs of those uncertain visitors and convince them to use your product
- Provide product reviews and testimonials that solidify your product credibility
- Appearing in article directories for greater exposure across the Internet
Continually update your content to keep the website fresh. Content is crawled on your website and ranked in search engines. It takes a few months or longer to see if optimized content is working so it’s a good thing that that is not the only marketing tool you will employ in the name of Search Engine Marketing.
Search Engine Marketing Wrap Up
Search Engine Marketing is a catch-all term that comprises several Internet marketing tools for drawing traffic and making sales with your business. There is not one specific tool that will bring success. In fact, if you put all of your eggs in one basket, you can end up with a gooey mess, right?
It takes a combination of search engine optimization, link building, pay per click programs, affiliate marketing, and keyword research to bring about the overall results you are looking for with this type of marketing campaign. Search engines have upped the ante for advertising since just about everyone will use a search engine to find what they are looking for instead of just aimlessly surfing.
Use what you have learned here to devise a Search Engine Marketing plan to get you started. Nothing is set in stone, however. It is always best to review your plan on a regular basis and tweak as needed to keep your products or services in demand.
Come back to read the next post about “How to Optimize your Website”. It’s coming up next in this short series in Search Engine Marketing.
See you next time!