Many clients want their web pages to rank higher on the search engines (such as Google, Yahoo! and Bing) but don’t know where to start. Ranking higher is crucial to driving more qualified traffic to your website so you can get more visitors to your website, more clients, and earn more profits. So here’s a brief primer to help you understand the basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM).
Like success in other areas, it’s not just one thing: it’s a lot of “little” things that, added together, build up more and more so that you end up reaching your goals.
2 major factors in driving more visitors to your website are SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, and SEM, or Search Engine Marketing.
SEO focuses on growing your “organic” rankings in the “Natural” search – the main results on the SERPs, or Search Engine Results Pages. This is done using a variety of techniques, including link building, keyword optimization, web page titles and meta data, domain names, keyword-rich content, overall site structure, internal links to other areas of your site, listings in directories and more.
SEM focuses more on the “sponsored results” which are the small ads that typically appear on the top and right sections of search engine results pages, and in the content of other website pages. These are usually Pay-Per-Click, or PPC for short. (Yes, there are a lot of acronyms and jargon that can be rather cryptic to the Internet Marketing novice.) They can also be PPM, or pay per thousand views. Targeted ads that appear in the text of other web pages are served via (for example) Google’s content network. Site owners earn money by having those ads on their sites, through Google AdSense or other advertising platforms.
Many website owners take a dual approach to getting more traffic to their sites, to drive more sales, grow their customer base and more. One major advantage of SEM is that paid ads can appear on the Web in as little as 15 minutes, so it’s often an effective way to get additional traffic quickly. The disadvantage is that once you stop your ad campaign, the ads disappear just as quickly, so you don’t have lasting results. Also, if you aren’t using the right keywords for your particular goals, it is very easy to spend a LOT of money without getting a return on your advertising investment. Depending on the key word or key phrase, your CPC, or Cost Per Click, can be quite high – often $20 or more PER CLICK. So if you are spending more in clicks than you’re earning in profits from those clicks, you can lose money fast. You can set limits on your budget to control how much you’re spending per day, but once you reach that limit your ads are simply not shown.
Several advantages to SEO is that the results do last, and you can’t really turn them off. Also, you can do it yourself for free or you can choose to hire an expert to get better results, faster. Additionally, the natural results are considered to be more credible so they tend to have a higher click-through rate than the sponsored links. On the con side, SEO can take time to get results, and particularly for competitive terms, it’s often difficult to get to the first page of Google and other search engines. If you’re not on the first page, the chances drop dramatically that a potential buyer will even see your site. If you’re not on the first three pages, that approaches zero.
That being said, there are a number of ways to get on the first page, even for competitive terms, and to do so quickly. A few often-overlooked ways are video, press releases, local search tactics, social networks, social bookmarking sites, images and articles. We’ll delve more into each of these later, but for now this should help you understand some of the very basics of SEO.
If you’d like to schedule a free one-on-one consultation on how I can help you get more website traffic, more clients, and higher profits, call 1-208-545-1241 now. Leave a message and we’ll get back to you as quickly as possible.