What is SEO & SEM? - I Bet You Could Get More From Your Website?
How To Get More Visitors To Your Website Through SEO & SEM...
Don't know what SEO and SEM are? Heck, neither did I a few years ago, but if you don't know about them now, chances are you are not maximising the return on an investment you have most likely already made. I'm talking about the investment of your website.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) are the marketing techniques used by a professional to get your website to rank higher in search engines like Google and Yahoo. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) relates to highly targeted ads that appear only to people that are actively looking (searching) for that particular product or service. They are the sponsored links at the top or on the right of Google's search results.
These two strategies are very powerful methods to get more visitors to your website...
I'm Not An Expert In This Field...
And that's the point, you're probably not either. In fact you may just be starting to learn about all this new online stuff and looking for more information and clarity to some of the jargon and terms. I'll give you a basic understanding, and then you can choose to progress as follows;
Step 1) DIY. Do some of quick improvements if you have a Content Management System (CMS) that you have access to on your website (that means the ability to login to your website and edit and add content to it).
Step 2) Get a professional specialist to work on it. This is the best method in the long run, because you and I will probably never learn enough to be as good as an expert in this field. But what is important is an understanding of the basics and what you are looking to achieve.
So, let's explain....
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
In terms of internet search marketing strategies, there are basically too method; Organic Search and Paid Search. Organic search is where your business pops up when someone types in a search word or phrase looking for your products, services or profession. The higher you are up on this list the greater the chance people will click through to your website. Obvious really, if you're listed on the first page awesome, on page 4 you're forgotten.
So this brings up the questions of;
- ‘Why are some websites listed above others?'
- ‘How does the search engine determine which site ranks first, second, third, etc?'
- ‘How do I get my website to the top?'
Here's the real issue... Nobody knows the 100% answer to these questions but the Search Engine companies themselves. It's a closely guarded secret. This is because ever since search engines have existed in the mid 1990s people have been trying to manipulate rankings on them through illegitimate ways. You see, search engines work on algorithms... basically complex mathematical equations to determine website rankings. These algorithms are now based on heaps of different criteria, they used to be simple, in fact Google states it now uses over 200 different ‘signals' to determine a web pages ranking. But if you had to boil it down to basics, I'd say there are two main points to work on to begin with to get a higher ranking for your website legitimately;
- Content: This is the actual words on a website. If you had a business that produced green beans and started putting the words ‘the best green beans in the world' all though a web pages content, then chances are that if someone searched for the phrase ‘the best green beans in the world' you would rank on the first page. The lesson here is the content on your website, and more specifically on individual pages that are promoting the products and services of your business, need to consider what words, questions or phrases people are typing in when searching.
Getting on the first page of a search for ‘the best green beans in the world' is pointless if 99.9% of your prospects used the search phrase ‘green beans provider'. Getting this right requires patience, wow I just struggled to even write that word (patience), but patience and persistence are required to test different words and phrases. This is where a SEO consultant is highly valuable.
- Links: Google's founders created PageRank. PageRank determines how many other sites link to a page. If a page has many links to it, especially from other sites that have high PageRanks themselves, then that page is given more relevance and subsequently ranks higher in organic search results than other pages related to the searched phrase.
So having your business listed (with links back your site), in large popular websites can build your sites ranking. Such sites include; directories, social networking sites, community forums, media sites.
A professional SEO consultant will know all the other methods to use and how to execute them to affect a better ranking result.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
This is a simple marketing concept and strategy really, it's a lot quicker and easier to pay for results in a search engine than work to get high organic search results... it's called paid search. Paid search is what has built the Google empire to make US$16.5Billion in Revenue in 2007. Google Adwords are the listings you see on the right of the page when you do a search.
The great thing for businesses is that unlike traditional fixed fee advertising, paid search has the following features;
- You are only charged for those people that actually click on your ad.
- Only people that type in keywords, terms or phrases that you choose to be listed with will see the ad, so you can target it to the correct audience. You can even limit the geographically area right down so that only people that are searching from a city or suburb see your ad.
- You can set a maximum monthly budget for your paid search campaign, so when that budget is reached, your ad is simply not displayed any more, preventing a unexpected large bill at the end of the month.
- The price you pay per click (or lead to your website in reality) is determined by you and the open market. If you are prepared to pay $5 per click for a keyword and everyone else is only prepared to pay $0.50 then you'll likely be at the top of the list until your monthly budget is hit.
Key's to making this paid search marketing strategy work are;
- Use the right key words. This could take some time and testing.
- Use Direct Response advertising principles and interruption marketing to get people to click on your advert not the other ads. As I've discussed before, offer something... a Free Brochure, or Free Guide/Report to help the decision making process of the prospect.
- Landing Pages. Paid search should not link through to the home page of your site. People normally search for a specific product or specific service; it's likely you have many products and services. You will be much more successful running multiple paid search campaigns for each individual service or key products... then have a ‘landing page' for each campaign. The sole purpose of the landing page is to capture the prospect details, give them something that is relevant, useful and valuable to them, in exchange for their details.
This week's Action Points...
These two strategies can fall in the too hard basket time after time; I know I'm guilty of not doing enough in these areas. You have the choice, ask yourself this question; "do many people that need my products and services use search engines to find a provider/supplier/retailer?"
If the answer is yes, make a start with the basics described above then get a pro involved, better yet if you have $500 - $1000 a month budget get a pro involved right away. You could start to either of these strategies for that budget using a professional consultant. I've got the details of a couple I believe can add value, if you're interested eMail me and I'll send through their details.