Search Engine Marketing - The Big Picture
Search Engine Optimization has a lot of moving parts. On-page SEO for your website and local listings are the easiest to control and arguably yield the best return on investment (ROI) of your marketing dollars.
By employing even the basic SEO techniques your business should see an increase in traffic from all search engines, such as Google. This translates to MORE people, MORE customers and ultimately more money for your business. Spending marketing dollars on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an investment in your future traffic to your site and leads to free visitors which is usually a very good thing!
So what is Search Engine Marketing?
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a term used to describe the process of obtaining traffic to your website from search engines. Generally speaking, you can break SEM into two main categories: organic traffic flow and traffic flow you have to pay for.
Organic traffic flow (read more here about organic search engine optimization) means a potential costumer can type a word, or phrase, into the search engine box and find your website naturally. Obtaining a high organic traffic flow to your site is obtained by practicing sound "white hat" Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques - a very detailed and time-consuming process that will yield substantial results if done correctly.
On the other hand, you can pay money to get the traffic flowing by creating advertisements, or utilizing Pay-Per-Click (PPC) marketing strategies. In these methods, you pay upfront to immediately put your website at the top of the search results page. Both organic and paid traffic are essential to the overall ranking of your website.
What is so great about Search Engine Optimization?
When a customer (or potential customer) goes to a search window on Google, Yahoo or Bing, they are either actively searching for a solution to a problem they have or they want to buy something or sign up for a service. In most cases, it is not a matter of IF the customer will purchase an item or service, but WHEN. This is someone you want on your site! SEM will allow your website to be ranked higher in the customer's search results, which will increase the likelihood they will click on your link. And once they click on your link, they are now in your online store. All you have to do is convince them to buy YOUR product and not your competitor's.
What are the types of SEO?
On-Page SEO are those elements that are able to be controlled by your SEM team. This is also referring to local SEO, which is managing all of the external sites that in some way reference your business. There are many different components to on-page SEO that all closely work together. For example, ensuring that your website, and its individual pages, are formatted correctly with the researched keywords and phrases tucked appropriately in the precise places. In this way, you are communicating to Google, and other search engines, and increasing your changes of being ranked highly on the search results page. On top of this, on-page SEO takes on local SEO, as well, which indexes all of the sites that reference your business, such as Yelp, Foursquare, and social media sites. You must ensure that all of your information is correct on these sites and that all reviews made by past customers are responded to appropriately. This is all about controlling your image and not letting another outside party do that for you. Respond to the reviews, especially the negative ones, to keep your reputation under control. Make sure that however a potential customer discovers you, they are able to know what you are truly about! Don't assume your website is the only place the world can find you.
Moving ahead with on-page SEO is content marketing. Once your website is formatted appropriately, you have to continue to add content so Google's complex algorithm can constantly evaluate your worth. This is known as Content Marketing (CM) (read more here about content marketing) and is often done in the form of a blog. You will update your company's blog periodically with useful information that people want to read. These articles have to also be optimized by the use of SEO to best ensure customers find you.
On the other hand, Off-Page SEO exists, which makes up the second half of SEO. Unlike on-page SEO, off-page SEO is not as easily controllable and primarily is composed of obtaining high-value links to your site. The main way of doing this is to create good content that people will actually want to link to, or share. This takes time! Trying to trick Google by forcing several backlinks, or teaming up with another website to create artificial backlinks, will only lower your ranking. It pays to do this correctly, even if it takes more time.
The other part of Search Engine Marketing is comprised of pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements (learn more here about pay per click search engine optimization). Pay-per-click, on a simple level, means you pay a fee every time a person clicks on that link to get to your website. Some website developers want to do this on day one, but this is highly advised against. If your website is not optimized for the best results, then even if you are getting a traffic flow from pay-per-click marketing, people will quickly leave your site since they don't like, or find value in, what they see. It is important to ensure your website is highly functioning independently before implementing a PPC campaign. The same goes for advertisements, whether they are on search engines, such as Google, or social media platforms, such as Facebook. However, once you are at this level of engagement for your customers, PPC and paid advertising can bring potential customers knocking at your door, which will lead to money in your pocket. Although you are paying for this traffic, it will yield a nice Return on Investment (ROI), or return on your marketing dollars.
Campaign Hawks is comprised of an experienced Search Engine Marketing team that can help you meet your goals.
"Successful SEO is not about tricking Google. It is about PARTNERING with Google to provide the best search results for Google's users." -Phil Frost