Search engine marketing, or “SEM,” is a digital marketing model in the modern age. A successful SEM strategy gives your website the status, authority, and popularity you need for a profitable online business. In practice, SEM permeates every part of web development and upkeep, but in general the term applies to search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click advertising (PPC).
The Marathon: Strengths & Weaknesses of SEO
Most consumers rely on search engines such as Google to find what they’re looking for online. In fact, 80% of today’s leads originate from an online search. No matter how wonderful your website is, people need to be able to find it through search engines.
Creating Permanency in an Online Market
Permanency is hard to come by online. In a world where social media posts can last for three minutes or less and where paid advertisements go to the highest bidder, anything that provides you permanency is of value.
SEO is a long term initiative that is more permanent than other online marketing strategies such as PPC or social media marketing.
The Ever-Changing Algorithm
Obviously, a tiny person is not inside your computer to search and provide websites for each search you make. Instead, search engines use algorithms to prioritize websites for internet users.
SEO is both exacting and elusive for the modern day website. It entails consistent, detail-oriented initiatives in both the front and back ends of websites. However, search engines such as Google are constantly updating their algorithms that rank websites.
Therefore, it is essential to invest in an SEO strategy that can be constantly updated and adjusted to maximize its effectiveness.
How SEO Works
The most reliable way to accomplish this is through SEO, which improves a website’s:
- On-page techniques
- Off-page techniques
These long-lasting methods should be consistently monitored to keep up with search engines’ various algorithms.
The Sprint: Strengths & Weaknesses of PPC
Using only SEO in your search engine marketing strategy will produce results…but most likely gradual ones. Even the term “organic search” implies nature’s slow and steady success. In order to get the fast results you need to build a marketing campaign, your best bet is pay-per-click advertising.
Adding a Fast Lane to Your Search Engine Marketing Plan
Pay-per-click or “PPC” advertising allows you to measure, track, and quantify your marketing attempts more easily because you get immediate feedback from search engine analytics. In addition, PPC gives your website a competitive edge by allowing you to rank above organically produced search engine results.
It takes a lot of dedication, skill, and trial-and-error testing to make your return on investment worth the initial cost.
Similarly, filtering and understanding the data you’re provided is both time consuming and worthwhile. Google Analytics provides information on user behavior and demographics that SEO can’t match, leading to better marketing strategies through web development, content, and social media outlets.
How PPC Works
To put it simply, PPC allows you to pay for better spots on search engines. This strategy allows you to draw more attention from the everyday user by catching their eye right off the bat. However, the intricacies of PPC campaigns are often overwhelming to newcomers.
The basic steps involve:
- Choosing targeted keywords and corresponding audiences
- Creating engaging and “clickable” ads
- Processing the data collected
- Improving, adjusting, and adding campaigns
Much like SEO, PPC campaigns should be regularly tracked and updated to ensure you get the most out of your investment.
Winning the Race
Ideally, SEO and PPC work together to give you the most rewarding search engine marketing strategy possible.
Finding the Right Balance
In the beginning of your online marketing endeavors, it helps to rely more on PPC to drive traffic to your new site. This strategy gives you the opportunity to build your site up organically without stressing about how much or little it is effecting your rankings.
Over time, your SEO habits will hold more weight and you won’t have to rely as much on paid advertising to make a statement online.
Most importantly, proper search SEM strategies should attract potential customers, clients, and followers to your website.
To accomplish this, the user always comes before the search engine.
Never try to “trick” search engines into ranking your site highly through spammy content and link building.
These “black hat SEO” techniques cannot only result in search engines flagging your site, but your company will lose its authority and respect. Instead, implement user-friendly SEO techniques through web development and content marketing to create an online brand you can be proud of.