In today’s digital age, we are met with AI, the Metaverse, content creation, and the constant need for accessibility. Search engine optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) both play important roles in the online experience. No matter if you are a business owner, content creator, or marketing manager it is so important to understand how to utilize SEO & SEM to be able to effectively boost your online presence.
Navigating the digital world can be challenging, especially if you have never dove into analytics, algorithms, or optimization. Don’t freak out yet, let us lay out the general ideas and tools you must know to begin utilizing SEO and SEM! And if you haven’t seen our podcast episode featuring Ryan Doser, an entrepreneur, and expert in SEO, SEM, AI, and digital marketing, check it out: Navigating the World of SEO & SEM w/ Guest Ryan Doser.
What is SEO?
Again, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It refers to optimizing (improving its efficiency) a website or your online content to improve its visibility and ranking in search results. The goal of SEO is to attract more organic, or non-paid, traffic to a website by making it more relevant and valuable to users as they are searching for your business or a term similar, which leads to you and new site traffic!
Some of the key tools to know about when you are diving into SEO are:
Researching and finding the keywords that help to guide users to your site is important. Your keywords (and short phrases) will need to be relevant and guide users to your content. Think of what people may be searching for when looking for your products, either broad or specific, and add those to your keyword list.
To be able to find a site through searching, you will have to take measures to boost your site to the top of the list. Improving the site’s meta description, title, tags, links or headings will give the site a boost up the list because it has information that seems thorough and reliable.
Within your page, you will need to make sure your content is well written and users can find the information they are looking for quickly, otherwise, they will exit. Valuable content helps to address what your users are looking for and incorporate those keywords from your list naturally.
Along with making sure you have good content on your page, you must make sure that it is organized and users can navigate easily. Ensuring your site loads quickly, is user-friendly, and is organized in a way that makes sense will help users stay longer and enjoy their experience on the site.
What is SEM?
So, SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing. It refers to the use of paid advertising to promote websites and, like SEO, increase visibility in search engine results pages. And unlike SEO, which focuses on organic traffic, SEM involves paying for ad placements on search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo so that you are more likely to be placed on top of search lists for customers.
Some of the key tools of SEM include:
These visual advertisements include photos and videos as banners, pop-ups, or display ads across many sites or online platforms. These are usually engaging and eye-catching to users and allow interactive experiences that pull them to your site or products.
As a part of online marketing, sometimes you do not get the sale on the first try. This is where remarketing comes in and you target ads to people who have previously visited your site. By reshowing your brand or product, they will eventually come back to your site and hopefully purchase or make positive action.
This is one of the most common practices of SEM, where you are bidding on the keywords from SEO to increase your visibility. Rather than using keywords in your content to organically increase your position on search engines, you will be paying to be higher up when people search these exact words or phrases. You will only pay when these ads are clicked on, hence the “pay-per-click” term!
Ad extensions are meant to make your advertisements more informational. These include adding more context such as phone numbers, sign-ups, or an address of your physical location. These extensions promote ad performance and easy options for users to engage in.
More Tips for SEO & SEM
Monitor & Analyze: When you are implementing these tools and beginning your campaigns, it is important to watch what is going on. Tracking your efforts in places like Google Analytics or Google Search Console can help you see your site’s traffic, conversion rate, bounce rate, and keyword performance.
Stay in the Loop: As the digital world is ever-changing with AI and other smart technology, you have to stay in the loop. Algorithm changes and trends can throw you off the path of success, so immerse yourself in blogs or forums to try and learn what you can do to stay relevant.
Be Patient: SEO and SEM are not instant money makers or fixes for your low-traffic sites. You must be consistent, patient, and able to change your strategies constantly based on data.
All-in-all these two strategies are keys to digital success in the ever-changing landscape. They complement each other to boost your online visibility and traffic to your site. While you are still navigating through your journey of SEO & SEM, listen to our podcast featuring Ryan Doser, an expert in the field.
Now that you have some fundamental knowledge, take a deep breath, and get ready to embrace the success that will follow with utilizing these digital tools. Want to learn more about Google Analytics and the benefits of QR codes? Read: How to Use QR Codes With Google Analytics.