Today, if people want to know something, they don’t hesitate to open up a search engine on their phone, tablet, or computer to source the information. In fact, we’re so completely dependent on search engines the term Googling was actually added to the dictionary. Over the years, search has expanded and developed an entire eco-system dedicated to giving the users access to the best quality information possible.
When businesses started to move online, search truly started to reach its potential. Now, the game was to catch the attention of the millions that use the internet and search queries. Unfortunately, that’s not an easy game to play. There are several ways to catch the attention of the online audience and increase the traffic coming to the website; most of these are covered under the umbrella term Search Engine Marketing.
There’s a very interesting history behind this umbrella term which is explained in detail by Danny Sullivan here. Today, SEM carries a slightly different meaning and only covers paid search.
So What’s Search Marketing
As stated above, it’s a term that encompasses everything that uses search to bring traffic to your website. It’s now divided into two different techniques based on the method of drawing traffic to the search engine. They’re listed below:
- Organic Search – Most marketers prize organic traffic coming to their site that’s slightly less expensive but slightly more in-depth traffic than paid search. This particular method uses tools like SEO and everything that falls under it as a way to bring traffic into the website.
- Paid Search – As the name implies, paid search are tools that you pay for. This includes PPC, CPC, product listing ads, etc. This method can be expensive as you pay for every click that happens on the PPC ads. While the bids for keywords can start pretty low, they can cost more than a couple of dollars per click.
As you can see, both these methods bring traffic to your website in different ways. Let’s explore these topics in a little more detail below.
Organic Search and SEO
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It means that your website and your marketing campaigns are optimized to get visibility on search engines like Google and Bing. Your website is naturally picked up by the engines without any external tweaks or bias.
In essence, the results delivered by organic search are not doctored by paid ads and financial incentives. They are the natural output of the search engine program. Google, Bing, and other such engines simply add paid ads to the listings before directing the results to you. The doctored results you get are a combination of paid ads and organic results.
The idea of SEO is to get high rankings amongst those organic results. That might sound simple but there’s a reason why SEO is considered so troublesome. Consider the following points for a moment:
- The competition out there is ridiculously high
- Everyone wants to save money and get a place amongst organic results. But sometimes SEO can be more expensive than SEM
- There are over 250 factors that Google takes into consideration when it determines search engine rankings
- SEO is a complex weave that’s on-site and off-site, that together draw the attention of the search engine and therefore increase the traffic
When you look at the above stated points, you realize just how much effort goes into something that’s more like PR than something that delivers concrete, quantifiable results. However, considering the amount of people that actually search a product or a business before they make a purchase, this is vitally important.
Common SEO Techniques
There are some techniques that generally deliver great results. Most marketing specialists will use these techniques to increase the possibility of your website ranking high in the SERPs.
- Keyword Integration – This is one of the most recognizable aspects of SEO. A good combination of focused, local, long-tail, generic, and negative keywords in your websites content and structure will be the beacons that draw the search engine’s attention. Keywords can be present in image filenames, section names, the code, the page titles, the URLs, the content, etc. The idea is to give the search engine every opportunity to spot you.
- Website Design – The search engine bots would crawl your website when they index it. They’ll examine the structure, the ease of use, and the user-friendliness. If your website isn’t organized properly and is difficult to navigate and to load, Google will rank it quite low.
There are other very important aspects like backlinks, content, citations and reviews, etc, that would determine just how high your website would rank on the SERPs. For a more comprehensive guide, you can visit the Search Engine Land webpage dedicated to SEO here.
Paid search is the exact opposite of organic search. It’s not the natural result of the search engine’s activity. All your PPC, CPC, and product listing ads, etc, are added to the SERPs later. Ads are managed through applications like Bing Ads and AdWords. Within these programs, you can create as many ads as you like, bid on keywords, set parameters, and analyze your website data.
- PPC – Pay-per-click ads are the ones that appear on the SERPs, usually on the top of the page. They’re clearly marked as ads so users are usually able to spot which results are paid and which are natural. You need to pay a rate for every click on the ad.
- CPC – Cost-per-click is the amount a Google search partner earns per click for hosting the ads.
- Product listing ads – These are integrated with Google Shopping and Bing Shopping. They appear on the SERPs in the make web tab as well as the Shopping tab.
Search Marketing Land has a comprehensive page dedicated to SEM here. You can visit it to know more. If you have any questions at all about SEO, PPC, and digital marketing, etc, you can contact Christopher Savage. You can get in touch with us by filling in the contact us form at the bottom of this page and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. You can also give us a call on 954 633 2963.