Many businesses have come to learn the value of having an online presence. But to enjoy success in a virtual environment, you have to play by a different set of rules. Specifically, with an online presence, you now have to put time and attention toward a website.
However, with nearly two billion websites on the web, you must have a good online marketing strategy to draw attention from customers and clients. Search marketing is part of that strategy, and this method breaks down into two groups: search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM).
If you’re ready to start up a new website, or if your current website is struggling to gain traction, take a moment to learn about these two practices and how they can work to your advantage.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engines analyze your website to determine how helpful and relevant it is to a word or phrase someone is searching. And the point of SEO is to increase the visibility your website gets from relevant searches. This means that if your website has a good SEO rating, fewer websites will come before yours on a search engine results page (SERP). In contrast, a website with a poor SEO rating may appear on a SERP that gets less visibility.
To put this into perspective, about 3 out of 4 searchers will not click to page 2 or beyond when they look something up in a search engine. So if your website doesn’t appear on page 1, you’ll automatically lose out on 75 percent of the traffic.
Luckily, your SERP positioning isn’t left up to chance. Search engines use a number of methods to determine which sites appear first, and effective SEO strategies will ensure your website is near or at the top.
Some Search Engine Measures
Your website’s usefulness is difficult for a computer software program to determine in a black and white sense. So search engines use a number of tools and methods to decide how helpful and relevant your website is, including:
- Counting how many people visit your website
- Calculating how much time visitors spend on your website
- Recording how many web pages within your website viewers visit
- Calculating your website’s bounce rate, or the number of people who leave your website quickly after arriving
The goal of SEO is to make sure you perform well on these measures.
Some SEO Methods
To have a high SEO rating, your website must be attractive and user-friendly. The better a visitor’s experience, the more likely they’ll stay on your website and view different web pages within your site. And you can implement a few techniques to make your website valuable to the viewer.
First and foremost, you must have high-quality content. Written content should be clear, easy to read, and on topic. Your content should also include relevant keywords — the words and phrases searchers use when they look something up in a search engine. However, too many uses of a keyword — a situation known as keyword stuffing — can hurt your SEO rating.
SEO also involves how quickly your website loads. Although the user’s own internet connection can affect this speed, your website can also add or subtract time.
For example, large images, especially high-resolution images, can hurt this loading time. Additionally, coding issues and too much Flash content will also add time. To speed up your website’s loading time, get rid of any excess content that uses up bandwidth, and ensure the backend coding is as efficient and correct as possible.
Search Engine Marketing
SEM is another tool your company can use to boost its SERP positioning. With this strategy, you don’t rely on organic results — which is the case with SEO. Instead, you promote your website with paid listings. These paid listings may include ads and advertising, particularly pay-per-click ads.
How this process often works is that your company can bid on a relevant keyword to your industry. When searchers look up that keyword, your website will automatically appear near the top of the SERP. With pay-per-click ads, you pay a small amount for each click the ad brings to your website.
You can also use SEM on other websites, and an ad for your company may appear somewhere on their site. As with the ads on a SERP, you often will pay a small bit for each click.
Many companies choose to use SEM techniques alongside SEO — as it won’t do you any good to have a lot of traffic if viewers don’t want to stay on your website.
This article only covers the basics of these two techniques of search engine marketing. But a search marketing company can help you implement these methods to the extent that your website needs them. If you want to learn more about SEO and SEM, or if your website needs a boost to draw in viewers, contact the Grow Team.