In this useful guide, I will not only acknowledge you with what SEM is? but also provide you with useful tips regarding search engine marketing which would help you to rank higher on google.
Search engine marketing is by far the most efficient and effective way to advertise your business online. With around 87% of internet users using Google as their search engine, the need to have your business featured on the first page of Google has never been greater.
Many people are unaware of search engine marketing and take lightly the results that come up after doing some searches on search engines like Google.
However, search engine marketing appears to be averting the current doom and gloom of the recession. Think about it:
“The average UK spends 164 minutes online every day, while 148 minutes is watching TV”
More than half of the world’s population now has access to the web and about 90% of them find what they are looking for using search engines. 36% of people think that the result at the top of the first page is the market leader and 80% of people make their choice from the first-page listing only. How can you get your website on the first page with over 21 billion web pages with the first-page status?
‘Understanding The Term Search Engine Marketing’
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a form of Internet/online marketing that primarily involves the promotion of websites by increasing their visibility in search engine result pages (SERPs) through paid advertising. SEM may include search engine optimization (SEO), which adjusts or rewrites website content and site architecture to achieve higher rankings in search engine result pages to increase pay per click (PPC) listings.
This is what is called search engine marketing and moving ahead I have listed some techniques and tips to get you started with optimizing your website to rank well on search engines. Remember this is a basic guide to help you along your way in SEM.
Useful tips to optimize your website for SEM
1. Social media (web2.0 )
- “Facebook”, “YouTube”, “Flickr”, “MySpace” – all these are social media websites. They provide a means for people around the world to connect and share information online. However, the way people communicate is different. “Flickr” allows people to upload photos and share them with other users or comment on uploaded pictures.
- “YouTube” allows people to upload videos etc. The number of people visiting these websites to share information is in millions. So maybe you can use these social communities to spread the word about your website. Social media is a great way to connect with tough people who share similar interests. There are a number of ways to do this.
- Make your content interesting enough that people want to see it. Then, unlike with search engine optimization, frequently changing content will make people want to keep coming to you. Make it easy for people to tag or bookmark your new content. Bookmarking is very fashionable at the moment. The most popular way to do this is to get an “AddThis” button because of its ease of use, however, there are many buttons available.
- Use more than just text on your site. Create a video and submit it to a video-sharing website like “YouTube,” create a PDF version of your content, and an audio version as well. Submit it on the appropriate websites. Don’t forget to return the link to your site.
- The simple truth is that most Internet users love blogs. So do search engines. Create and use a blog. very. Submit it on sites like “technorati.com”. If it’s good enough people will connect with you and then share and let others know about your writing.
2. Link Building
- First, we need to look at how search engines rank a website and decide in which order to list them. The (very simplistic) version is Google changed everything the way many search engines ranks. The early creators of Google (Larry Page and Sergey Brin) wanted to create a search engine that could rank a website for quality and list users in order of quality.
- The way they decided to rank one website was to count how many other websites linked to it. If other websites link to it then that should be good. So, essentially link means to vote. As I said, this is a very simplified version and there’s more to it but it’s a great place to start because that’s what matters most.
- See who links to you and then see who links to your competitors and try to muss on some of their actions. Simply go to yahoo.co.uk, then type “link:yourcompetitor.com” into the search box. This will bring up a list of websites that link to your competitor’s websites. Then contact them and ask them to link you as well.
- Do not get scrooge. Make sure the links are coming out of your website. It is important that you link to high-quality websites, i.e. if your website is a property website, links to the relevant governing body, Wikipedia, or the largest property portal.
- Search engines will see your site as a good place to get good content. Submit your website to online directories. This can be very boring and can take hours. But once you get your site accepted in a directory. You will have a link back to your website. Remember. The more the better.
- Subscribe to forums in your niche. You can include a link directly to your website in your signature. Remember though. Do not spam the forum. Forum users won’t like it and the moderator will probably kick you. If you use a forum properly though you will find it quite attractive.
- Read blogs related to your niche market. It is very educative as well as beneficial for link building. Read the blog then leave a comment about that blog. Don’t forget to include a link to your website though. Just don’t make it too clear.
3. Pay Per Click
Pay per click (PPC) is a way in which you pay search engines to bring targeted traffic to your website. Have you ever searched on google and found that there are two columns. The column on the right is called Sponsored Links. They are advertisements for businesses. They don’t pay anything to appear there but they do pay (pay per click) when you click on the ad. This is a very fast way to get people to your website but you have to pay. I recommend hiring a pay-per-click company to help here. This will save you lots of money. However, if you’ve put yourself here before, here are some very basic tips.
Budget. Make sure you make a sensible budget and stick to it. Don’t get into a bidding war. Don’t rely solely on pay-per-click marketing your business. PPC is great for promoting specific products and services very quickly but you always have to pay for the result.
Analyze your cost per click and cost per acquisition closely. Then compare it to your other marketing activities. See which one works best. Remember that sites like Google take into account the quality of your website content as much as how much you are bidding.
PPC is my favorite part of search engine marketing mainly because of the sheer rate of return on investment, but make sure it’s done properly otherwise it can be disastrous.
Always have two ads running at the same time for each product but with different ad text. Google will use the most successful ad for you and show that ad more often, which will help you get more traffic. Change to the worst-performing ad and see if that improves. Keep repeating This will eventually lead to showing you the best possible ad.
Remember those two columns we just mentioned. Search Engine Optimization helps in optimizing your website so that Google can rank it on the left-hand column. This list is given based on how relevant your website is. And you don’t have to pay for these listings. Have you ever noticed how all the big companies appear on the top of the first page? Now, all we need is “Which come first – the chicken or the egg?”.
Search engine optimization is generally divided into two categories onsite optimization and off-site optimization. The first, when done properly, is very important but it will only get you to the starting line. Offsite optimization is the race itself. A good search engine optimization campaign should cover all the search engine marketing techniques mentioned and when you really get into it you can learn more advanced techniques. Below are some basics.
Include your keywords in your domain, title, meta tags. The first thing a search engine spider will read is your domain name. ie [http://www.yourdomain.com]. This has nothing to do with a search engine, so ideally [http://www.yourdomain.com/your-key-words], or even better [http://www.your-key-words.com ] use. Then the next part is your title. Don’t just have a “home page” or a “front page”. I would have “your domain – your keywords”. It also matches domain names. Then repeat this in your metadata. And sprinkle it all over your web page. Keep it readable though.
Make each page separate. This helps search engines differentiate them and should prompt them to index each of your pages separately.
Get a site map and submit it to the major search engines. Don’t pay for this service though. It amazes me that people actually charge for this. Simply type in Google “sitemap” and you should be presented with a website that will generate you a sitemap for free.
Keep going. Older sites usually rank better than newer sites. It is believed that older websites should be more reliable. As there is nothing we can do about it, just focus your time on other off-site optimization like link building, social media optimization, and if you can’t wait, pay per click. Search Engine Optimization is a long-term solution but is it worth the wait.
Verify your HTML code. Go to “validator.w3.org/”. This will ensure that web browsers display your website correctly and help search engines index your site. There is no point in customizing your website if it doesn’t work properly.
Other Useful Tips
Get Google Analytics. Having a website is one thing but you need to know what people are doing on it. Google Analytics is very comprehensive and free but it does not report in real-time. Although Woopra reports in real-time. the choice is yours. You should get one of these before doing anything else otherwise how will you know that your efforts are paying off.
If you decide to use a company to run your search engine marketing campaign (recommended) make sure you choose your search engine marketing company wisely. Don’t just go on recommendation. This is going to be a long working relationship so the important thing is that you stay with them. Do your own research on the industry.
Think twice about search engine marketing firms that say they can guarantee first-page listings in a short amount of time, the methods they use will get your website banned. BMW found it the hard way.
Search engine marketing is not an easy choice but when done properly it will bring untold rewards.
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