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Search Engine Marketing
Search engine marketing is what you do to attract customer’s attention and get them to line up and follow the trail to your website. More specifically, SEM refers to all the Internet marketing activities that promote websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results pages. In short, search engine marketing is how people find your website when they use a search engine to look for what they are interested in. And, if you are not doing it, you’re letting your competitors lead them to their website.
The two key types of search engine marketing are search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising. Search engine optimization helps your website achieve higher page rankings when people enter specific keywords into Google, Yahoo or another search engine.
SEO is also called “organic search” because the search engine results happen naturally and organically and are not influenced by paid advertising. There is no cost to having your SEO results show up in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Importantly, since achieving high SEO rankings can be very difficult, many companies pay to have an SEO expert help them structure their website and build important backlins to the website that help achieve better results.
Pay-per-click advertising typically has two costs associated with it. First, with PPC you are buying ad space from Google, Yahoo, or another search engine so your company’s ad is presented when people search for specific terms or keywords related to your business. This is your ad spend. In addition, since there is both a science and an art to running effective pay-per-click ad campaigns, many companies pay to have a PPC expert design, develop, execute, and optimize their PPC advertising campaigns.
Which is More Important, SEO or PPC?
Both search engine optimization and pay-per-click are important tools in Internet marketing. As such, most companies interested in driving traffic to their site should invest in both activities as part of their Internet marketing mix.
Start with Search Engine Optimization
There are several good reasons to start your SEM with SEO. Why start with a paid search capability when there is a free alternative? Organic SEO doesn’t have any advertising costs associated with it. As such, you can keep attracting traffic with no on-going advertising expenditure. In order to get the best rankings, it makes sense to have an SEO expert optimize your site and keep it fresh, but you are not paying advertising dollars. In addition, when a site is SEO optimized, has strong content, and is successful in engaging and converting customers, your PPC campaigns will be more successful. Finally, the knowledge you learn in optimizing for SEO will get you off to a good start in your PPC efforts.
The Advantages of PPC
A big advantage of PPC is that you can get results faster. SEO takes time to build momentum and traffic while PPC can help you jump start traffic to your site. Any time you want to increase traffic, you can dial up your pay-per-click advertising and run some successful campaigns. In crowded markets with entrenched competition it may be virtually impossible to achieve top page rankings through SEO. In these cases, the best chance to get on the first page may be to use PPC advertising.
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