SEO and SEM – The basics for success
SEO and SEM are fundamental tools for success in any business. Appearing as high as you can on search engine rankings has never been more critical. The statistics make it clear. On average, the site that ranks No1 on a Google search receives 21% of the traffic from that search. Optimising your site, so it appeals to search engine algorithms takes time, but it is an essential investment. You need to develop plans around link building and creating backlinks, which also takes time, but make that effort and you will reap the rewards.
- 35% of product searches start on Google
- 64% of consumers use search to influence their ‘I want to buy’ moments
What are SEO and SEM?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of increasing traffic to your site by improving your ranking on search engines. Utilising a mixture of keywords, content and link building.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is the process of growing traffic to your site by taking out advertisements on search engines.
The main difference is that with SEO, you are looking to improve results without paying the search engine company. With SEM, you are directly paying the search engine company to promote your site.
Why is SEO and SEM important?
We have seen how featuring high on search results reaches consumers as they are making buying decisions, as well as how appearing as high as you can, drives a larger proportion of traffic to your site. However, there are other benefits:
A high rank on Google is recognition that your customers are happy with the experience your site gives them. It is a key indicator of the health of your business.
When you have a predictable and reliable source of web traffic, it is easier to forecast revenues and set goals for the future. You can also analyse and build content around what types of keywords you are trending on.
When expanding into new markets, SEM is an effective way to reach consumers who may not have known about you before. It also forms a part of a broader marketing plan. Utilising Google Search Console you can also see what keywords get the most traction by country, allowing you to plan content and website pages for when you want to do a marketing push or product launch
Influences on SEO
Many factors influence how high your site ranks on Google. It is an art as well as a science, not least because Google changes its search algorithm 500-600 times per year.
However, if you can get your site performing effectively, with each page optimised to catch Google’s eye, you boost your chances of ranking well for your chosen keywords.
It’s essential that pages on your site load as quickly as possible. Google penalises sites that take an inordinately long time to load.
Number of pages
Google likes to see multiple pages filled with quality, useable information.
Including a sitemap on your site helps Google’s bots find their way around.
Type of keywords
Check that people actually search for the keywords you want to rank for. Otherwise, all your efforts could be in vain. On the other hand, for keywords that receive a high number of searches, there will be more competition to appear at the top.
How well is your site regarded by its users? Do they always find the information they are looking for?
Google Trends allows you to explore what the world is searching for. Does your site directly appeal to the searches real people make?
Number of backlinks
Links to your content from other sites show Google that your site is high-quality. Cultivate as many backlinks as you can.
Outbound & Internal links
Links within your content help Google index your site and accurately represent it in search rankings.
Every image on your site is an opportunity for you to add a keyword. Don’t pass it up.
Make sure headings in your site are correctly tagged and contain the relevant keywords.
Meta Descriptions and SEO Headers
These descriptions help Google find and rank your content. Take time to optimise every piece of content on your site.
Google and other search engine companies offer businesses various paid-for opportunities to feature in their search.
Google My Business
Building a profile on Google My Business helps you control how you appear in search results. It also allows you to feature on Google Maps, which is essential if you target local customers.
Show up when people search for what you are offering, with video, images and direct links to your site.
Google offers pay-per-click opportunities across a variety of sites that belong to its Google Ads (formerly AdWords) network.
Google displays 3-4 paid search ads at the top of every search results page, auctioning these spots to the highest bidder.
The underlying principle behind SEO is that Search Engines want to provide the most valuable and engaging content for their users. They want to present people with exactly what they are looking for, fast.
When you appreciate this, it becomes easier to understand SEO. When you make your site as appealing as possible to your target customer, search engines are more likely to show it to them when they search.
Make sure your SEO is as effective as it can be, then it’s time to take it to the next level with SEM. SEM can be a valuable part of your marketing strategy, with high impact and low wastage.
If you want to improve your Google search rankings or discover the power of SEM, it’s time to talk to Marylebone Marketing. Schedule a time to talk to us today.