Search Engine Marketing for Beginners: 5 Important Terms to Know
In the U.S. alone, roughly 12 billion internet searches are performed every month and over 60% of consumers conduct web searches prior to making a purchase. Search engines are the largest driver of website traffic, and 60% of searches go directly to the top 3 results on the first page. These stats are hard to ignore, making the case for a robust search engine marketing strategy even more critical for your business. Fortunately, you can learn the basics of search engine marketing on your own for free. To start, here are 5 important terms that you’ll need to know.
Whenever you use a search engine and click on a website result, you’re driving organic search traffic to that website. In search engine marketing, the term organic refers to any search traffic that isn’t paid for, and nearly 90% of consumers start their product hunt with a search engine. Performing strong in organic search is a primary goal in search engine marketing (SEM), as it’s responsible for over 50% of all website traffic according to a study from marketing software firm, BrightEdge.
During your marketing research, you’ll often run into the term, SERP. SERP stands for Search Engine Results Page, and this is simply the page that lists all the web results for a given search term. These pages, or SERPs, are important because they’re the first things people see on their search. That’s why it’s critical to get to the top and make a great first impression once you’re there. In order to rank better in SERPs, you need to create and implement a series of SEM strategies to make your website more visible.
One important SEM strategy is search engine optimization, or SEO. In order to rank higher for targeted search terms and their respective SERPs, you need to optimize your website content, blogs, product descriptions, and any other published content for search engines. SEO requires a wide range of techniques, one of which includes the optimization of online content with search terms recovered from SEO keyword research.
Everything you type into a search engine is considered a search term. A search term, or keyword, can be anything from a question to a phrase. For example, if you were looking for an Internet marketing service in Minneapolis, your search terms will probably like the following:
- “Best internet marketing service minneapolis”
- “I need an internet marketing service in minnesota”
- “Internet marketing company minneapolis”
By optimizing their content with your search terms, a Minneapolis-based marketing service increases their chances of getting your attention online. To collect the most valuable search terms for your website, you need to use various keyword research techniques to generate a substantial list of search terms to rank for.
PPC is an advertising solution that can also raise a website’s SERP position. PPC stands for Pay-Per-Click, and on average, marketers spend over 30% of their total marketing budget on PPC advertising alone. PPC services charge the client once their ad is clicked, and each click helps improve a website’s search visibility. The most recognized PPC service is Google’s own Adwords service which allows you to bid on search terms to compete for visibility on SERPs. You can find these text-based ads at the beginning and end of a SERP.
Start Your SEM Strategy Today!
Stop missing out on valuable search engine traffic. Now’s the time to incorporate a SEM strategy into your marketing plan, and you can get the ball rolling right now with your trusted search engine! Learning about organic research, SEO, SERPs, keyword research, and PPC advertising is just the beginning toward crafting a new, memorable online marketing strategy for your business.
Photo credit: Rawpixel Ltd | iStock
Chances are, you don't update your website all that often. You're time-crunched enough as it is running a veterinary clinic or another small business. However unintentional, you ignore your business website until the company decides to move, offer a new service, or something else you consider newsworthy. This makes for a static website that may not draw the attention of the search engines that you had hoped. The search engine optimization (SEO) benefit you receive from regular blogging is just one of the many reasons why your company needs to incorporate it into its overall marketing strategy.
We have been (slowly) rolling out a series of blog posts about Why Blogging is So Critical to your business, and where to get this content. But, once you have the text that you're going to publish on a page, there are a few tips and tricks that help that content not only get found, but help your reader quickly and easily capture the critical points of what you are saying. Recently, Microsoft conducted a study surveying the attention span of humans. What do you think the time frame is?
Shorter than that of a goldfish.
I linked to the study above, and I do hope you read it (likely, if you share characteristics of the participants of the study, you'vealready left my page to check!). But the study also highlighted something critically important. That attention span isn't necessarily a bad thing--in fact, people actually are in a mode of wanting to be consistently mentally engaged. Their brains will quickly discern any new knowledge and quickly move on to the next piece of information. What does this mean for you?
Your content needs to be strategically formatted to allow your readers to capture a maximum amount of information, in minimal time.
How can your web content be enhanced?
- Bulleted lists of items
- Engaging images which support your text
- Bolded titles
- White space
- Concise, error-free content
As you'll note, that quick little list was easy to read--using the tips included help to allow the reader to scan bite-size pieces of information, rather than a novel.
Where can you find great images to correspond with your content?
- iStock Photo (paid subscription service)
- Thinkstock Photo (paid subscription service)
- Pixabay (images free of copyright, even for commercial use and are distributed under Creative Commons)
Those are our favorites, but there are many more. Just a few rules:
- Remember to read the attribution requirements carefully, as blogging often requires photographer attribution.
- Google images are not free for the taking.
- Even if you have an in-house photographer, it's appropriate to attribute his or her work.
Just a few extra moments of time can strategically improve the impact of your writing, and help cater to the attention span of your readers.
A few months ago we started a series of blog posts regarding the huge importance of ultilizing blogging as part of your website and search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. We're following up today with an answer to a question we frequently receive:
Where do I get content for my blog?
There are a few sources for great content, and unfortunately lots of sources for bad content. It's highly important that sites that provide "spun content" or key-word stuffed blogs are avoided. These not only are detected almost upon first glance by your readers, but can also harm your site ranking. Google gives preference to sites that have authentic and valuable content. Avoid cheap, easy methods of site ranking. If you have more questions about the many ways that black-hat (overly aggressive and often unethical SEO can harm your site) drop us an email to help devise a better plan.
Now that we have that out of the way, let's discuss great ways to find content!
Here are some of our favorites!
- Case studies
Take an example of a client for whom you provided a service. Chances are, there are multiple other clients out there with the same question or situation that needs to be addressed. Case in point? If you have assisted a dog with a seasonal allergy with high success, post before/afters and a brief description of ailment and treatment. Leave the high-level medical lingo aside--and remember to write at a level of approximately an 8th grader. (Remember our article here?) Provide a way for your clients to contact you with ease.
- Business Events
Have an upcoming open house? Participating in a local community event? These are fabulous ways to provide details, content about event, and give your clients a way to connect with you in person. Additionally, any philanthropic events help you connect at an even more respected level. An event gives you an opportunity for at least three touch points: Prior to event, day of event, and follow up. Don't let these opportunities elude you!
- Seasonal Information
How do the seasons affect your business? Can you highlight a different product or service based upon the time of year? Do it, and provide a reason for your recommendations. Additionally, provide contact info and/or source of obtaining the discussed items/service.
- Guest authors
Do you have a strategic relationship with another company? For example, if you're a dentist who refers clients to a trusted orthodontist, or a veterinarian to refers to a specialist in chiropractic or oncology, give the referred partner space on your blog. This is a spectacular way to contribute to increased SEO rankings for one another, in addition to getting quality content. Don't forget to link to the referred partner's website!
......Hire professional copywriters.
There are many wonderfully skilled writers out there. A specialized segment of them have additional SEO certifications that can provide you a double-bonus when placing content on the web. We are fortunate to have skilled writers as part of our team at Saris Web Design/Saris Media. With just a few brief questions regarding the article you would like to generate, they are able to write impactful, pillar content that makes you look good, and also focus on the career that you have, saving your time and opportunity cost.
Happy writing (and blogging!)