Feb 20, 2018
SEM: What is It and How to Get Started
Online advertising has a lot in common with its analog counterparts. You want to place your solution where the most people can find it–high traffic areas.
If you are new to the online business game, the prospect of getting your solution on the front page of Google may sound daunting. There’s a lot you need to do, from blogging to keyword optimization–all falling under this vague label, SEM.
Check out this article for a head start on learning about what SEO SEM marketing is and how it can help you rise through the ranks of Google.
What Is SEM?
Okay, let’s start with the basics.
SEM stands for search engine marketing. The term encompasses a series of strategies that work together to improve your standing in Google’s ranking system–which is based on a complex set of algorithms we don’t need to get into today.
SEM is a term that is sometimes used interchangeably with PPC (Pay-Per-Click) and this is about paying for ads that show up on Google and Bing or even on sites like Youtube and Kijiji
In all reality, SEM encompasses SEO, and SEO SEM marketing isn’t just for people trying to make their mark on a global or national level. Often, it works well for small businesses like restaurants and shops that rely on connecting with their immediate community online to boost sales in person.
So, Can I Really Influence Search Results?
Yes, but you’ll need to put in the work or pay for the clicks.
One of the best ways to ensure you’ve got a place at the top of the heap is to regularly put out high-quality content that actually helps people. This means you’re writing (or paying someone to write) how-to guides that inform–not blatant product plugs. Essentially, you’re writing industry-specific articles that keep others informed. The point is, you’ve got something other people don’t–a skill, an awesome menu, or insight into a complex topic people want to learn more about.
Some Strategies for SEO SEM Marketing Content include:
SEO & PPC: Keyword Research
Because we’re talking content strategy, your starting point should be keywords. Why? Because keywords signal to Google that your content can help answer the questions web users are asking and it also forms the foundation of your PPC bid strategies.
Pretty simple, sure. The hard part, however, is finding out which keywords relate to your business. Start by making a list of all the terms that correspond to your website–then see how your competitors rank for those keywords.
Hubspot has an article that lays this process out in simple terms.
SEO Specific: Writing Blog Posts and Articles
Once you’ve got your keywords in place, it’s time to get writing. Blogs and articles are an easy way to share bits of information with your audience. They function as a way to add more pages to your website, increasing the number of times your site is indexed by Google.
Additionally, good content functions as a sales pitch of sorts for your company. If people like what you have to say, they may subscribe to your RSS feed, keep tabs on your social channels, and more.
SEO in 2018: Video Content
Video is blowing up these days–and for good reason. Short videos on Instagram stories or on Facebook present a unique opportunity to connect with your customers and show off the more “human” side of your business.
Spreading The Word: Promoting Content Via Social Media
Social media is especially important to small businesses. While you might feel like this isn’t the best use of your already limited time, think again. Pushing blog posts, articles, and updates out through Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram is a great way to reach your audience and drive traffic back to your website. Plus, there are plenty of programs–Hootsuite, Buffer, Sprout Social–that allow you to pre-schedule posts and save time.
Beyond the promotion part of the equation, social media can help you keep tabs on what content is performing well for your competitors as well as what people are talking about in your niche.
SEO Basics: Don’t Forget About Backlinks
Building backlinks is a little tricky.
Google uses a variety of signals to determine the quality of the links that connect to your website, and some are better than others. If a popular news source or a government website connects to your content, that can be a huge boost–a vote of confidence that prompts the search engine to bump you up.
But, you’re not going to get these links overnight, no matter how good your product or your content. To get started, reach out to smaller blogs and review sites and find out if they’ll link back to you. Ask customers to link to your site or do something newsworthy.
A lot of backlink building has to do with building relationships with people willing to talk about you online. If you’re active on social media, create good content, and offer top-notch service, it’s a matter of plugging away and making an effort to connect. If your content is lacking or non-existent, spend some time improving what you’ve got.
Pay Attention to the Competition
SEO SEM marketing doesn’t exist in a bubble. You can’t keep your head down and bang out content without keeping tabs on the competition.
Take a look at competitive sites in your niche and see what others are doing in terms of content. Are people making videos to promote their products and services, or are blog posts more the norm?
Make Sure Your SEO SEM Strategy Is Well-Documented
Monitor your efforts and see what sticks. Maybe your articles do better than your videos or vice versa. Maybe you need to spend more time fostering the kind of relationships that build backlinks.
Track your metrics through tools like Moz, AhRefs, and Google Analytics. Seek out broken backlinks and remove them. Make your content as attractive and grammatically correct as possible.
There’s a ton you can do, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work on the docket, we understand. Octopus Creative specializes in the full scope of web marketing services from content creation to search engine optimization and SEM.
Call us at 1-866-205-8488 to learn more.