If you have a business, you cannot ignore the need for search engine marketing or SEM. SEM is the process of marketing your business through technologies and media in order to drive traffic to your website. In addition to incorporating many aspects of SEO, such as targeted and long string keywords and article marketing, it also utilizes paid search results.
The Purpose of SEM
Ultimately, the purpose of SEM activities is to increase website traffic and profits. Each site visitor represents an opportunity to make a sale. As a result, the more effective your SEM plan, the more likely your profits will increase over time. SEM is not a short term marketing approach. Instead, an internet marketing plan should be considered a long term, overarching approach to increasing internet presence and profits.
Methods of SEM
There are several different method approaches to SEM. Each approach is a stepping stone to the next approach, so any SEM plan should include several different elements in order to be effective.
Keyword Analysis – Keywords are the backbone of any and all SEM plans. Research keywords that are related to your products and services and determine which keywords are most likely to draw in potential customers. Recent research indicates that typical search behavior is not limited to single keywords and consumers typically use keyword strings when searching products and services. As a result, it is important to integrate long string keywords into your content.
Social Media – The most current and effective approach to SEM activities involves the use of social media outlets. Using social media allows you to accomplish several goals all at the same time. First, social media posts through Twitter, Facebook and other sources put your name out in front of millions of users. Each post you make gets sent not only to your followers, but also is posted on the front page of the media website. This gives you a great opportunity to generate interest in your company and your website.
Second, each time you make a post, it creates backlinks. Since backlinks are one of the ways in which search engines determine ranking, the more backlinks you have, the higher your site may potentially rank in search engine results. Again, since your posts are sent out to followers, this can potentially create a high number of backlinks. Also, if your followers repost your messages, this creates more backlinks.
Other effective social media outlets that can be used effectively include YouTube and Flickr. These outlets can provide you with a platform to develop a following by showcasing your expertise and knowledge. You can also use the videos and images posted on YouTube and Flickr and similar sites in your website content, integrating keywords in descriptions to make your efforts even more effective in drawing in website traffic and search engine results.
Pay Per Click – Another approach to SEM involves the use of pay per click (PPC) advertising. There is a great deal of debate over whether PPC is an effective method of SEM, since the advent of social media has made it possible to target potential customers without the necessity of paying for the process. Many SEM experts believe that it is more cost effective to focus on unpaid social media marketing efforts. Google AdWords and other similar search engine programs are examples of pay per click plans. These are systems in which small advertisements appear on related search results pages. The advertiser pays a set price each time the user clicks on the ad. Prices are set based on the value and popularity of the keywords associated with the search terms.
SEM is a long term approach to marketing. Used effectively, several approaches increase your internet presence and increase website traffic. The long term goal of any SEM plan should be to increase profits. If you use the many tools that are available to track your results, then you can better pinpoint what is effective in your efforts, and what efforts need to be further refined.
Written by Melissa Schraiber
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