It’s no secret that the more prospects you bring to your website, the more likely that you are to convert those prospects into customers . . . and eventually into brand advocates. Millions of marketers know the importance of SEO and SEM at a high level, but how can you leverage these tools to make a real business impact? It’s important to start with a thorough understanding of how these tactics work together to help drive your overall digital strategy.
SEO and SEM Defined
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a way of making your website more attractive to various search engines through a combination of clean code, fast load times and quality content such as social sharing, backlinks from reputable sites and multimedia. SEM, or Search Engine Marketing, is different as it includes content marketing, social media marketing and pay-per-click campaigns (PPC) — or advertising that is done within the search engine itself. While SEO is a more foundational practice, SEM actually incorporates the SEO tactics and expands upon them to use paid search, which can improve organic listings in many instances. Here’s how you can leverage these digital marketing powerhouses to drive more customers to your website.
1. SEO: On-Page Metadata
Several of the tactics used in SEO are relatively simple, and can be performed by nearly any content creator. The first of these is leveraging on-page SEO to improve your overall ranking. When you produce high-quality content that is impactful to your audience, these metrics are measured by search engines in a variety of ways such as the length of time on the page and bounce rates. When you have concise and accurate meta descriptions, keywords and titles for key website pages, your audience will find a positive correlation between the content found on the page and the descriptions and title that led them there.
2. SEM: Targeting Long-Tail Keywords
Many marketers are looking for that immediate lift and target the more expensive and popular keywords. However, you may find better long-term results by targeting what is called long-tail keywords: second- or third-tier terms that are accurate but much more cost-effective at bringing prospects to your site who are interested in the specific products and services that you offer.
3. SEO: Listing Your Site
Regardless of your industry, there are plenty of online directories and review sites that allow you to ensure that your products and services are being successfully and accurately represented. These sites often list your contact information as well as at least one link to your website. This free and easy advertising builds not only organic discoverability for your site, but also encourages higher Google rankings due to the links into your site.
4. SEM: A/B Test Your Ads
Yes, many businesses struggle to create a single version of their ad — much less create two versions that can be A/B tested. However, A/B testing is critically important to ensure you’re getting the best click-through rate and encouraging users to make a purchase. How can you know whether $15 dollars off or 10% discount is a more attractive offer to consumers without doing the testing? If this still feels too intensive, start with one ad and then expand to other ads once you’re comfortable you’ve fully optimized your results.
5. SEO and SEM: Use Landing Pages
When you’re sending your prospects directly to the homepage of your website from a PPC ad, you’re not only wasting money on that ad but there’s likely to be a negative impact on your organic search results as well due to an increased bounce rate. If prospects aren’t able to immediately identify where the information they came looking for is located, they’re likely to bounce right off your site — and out of running for your next Customer of the Year trophy! Creating landing pages for key advertising helps ensure that prospects are always seeing the most relevant offer for their needs, increasing the potential that they’ll convert to paying customers.
SEO and SEM are deeply entwined, and when they work together you’ll find that your overall results are greatly amplified.