Search Engine Marketing – A Perfect Blend of SEO, SEM, and Social Media

Search engine marketing (SEM) has evolved to become the most reliable strategy for reaching your target audience and driving conversions. It boosts your company’s exposure within your space; it compels your market to visit your website; it positions your product as the solution to their problems. As a result, your sales increase. Your revenue and profit swell. Your ROI rises. And your business enjoys stronger branding and customer loyalty in the process.

Many of your competitors are already using SEM in an attempt to capture a larger portion of your market. There has never been a better time to protect and expand your territory. This article will explain why search engine marketing should be a critical piece of your online marketing strategy. You’ll discover the value of hiring an SEM expert versus forging a path on your own. We’ll also describe how SEM PR and SEM social media tactics converge with SEO and PPC to produce a groundswell of momentum.

Why Search Engine Marketing Is Critical

SEM blends SEO, pay-per-click advertising, and social media strategies to give your company a higher level of visibility within the search engines’ listings. But, visibility without sales is useless. And therein lies the true value of SEM.

Your online marketing efforts must generate conversions in order to justify the investment. Conversions might include a prospect buying your product, signing up for your newsletter, or becoming your affiliate. It might include subscribing to a continuity program that generates monthly revenue. Search engine marketing not only allows your company to approach your audience, but it engages the conversation that is already occurring in their mind. It compels action, which lifts your conversion rate.

Is Hiring A Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Expert Necessary?

Every tactic that is leveraged within a comprehensive search engine marketing deployment can be learned. The problem is, doing so is incredibly time-consuming. The algorithms that govern the search engine’s organic rankings change constantly. The major PPC platforms endure a seemingly endless string of upheavals. Social media sites are still in their infancy; as they mature, so too, will the tactics required to leverage them. Developing proficiency in each area of search engine marketing takes an enormous amount of time.

An SEM expert will design a search engine optimization campaign that pushes your website to the top rankings for your chosen keywords. They can also launch a pay-per-click advertising campaign that further improves your exposure. Social media marketing tactics can be integrated to dovetail with the rest of your search engine marketing deployment. Even though you could launch these strategies on your own, do you have the time to learn and apply them?

SEM PR: Melding Search Engine Marketing With Public Relations

SEM PR has its roots in search engine optimization. Years ago, online public relations was managed largely through the creation and distribution of online press releases. This is still effective today. These press releases gain traction in the search engines’ organic listings. That builds your company’s brand while helping to push negative publicity off the first page of results.

Today, online PR has been incorporated within a broader SEM context that includes SEO, PPC, and online reputation management (ORM). For example, a press release can be distributed online in order to gain traction within the natural listings. Then, a PPC campaign can be launched to direct your audience to the press release on your website. Links can be placed throughout the page to other positive coverage. The more points of exposure, the less likely negative press will penetrate the top rankings in the search engines. This is a core element of ORM and by extension, search engine marketing.

Features to Expect From a Search Engine Marketing Company

If you’re looking for ways to increase both your sales and customer base, you should consider hiring a search engine marketing company. And if your UK business doesn’t have a presence on the Internet, you should contract a search engine marketing firm to explore the many benefits of affordable search engine optimization. While there are many other factors you can consider when contemplating a website, if the site doesn’t place high in the most popular search engines, you’ll never realize the full power of search engine marketing. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the features a top-shelf search engine marketing agency should have.

Deep Analysis is the First Step

Every search engine marketing company should begin with a thorough analysis of both your needs and goals. Scale is important here and the search engine marketing firm should be able to competently determine the website size and features that best reflect your products and/or services. Armed with that in-depth information, the company should have for its goal a top search engine ranking for your business. And the premiere way to do this is by selecting the correct keywords to include the website’s content.

How Search Engine Marketing Works

Search engines like Google scan your website looking for matches with the search criteria the user types in. These search criteria contain keywords that should match content on your site. Although search engines have additional algorithms for ranking results, if your website is keyword rich, you have a much better chance of gaining top search engine placement. And this is where a professional search engine marketing firm can provide an extremely positive ROI (return on investment). The agency will use specialized tools to determine the most effective keywords and keyphrases to use in your website’s content. Here’s an example: For a company whose primary business is automotive-related, the goal should be to include as many words and phrases that are similar to the “key” keyword “automobile.” Specialized tools are available on the Internet to do just this. Google AdWords, for example, will return several pages of words and phrases related to “automobile,” along with the search volume (number of times a user typed them in). Google returns the information that users typed in the main keyword “automobile” over 2.5 million times. Less used but still effective variations include “automobiles” (over 1.2 million times), “automobile insurance” (over 200,000 times) and “automobile dealers” (over 130,000 times).

Other Important Services

Once the keywords are determined, the search engine marketing consultant should provide multi-lingual services, since about 70% of people who search the Internet do not speak English. This is a great and cost-effective way to reach new customers and markets. For example, an Internet marketing agency in the UK should also provide content translated into French, Spanish and Portuguese if your goal is to reach customers on the European mainland.

Finally, if your site does attain high search engine ranking your consultant should be constantly monitoring and “tweaking” it to improve your ranking even more. A UK search engine marketing company is not only a valuable tool, but also an essential one.

The author is an online marketing professional with Infomedia Direct Technologies Ltd – a well known Search Engine Marketing Company in the UK . The company is an expert providing innovative internet marketing solutions for small, medium sized and large businesses. They offers cutting-edge pay per click, Search engine optimization and search engine marketing solutions for your business with a full refund guarantee.

Considering A Job In Search Engine Marketing?

Although the title of this article is ‘Considering A Career In Search Engine Marketing’ it is important to stress that there are in fact two different areas within ‘search’, namely: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Advertising.

Industry experts have mixed views as to how ‘search’ should be defined but for the purposes of this article Search Engine Marketing covers both Search Engine Optimization (also known as natural search) and Search Engine Advertising (also known as pay per click, sponsored or paid search).

Background To Search Engine Growth
It seems that the Internet has been around forever and that using a search engine to look for information is now a normal day to day activity. However, it is easy to forget that Yahoo! only celebrated its 12th birthday in March 2007 and that Google celebrated its 10th birthday in September 2007. You only need to look at the number of additional products and services that they both offer today to see how fast the industry has grown!

When the search engines first launched, their results pages were based on their own proprietary algorithms. As the importance of the search engines to web site owners increased so did the desire to be highly ranked in the search engine results. This lead to the growth of SEO companies who would offer a service to optimize a web site to maximise its rankings in the search engine results.

As a result of the launch of the first Pay Per Click Search Engine by Goto.com in 1998 (renamed Overture and now owned by Yahoo Search Marketing) this lead to an opportunity for SEO companies to add another service by managing the Pay Per Click campaigns for their clients. In addition, it also led to new Search Engine Marketing (SEM) companies starting up who only specialised in managing Pay Per Click campaigns.

Of course, wherever there is growth in an industry there is also opportunity and none more so than the job opportunities that are now being created as a result of the phenomenal growth of the Internet and search engines.

Where Are The Job Opportunities?
As well as job opportunities within the Search Engine Marketing companies it is becoming more common to see some traditional marketing and advertising agencies offer search engine related jobs. In addition, there are now specialist digital media companies providing search engine marketing services. Corporate employers are also beginning to recruit their own Search Engine Marketing specialists to work in-house and this trend is expected to keep on growing.

What Type Of Skills And Attributes Will You Need?
The type of skills and attributes required will very much depend on how specialist the job role is and also the level of the job. Although many companies will want experience in the job discipline, others will be looking for well-motivated, flexible individuals with both the ability and desire to learn fast.

For the more technical roles (for example a Search Engine Optimisation Specialist) a technical background in HTML, programming or IT maybe required although the level of background required will vary from company to company

For the more marketing related roles (for example managing a large Pay Per Click campaign for a client) good business skills, an analytical and enquiring mind, creativity, lateral thinking and solid product and project management skills are always good attributes to have. These transferable skills may have been gained from a wide range of experiences across different industries.

However, one overriding attribute to have is the ability to deal with change. Things change so quickly within the search engine industry, with new products and services launched on a regular basis as well as updates to the search engines algorithms, that you have to be able to respond quickly and analyse what the various changes will mean to your clients.

Do I Have Enough Experience?
Bear in mind that there are not many people within the industry with more than five years experience of paid search or ten years experience of search engine optimisation because the industry is very much still in its infancy! Therefore, if you have limited search engine industry experience many companies (big and small) may be willing to provide their own training programmes for you if you show the desired aptitudes and attitudes.

Search Engine Marketing and Your Site

Search marketing is now widely recognised as a highly effective way of reaching customers online. Last year, over £2 Billion was spent globally in online marketing and the figures are set to soar. More companies with an online presence are turning to search marketing to reach prospective customers, generate traffic to their site and convert them into sales. So, how does it all work? If you’re considering investing a percentage of your hard earned marketing budget on search marketing you should have a basic understanding of where it’s going and how it works. Most search marketing companies talk about improved web site and page ranking but what exactly does that mean? What you want is to increase traffic to your site, improve sales and raise the brand. How does that happen?

SEM or SM?

Search marketing which has now dropped the less glamorous “engine” from its previous industry name of Search Engine Marketing really consists of two disciplines – paid search and organic or natural search. Paid search is of course what keeps Google in hyper-growth or more specifically Google Adwords. In the UK we must not forget Yahoo Search Marketing (Overture), Miva and Mirago. These engines all enable advertisers to Pay-for-Position (PfP) or Pay-per-Click (PPC). It’s important to note that such marketing is a form of advertising and such adverts wherever they appear should be announced as “sponsored” or labelled as advertising.

Paid Search

The PfP networks mentioned above are referred to as networks because, in nearly all cases, their adverts are shown across a network of sites. The sites in the network depend on the relationship that the main ad technology provider has with search portals. For example, if you search for something on Google and look at the Google AdWords shown, you will see the same ads on Aol.co.uk. You may see some differences due to advertisers’ budgets causing fluctuations in impressions, but they are same.

Organic Search?

Organic search or natural search results are provided by crawling search engines – more on those later. The important thing to remember is that paid search is advertising and organic search is editorial. Well, that’s the analogy the search marketing industry uses to describe in Newspaper-like terminology the complex world of search. It’s a rather good analogy because it allows us search people to explain Search Engine Optimisation.

Organic Search and PR

So if you wanted to advertise in a national newspaper you could book it directly, use a media buyer, engage a creative agency and possibly a media planner. Well you can do all of that too with paid search. The management of paid search is big business. But what about editorial or those crawled results? Well to influence editorial, you might engage a PR agency. Of course a PR agency’s not going to guarantee front page news but it will devise a strategy and execute on it to get results. Well in the world of search, to try and influence crawling search engines and their organic results, you should consider Search Engine Optimisation and you might consider a Search Engine Optimisation agency. Another point for clarity, Search Engine Optimisation is a really bad term. You don’t and can’t optimise search engines you actually optimise the website you want to perform well in search engines. Unfortunately, we’re stuck with SEO and not a more logical name like “website search optimisation”.

The find, crawl, read, index and rank

At ivantage.co.uk we always think of “ranking” on crawling search engines as just one of four steps in generating traffic and conversions in the process of successful Search Engine Optimisation. Your site, like every other site, needs not only to be ranked by search engines but found, crawled, read, indexed and then ranked by crawling search engines.

The UK’s leading crawling search engines, spiders and robots

Notice I talk about crawling search engines. What on earth are these? Actually you’ll have heard of most of them, there really aren’t that many and certainly the only ones you need to worry about, as far as traffic is concerned, are Google, Yahoo, MSN, (Ask Jeeves) Teoma and Mirago. Each search engine generally has a portal component which is the bit consumers visit to conduct their searches and a crawling component called the robot or spider. So each of the search engines I mentioned above has its own robot, each uniquely named Googlebot, Slurp, MSNbot, Teoma and Henry respectively.

Guaranteed Search Engine Marketing

Guaranteed search engine marketing mainly refers to attaining a first page placement on the search engine listings. However, no SEO consultant can guarantee a top placement on a search engine listing. However, with diligence, first-page placements can be attained and maintained often and for a long time.

Guaranteed search engine marketing methods generally involve an effective use of search engine optimization methods and solutions allied to it. Effective application of search engine marketing methods can enable a company to achieve higher placements in the search engine listings. These methods typically include designing a website that is search-friendly and easy to navigate. Furthermore, the website should have content that is accurate and easy to understand. The content should be drafted using words users frequently use to find the specified content. Similarly, key words and phrases should be effectively used in the content. Making the site more accessible, which is a crucial factor for search engine marketing, can further enhance the effectiveness. The other factors, which affect the placement of a site is linking. Link building, reciprocal linking, one-way linking, and multi-site linking in a website are crucial. These elements reflect on the navigability of the experience, and make the site search-friendly, which is important for guaranteed search engine marketing. A comprehensive use of SEO solutions is also very important for guaranteed search engine marketing and maintaining higher placements in the search engine listing. These solutions other than linking include website analysis, search engine review, submission to search engine and all features of optimization process.

Search engine marketing being a relatively new and sophisticated process most companies hire consultant for the job. In such a case, guaranteed search engine marketing totally depends on them. It is always advisable to go for an experienced consultant who has a trained and professional team of experts. As mentioned earlier no one can guarantee the top placement on a search engine, thus a word of caution, to beware of such professionals whose intentions may not be so ethical.