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Suzanne Carawan

By: Suzanne Carawan on May 26th, 2016

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How to Leverage SEO & SEM for Your Organization

Content, Social & Digital Marketing

While you may already be familiar with SEO/SEM, the differences are easy enough to explain.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing a website to rank on search engines like Google in a natural way. Search engines have about 10 organic listings per page that serve as completely free advertising space, provided your website is the best optimized for the keyword phrase the user searched.

Search engine marketing (SEM) is the process of using pay-per-click online advertising systems, such as Google Adwords. Search engines have multiple ads that are displayed at the top and right hand sidebar when a user searches a keyword phrase. For Google, these ads are purchased and paid for on a "per click" basis upon using the Google Adwords system.

  1. How to Leverage SEO for Maximum Growth for your Business

Years ago, most businesses treated SEO as a cut and dry investment that was geared solely toward its immediate return on investment. Today, SEO is best leveraged as a long-term strategy and not an investment where you can expect an immediate return. One of the most effective SEO strategies today is to take the focus off optimizing for search engines and instead, focus on the content and value that your website is providing. This allows you to use content marketing to its full advantage.

- Use a content marketing strategy

By creating genuine and engaging content, you are improving the value of your website. Great content comes in all different forms. Chances are, you have read a fantastic article or watched an exciting video before. These are just two examples of strong content that can be leveraged to your advantage in the SEO world. There are also e-books, info-graphics, audio, podcasts and so much more potential candidates for content. With content marketing, the goal is to produce the best content you can. This is step one to the overall strategy. The better your content and the better it serves your target audience, the more potential your content has to influence your search engine rankings.

- Focus on syndicating content to authoritative websites

Content marketing revolves around your ability to successfully syndicate the content and find promotional opportunities.

Most businesses use traditional avenues such as web 2.0 blogs, social bookmarking, video directories, PDF directories and other social sites that allow for content sharing. This helps build a backlink profile to your content which can help with search engine rankings but it rarely does much more than that. You can use these backlink sources too but it's very important that you find authoritative websites to showcase your content. The best way to do this is to reach out to niche blogs and websites that already have an audience and following in your industry. This way, the content will gain immediate recognition and this will greatly increase its chances of being shared and spread across the web. Publishing your content in front of the eyes of active readers is the most important way to leverage SEO for your business. Make sure you always link back to the original source of the content, which should be your website.

  1. How to Leverage SEM for Maximum Growth for your Business

Pay-per-click marketing is much more straightforward approach to getting results through search engines. There is little ambiguity to it, as there's stats and data to backup every dollar that is spent on advertising.

- Target a wide variety of keywords but start slowly

The key to being successful with SEM if you are new to PPC is to start slowly. It's perfectly okay to target a wide variety of keywords but unless you have a massive budget, it is better to start slow. Begin by targeting a few long-tail keywords that you expect to have a high conversion rate. You can find these using the Google Keyword Planner.

As you get comfortable with the spending process, you can begin to integrate other keywords into your campaign.

- Setup a negative keywords list

Negative keywords are keyword phrases that you do not wish to target with your campaign. Using a negative keyword list is very important if you are targeting the "broad" match and not the "exact" match of keywords. This means that if your keyword is "SEO Services," Adwords would target all phrases that have "SEO Services" within them, even "free SEO Services." A negative keywords list is useful for restricting phrases that do not apply to your products or services.

- Write a new ad for differing keyword phrases/ad groups

Adwords will provide you with a rating on how well your ad copy is written for the keywords you are targeting. Be sure to write a new ad for keyword phrases that are vastly different from one another. Your ratings will improve and this will improve your conversion rates, as the text will more appropriately match what the searcher is looking for.

If you have questions on SEO/SEM, please contact us to speak with a professional marketer.