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Exploring Search Engine Marketing And Search Engine Optimization Techniques

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Search Engine Marketing

Search Engine Marketing is a vital aspect of any comprehensive digital strategy. It is about developing your visibility and reputation based on keyword searches. The vast majority of netziens do not look past the first page of search results.

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Image credit – Manfred.com

The two main approaches you need to develop are in paid adverts and links as well as natural search engine optimization. Both approaches working in conjunction with one another is effective.

Search Engine Advertising (SEA)

SEA is a strong initial approach for businesses, you can utilize PPC (Pay Per Click) banner adverts and paid advertisement links.

Paid Links:

You will instantly appear at the top of the search ranking with a paid link. You need to decide on your keywords, the prices of which will vary based on demand. Think about which keywords are most relevant to your business and what is most likely to be searched, do some keyword searches yourself, they need be common sense and logical.

Banner Adverts / PPC:

All major search engines offer banner advertising, you can generate a presence and reputation in this way with intelligent engines such as Google offering tailored ad based content to users based on their searches, in this way your adverts are becoming increasingly tailored. Research the different packages on offer they vary greatly depending in which search engine you are optimizing on. PPC ads are where you pay a fixed sum per click-through to your site.

SEA drives a lot of traffic initially and is an aggressive market entry approach that can be employed. It is however costly and is not sustainable over a long-term marketing campaign. Paid links do not drive the highest quality traffic, ask yourself which serious professionals click on the ads? Most look to the natural search results and skim past adverts.

Having said this SEA is an effective method when conducted in conjunction with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) which prioritizes the natural results on search engines.

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Image credit – 4beacons.com

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Techniques

SEO is about developing your sites ranking in the natural search results. This is where the majority of netziens and serious leads are looking. SEO is a long term strategy, it takes time to build up your reputation but it will pay dividends in the long run. As your natural optimization improves transfer your paid ad budget over to SEO, it is about you appearing on the first page and consistently ranking highly.

How do you optimize your site in the natural search results, there are a number of factors which search engines prioritize across the board:

Keyword Selection

You need to research the market to decide upon the best set of keywords that you are looking to optimize. In effect what are netziens searching for and how does this relate to your business? It is also a case of branding, how do you define your business activities based on these keyword searches. Keywords are essentially ‘buzzwords’ that you commit to optimizing.

Backlinks

backlinks

Image Credit – dhiraagu.com

A backlink campaign is at the heart of SEO, this is where other websites are featuring back links to your URL. The more backlinks you generate the higher up the rankings you feature. This is an indicator of legitimacy and quality. It also depends on the ranking of the site which features you, if they are more highly ranked the power of the link is greater. You need to consistently generate backlinks in order to retain a high ranking but as you are featured and referenced more frequently on other websites this becomes much easier.

Original, quality content

Producing quality content from professional copywriters is key; it is a good method for link building with other sites featuring this content and also improves the reputation and status of your site. You need to establish yourself as the expert and specialist in your specific field. Users often share quality blog posts and articles online, this becomes a key site for the development of your e-reputation. Other sites and forums will also reference your content if it adds value, thus generating more backlinks.

Guest blogging

Guest blogging can be a good way to forge links and receive backlinks from other sites, you need to pitch an idea and develop a relationship where you consistently deliver quality content, many blogs are always looking for guest posts as they add value to their own blog, it is a two way, mutual relationship. Research the most reputable blogs in relation to your field or area of expertise for maximum success. Who are you trying to attract and what is the readership of the blog like? 

Forum and review sites

Once you have established yourself as a top search result you need to cultivate a positive reputation on review websites and forums, these well established sites will also appear as a top result with reviews from users or consumers, it is natural for people to check for reviews so you need to work on your e-reputation, maximise positive threads and minimise negative ones. You do this via starting conversational threads and up-promoting positive comments. Review based marketing centred around specific keywords complements SEO and SEA well.

On-site optimization

optimization

Image Credit – sixteen-studio.com

I feel this element is always overlooked, you need to optimize the keywords on your site adding quality and correct meta descriptions for pages. The focus should be on your landing page but also don’t neglect to optimize your important pages providing information about your businesses and services. Web design is important for on-site visibility, well-structured back-end web development makes it infinitely easier to optimize your keywords clearly. Your site’s internal navigation, structure and content tags need to be crystal clear. Page titles should also link to keyword optimization.

To conclude, search engine marketing is a lucrative business which very effectively drives traffic and generates leads online, you need to invest time and money in putting together an effective strategic digital plan for your business online, don’t neglect social media but for the first step I would suggest focusing on your search engine visibility and reputation.

About the Author 

Benji is a digital marketing specialist based in Shanghai, China. He specializes in assisting western brands entering the Chinese market. For more information see his blog and website. 

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