If you run a blog or a small-business website, you’re probably handle online marketing yourself. If that’s the case, it’s important that you know about the different ways to promote your site and increase its visibility. This is essentially engine marketing (SEM). SEM encompasses the wide range of marketing practices that webmasters and marketers use to promote the visibility of a website on search engine results pages (SERPs). The majority of inbound traffic comes from links on SERPs, so where your site ranks goes a long way to determining its success. So what are the fundamentals of SEM?
Including keywords in the content and information on your site is the basic premise of search engine optimization (SEO), which is central to SEM. You want to embed as many relevant keywords as possible into the content and information on your site. To do so, you want to research the words and phrases that users are likely to include in their search inquiries. A good way to start to generate keywords is to think of the audience you are attempting to reach with your site and simply brainstorm keywords you think they’d use. But to really capitalize on keywords you should use keyword generators like SEMrush and Google Keyword Planner.
Imbedding keywords in the content on your site is only step one of SEO, you also want to include keywords in your website architecture and in other types of media content to maximize your site’s “crawlability.”Search engines use programs called bots, or spiders or crawlers that go around scanning all the content and code on websites so that they will appear on SERPs. Text and code are easy for bots, but they can’t index video or audio, which is valuable SEO content that is going to waste. That’s why it’s important to imbed transcripts of video and audio files or include subtitles or closed captions. Also make sure and use ALT tags for images and don’t use JPEGs or other image files or graphics that have text in them for your titles.
You also want to increase the visibility of your site so that it’ll be crawled. That’s why it’s important to ensure that other sites are linking to yours. While you can pay to have links on many sites, bots register the difference. You therefore want to ensure that you’re getting natural links that other webmasters include on their site because they think your content is relevant to their audience. The best way to go about getting other webmasters to link to your site is to include links to their site.
Bots and search engines have become incredibly advanced. They can determine the difference between original, “high-quality” content and computer-generated or “low-quality” content. If you are simply including keyword lists or have redundant posts with a few keywords changed, then your site’s search rankings will go down, not up. That’s why you want to ensure that you’re creating high-quality content that is original and that will be of use to your audience.
In addition to organic SEO, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a great way to quickly increase traffic to your site. PPC adverts are the sponsored links that often appear at the top or sides of SERPs. And, just like the name implies, you only pay for the clicks you get. Whereas organic rankings from SEO are viewed as more trustworthy by consumers, it can be hard to adjust SEO to changes in consumer behavior because it takes time for your pages’ rankings to develop. Since you’re paying for placement with PPC, you can adapt to changes much quicker.
While likes and recommendations on social media are not included in Google’s SERP rankings (they do influence Bing’s rankings some), social media can help your page rankings by increasing traffic to your site and boosting the circulation of your links on the internet. Also, it’s very likely that at some point Google will start incorporating social media information into their search engine algorithms, in which case it will benefit your site to already have a strong social media presence.
It’s also important to maintain your social media profiles, which are crawled just like your website and are often some of the top results in searches. That means continually posting new content and information on your social media profiles and responding to customer inquiries on your site. Social media profiles also humanize websites, increasing consumer trust and brand loyalty.