SEO and SEM – Building Trust, Relevance and Authority

Search engine algorithms change continuously, as do trends in social media and content marketing. This means that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) strategies must also evolve in order to stay effective. To rank well in organic search results, a website needs a strong and clear architecture, with relevant titles, keywords, and tags. Incremental changes over time are most effective, and should focus on proper use of URLs, title tags, meta descriptions, headers, subheads, phrases and terms. Search engines recognize when new content is added so it’s important to make ongoing updates.

Organic and Paid Search Strategies

The most effective way to attract customers who are seeking your business by name, or are looking for products or services in your industry, is to engage in a comprehensive search campaign that includes:

  • Organic search strategy – consists of continually adding relevant content, links, and sharing on social media
  • Paid search strategy – consists of paying to be placed at top in search results when users search for specific keywords

However, having only an organic search strategy may not produce the desired results. Have you ever noticed when searching a topic, that websites designated with “Ad” are listed first, above other sites? People used to avoid clicking on these, but now it’s become ubiquitous and almost expected, for virtually every industry and business size.

Landing within the coveted first few results listed used to happen by implementing organic search strategies. Over time, as pages got indexed, a website moved up in results. Now, paid search is the fastest way for a business to appear at the top of search results and attract qualified leads.

Search Ads: Cost and How To Implement

The key to getting qualified leads, the right customers, is setting up ads with precise keywords and targeting, then using metrics data to continually refine campaigns.

Here’s how it works: A user searches for something in Google, Bing or another search engine, and several results marked as “Ad” appear at the top. These ad campaigns are set up to attract people who search for specific terms related to the business and may be geo-targeted. The advertiser is charged a fee each time a user clicks on the ad (pay-per-click, PPC), but there’s no charge for the awareness built from many people seeing the ad without clicking on it (yet!).

Google Adwords is the most used search advertising platform, with ads appearing in standard Google searches and on partner sites. Once a user clicks on an ad, it’s important that the page they land on directly relates to content in the ad, also known as “Landing Pages”. Businesses who get the best ROI on their paid search investments give customers exactly what they were looking for in the initial search. Also important to boosting overall search rankings is that search engines notice pages where users stay because it indicates a useful, relevant page for that topic. Learn how having good content and landing pages plays a role in search marketing.

SEO and SEM Best Practices

Attracting new and returning prospects involves leveraging content and understanding how consumers search. Considerations also include the type of business, its industry and competitors, whether it’s strictly online, if it’s B2B or B2C, and several other factors. The Harris Web Works team includes experts in digital search techniques, trends and advertising who can help you sort through this complex arena to maximize your marketing activities.

January 22, 2024

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