Search engine marketing (SEM) remains one of the most important ways to generate traffic to your website. With SEM, you can choose between either search engine optimization (SEO) or pay per click marketing (PPC). Both of these techniques will require considerable planning, resources and budget. However, there are some basic SEM tricks that anyone involved in digital marketing should know about.

Search Engine Optimization

SEO is all about getting a high search engine results rank. Unlike PPC, which always requires a budget, some elements of SEO can be done at little or no cost. The result can also have a longer-lasting impact than paid advertising. But to make the most of SEO, there are activities that do need the budget – and probably the resources – of SEO professionals. 

Key Phrase Analysis

Key phrase analysis is an important first step towards SEO. This is due to how key phrase analysis will determine your search engine ranking. The Google AdWords Keyword Tool is a great help with this. It will tell you how many people search for the words or phrases you’re researching. It will also suggest alternatives you can use. Try using these key phrases in Google to see which of your competitors appear.

Using Key Phrases in Your Content

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The next SEO step is to match your online content with these key phrases. You need to make sure to use the most searched-for terms. Also make sure to use any relevant key phrases. This will help you capture as many visitors as possible. Picking the right key phrases is one of the most important factors for determining your search engine ranking. You should aim to use these key phrases in around 3-4% of your page’s content. This means that these words and phrases should appear no more than three or four times for every 100 words used. 

This may also mean that you need to create new pages to optimize them for specific key phrases. However, over-using keywords, what’s known as keyword stuffing, is bad. You must avoid this as much as possible as it can have a negative impact on page ranking.

You should also use key phrases in your page titles, headings, and bold text within the body copy. To do this, you might need to make changes to your template. Inbound and outbound links are also important for SEO since both can impact ranking in search engines. So a link-building strategy is important.

Inbound Links

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Inbound links are basically links from other sites that point to yours. A great way to achieve this is by having good quality content. You can also list your site in directories. Contact other site owners who may be interested in swapping links. 

Finally, you can try syndicating content, such as press releases, which contain your URL. Keep in mind that having inbound links from a few relevant websites with good page ranking is more important than links from many that don’t.

Outbound Links

By comparison, outbound links are links to other sites you include in your own content. SEO experts believe this helps you add value to visitors by giving them access to more information on the subject. Google will also rate your site more highly if it sees that a lot of users engage with it by clicking on the links.

Pay Per Click Marketing

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PPC marketing involves paid advertising on search engines. Google AdWords is a great tool for this. Although the tool itself is free to use, you might need a significant budget. This is because there is a cost involved every time a user clicks on one of your ads.

Like SEO, key phrase analysis is also the first step in PPC marketing. Here, you need to determine which words and phrases to bid on. Failure to do this effectively can result in ads appearing to the wrong target audiences. As a result, people who click on the ads will likely not convert. High performing key phrases can cost many dollars per click. So pay attention to lower volume but lower-cost words and phrases.

Setting realistic budgets is important at the start of PPC marketing. Tools such as Google AdWords allow users to set limits on how much money they want to bid. This can also impact your positioning. A key strategy that you can use is dayparting and hourly parting. This is where your ads only show during the hours or days when there is the most potential for clicks.

Equally important is ad creativity. Your ads should capture attention, achieve interest, develop a desire, and achieve action. You should use keywords in the headlines and body copy. The text should also be specific and include a call to action.

Review and Web Site Optimization

You should continuously review all your search engine marketing activities. This may mean further key phrase analysis or even changing your ad creatives. You should also ensure to properly optimize your website for converting visitors into customers. Otherwise, you will just be wasting money by generating a lot of traffic but few sales.