What is Search Engine Optimization?
Search engine optimization (or SEO) is the process of ranking organic results in search engines. The goal is to have your website and your results listed higher up in search results and to increase site traffic. SEO works through four easy steps: content creation, crawling, indexing, and ranking. Through these four steps, the search engine will determine how your site is displayed within its search results.
Step One: Content Creation
- This step is entirely within the control of the site owner. Here, the site owner will create content using strategies to increase page views, and make sure that the content and copy on each site page are purposeful and relevant to the audience that they are trying to reach.
Step Two: Crawling
- This next step is where the search engine itself steps in. Search engine bots will review, or “crawl” web pages, and gather relevant information and key phrases within the website’s content. This is why it is so essential to make sure that the content and copy on each site page are intentional and relevant.
Step Three: Indexing
- After reviewing and gathering keywords and keyphrases for each site page, the search engine bots will then store this information in an index to reference and apply to future user searches.
Step Four: Ranking
- Finally, after going over the index of information created, then the search engine’s algorithm will then decide the placement of each website on a search engine results page based on how relevant the website is ranked- due to the relevancy of the copy and content of the site.
Some benefits of utilizing SEO are that it makes your website more visible, and increases traffic to your website. Not only that, SEO increases the quality of traffic to your website, as the people visiting your site are the ones that are actively searching keywords connected to your site content. This means that good SEO can turn website visitors into leads. In addition, SEO allows you to become more conscious of your brand, and is a valuable tool for brand awareness and creating purposeful content.
What is Search Engine Marketing?
Search engine marketing is very similar to SEO- with a couple of key differences. The main difference between SEO and search engine marketing (SEM) is that while SEO only focuses on organic search results- SEM drives traffic to your site via paid results. When using SEM, you also are able to supply your own keywords and phrases that the algorithm will use to rank your website on search engines. SEM Content is created with three key components: written copy, ad creation, and audience searches.
Step One: Written Copy
- For SEM copy, you create the list of keywords yourself instead of search engine bots combing through your website content. These keywords will allow you to control how your website is perceived by search engines, and you can tailor search engine results to target more specific audiences.
Step Two: Ad creation
- When creating SEM ads, you are able to write both the headlines and descriptions that will be displayed on your search result ads. This again gives you more say and control over what information and part of your brand are shown to your specific audience.
Step three: Audience searches
- When it comes to SEM, it is important to have a strong sense of who your audience is, and who you are trying to reach. If you have a clear idea of who you are targeting and why then it will be easier to create strategic keywords and SEM ads that are the most effective.
Some benefits of using SEM are that it increases the brand awareness and visibility of your organization’s site, and is an incredibly affordable way to advertise your business. SEM also delivers faster results than other forms of digital marketing. In addition, SEM allows you to target your audience based on location, to ensure you are taking advantage of a specific audience or customer base.
SEM is also intent-based marketing, which means that people are most likely already searching for your organization or the things that your organization provides. If your organization is not highly ranked SEO-wise, then SEM can help put you at the top/add to organic results or any other channel. From a cross-channel perspective, people may see your ad elsewhere and search for your company, products, or services.
Benefits of Utilizing Both
While SEO and SEM are both very similar- the most considerable benefits for an organization come from leveraging both. When you use both strategies, SEO lays the foundation in order to convert and retain your audience and customers generated by SEM ads. Some more specific benefits include:
Increased visibility and brand awareness
- When you combine both SEO and SEM, you are able to give your site a higher ranking on search engine results, which in turn creates more organic visibility and organic interactions.
Allows for smarter and more accurate targeting
- This combination allows you to reach your target audience by reaching the people who will respond to your ads the best, or interact with them the most.
Increased efficiency and effectiveness
- It is important to send the right message to the right audience in the most efficient way - by increasing visibility to targeted audiences. Because SEO and SEM allow you to reach your target audience or the right audience, more substantial leads are generated.