There are two ways to move up in search engine results, SEO and SEM.
Search Engine Marketing – we call this renting search engine results. These are the pay-per-click ad links that you see at the top and off to the side on search engine result listings. You’ll also see ads appears on websites you visit, these are part of SEM programs as well. A business can setup and manage their own paid search engine marketing, or have a professional firm help them set up and manage their paid ads. **Be sure you’re not locked into a long term contract or forced to keep a minimum budget with the firm that is managing your SEO ad account. If a firm requires this, seek another firm.
SEM costs per-click, every click. If you contact the ad dealers, you can often obtain some free credits to help ease you into pay-per-click ads. Yes, most consumers are immune to the little yellow “Sponsored” boxes next to the paid ads. But keep in mind many consumers can also be frustrated when they click on these paid ad links because sometimes too broad of a search term was used to create the ad and its not really related to what the consumer was searching for. This wastes the paid advertiser’s money for the click and the user’s time.
Apple Brings a New Way to Search
Apple heard the moans and groans of search engine users dealing with having to scroll past paid advertisements in Google and answered with “Spotlight”. Apple is throwing its hat in the search engine ring with its “Spotlight” search product. If you own an Apple device you’re already using Apple’s search tool and helping it grow at a pace of 3% per quarter. Apple takes search one step further and looks through the content on all sorts of online tools such as Wikepedia, maps, your email and Apps.
Search Engine Optimization – we call this building your search engine results, it takes time and planning, but time and time again SEO work has shown to be worth it for our clients. SEO is our favorite ways to move up in search engine results. If you stop putting money into SEM, your ads no longer appear. If you ease back on your SEO work, though, your website won’t just disappear from the search engine results. SEO requires creating and managing appropriate content and keywords on your website to naturally get attention from search engines, hence building your world wide web presence.
Search engines are constantly changing the way they rank websites and how much information they’re willing to share about what users are typing in to to find your website. As Moz recently admitted, “we can’t do keyword research like we used to do it.” Google shut the door to showing what keywords led visitors to websites last year and Bing is in the process of shutting the door on keyword reports this summer. This makes it even more important to work with an experienced agency to manage your search engine optimization so that your website will appear on the first page of search engine results.
Recipe for Success
We often recommend a mix of search engine optimization and search engine marketing to our clients. The SEM ads will drive immediate traffic to a website while we work on the SEO, which generally takes six-months of three to five hours a month to see results and witness a website moving up in search engine results. Once the SEO kicks in, the SEM ad budgets can be throttled back while maintaining the cheaper SEO maintenance plans.
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