What is Search Engine Marketing?

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is the process of improving the ranking and increasing the visibility of a website in a search engine’s paid search results. This is different from Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) which is improving the ranking and increasing the visibility of a website in a search engine’s natural (organic) search results.

SEM can include paid keywords such as Google AdWords and other forms of direct payment to search engines and other firms to ensure high rankings for selected keywords.

Here is a quick checklist to consider before you commence an SEM campaign:

  • Do we have the expertise to manage an SEM program in-house?
  • If we are going to outsource SEM, how will we evaluate the supplier?
  • What keywords are important to us and are most likely to produce the highest quality traffic and conversions?
  • How will we cull and distill the long list of potential keywords into a concise, potent and manageable shortlist?
  • What are the current search frequency, demand, competition, pricing and value of our preferred keywords?
  • How will we manage the keyword bidding and budget?
  • Who will analyse and report on the effectiveness of our campaign?
  • Who will monitor and adjust the campaign as keyword effectiveness changes over time?
  • How will we track traffic and evaluate the success of the campaign?

What would you add to this list?

Contributor:

Michael Field, Managing Director for Michael Field Pty Ltd.

What is Search Engine Optimisation?

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving the ranking and increasing the visibility of a website in a search engine’s natural (organic) search results. This is different from Search Engine Marketing (SEM) which is paying for your website to rank on the first page for prescribed keywords.

SEO techniques can be classified into two broad categories:

White Hat

These are techniques that search engines recommend as part of good design and produce meaningful search results for consumers. These techniques include keyword rich copy, hyperlinks and user-friendly navigation. These techniques are Google-compliant and produce results based on relevance.

Black Hat

These are techniques that are designed to ‘game the system’ in the hope of producing a high page rank regardless of the search term. These techniques include link stuffing, keyword cloaking and hidden pages. These techniques are illegal/non-Google compliant and will result in the offending website being black-listed by Google – meaning your website would be lucky to be found on page *9,376 on your preferred search terms.

* Not an actual statistic but indicative of the severity of the punishment meted out by Google

Contributor:

Michael Field, Managing Director for Michael Field Pty Ltd.

What Dr Suess can teach us about Search Engine Optimisation

Dr Suess is an SEO expert

Who remembers escaping into the imaginary, nonsensical world of Dr Suess when they were young? As a child, I spent much of my time in my imagination- and one of my favourite book series that encouraged this was the Dr Suess classics- like Green Eggs and Ham, and The Cat in the Hat.

You’re probably wondering what on earth Dr Suess has to do with search engine optimisation (SEO). Bear with me.

His first, now classic children’s book, The Cat in the Hat, contains only 236 words. However because of the high repetition of keywords (although sometimes nonsensical), Suess achieved very high recall and recognition rates in young and old readers alike.

Here’s where the link to search engine optimisation (SEO) comes in. This example is a great metaphor for online copywriting (for search engine optimisation)- particularly when the objective is to achieve relevant, organic ranking in search engines, based on a specific palette of keywords.

Achieving effective search engine optimisation (SEO) is, in part, the judicious selection of keywords- then expertly crafting the copy to produce high-ranking results in search engine rankings.

With this in mind, it’s important to realise that copywriting for web content is not a set-and-forget strategy. Rather, it requires considerable up-front planning and strategic thought, prudent selection of keywords, and expert copywriting and narrative skills.

For effective search engine optimisation (SEO) copy, the objective of the copywriter should be to construct content that is keyword rich and attractive to search engines, that maintains a natural flow, and yet engages the reader’s interest… just like Dr Suess.

Contributor:

Michael Field, Director at Michael Field Pty Ltd.