Search Engine Marketing & Optimization

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is the process that allows your website/brand to appear imageson major search engines when end users type in certain key words and phrases. The two main approaches of SEM are Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Paid Per Click (PPC)Search. Over the past few years, SEO has become a popular way for any business to increase their online presence at minimal cost.

Google’s Search Engine Optimization Guide is a great way to learn about the important factors one must consider for traffic acquisition using SEO. The following are some elements highlighted by Google that should be considered when a new business is beginning to drive traffic to its online presence using search engine marketing/optimization techniques.

Domain Name

Google tends to display websites on its pages if the keyword(s) typed in by a user matches the domain name. For the effectiveness of SEO, it is crucial to have a domain name that is generic, but at the same time, defining its own brand. In many cases, taking an industry-related word and adding a term associated with your brand will allow you to generate website traffic.

However, online training site and resource provider SEOBook notes that sometimes it can also be beneficial to leave a keyword out of your domain name. The market is heavily saturated with many brands/domains using the same (or very similar) keywords and therefore, being unique and having a domain not containing a keyword can sometimes stand out in this case.

The online airline/ticketing community Travelocity is a great example of an effective, branded domain name. It combines the words ‘travel’ and ‘city’ in the brand name and ranks highly in a keyword search. Concurrently, Kayak is an example of another big player in the interest travel/ticket providers and shows how not using a keyword can actually help users to recognize site content based on the uniqueness (and simplicity) of the domain name.

Content

Regardless of the strategies used to generate website traffic and awareness, content still remains king. If the content on the landing page is not relevant to the target audience, SEO or SEM will fail. Be sure to include relevant, up-to-date content on your website. It is important that the landing page/website has the following attributes:

  • Quality
  • Research
  • Engagement
  • Freshness

Keywords

Keywords are individual words or queries that users type into search engines to find information. Keyword research is the process of identifying the words and phrases that the target market uses to find products or services defined within the categories on search engines. The following are the attributes businesses look for in a keyword or keyword phrases:

  • Relevancy to business goals
  • Sufficient search volume
  • Low/moderate competition
  • Legal compliance
  • Content that “fits”
  • Strong potential for conversion

Title Tags

Similar to a chapter title in a book, a title tag in a website is a unique identifier for each page of the site. It is a part of <head> in the HTML code. It tells your user what your website is about in the heading. If your title tag matches the keyword search in a search engine, it will be displayed to the user. Below are the factors that the business owner should consider before selecting the title tag for individual pages within your entire site:

  • Length
  • Keyword placement
  • Keyword separation
  • Company name
  • Relevancy

Be sure to accurately describe the page’s content in the title tag and use brief, descriptive titles. Lengthy, complicated title tags are not as easily found in SEO and can be confusing to the end user.

To learn more about SEO as presented by Google, please visit:

Google: http://static.googleusercontent.com/external_content/untrusted_dlcp/www.google.com/en/us/webmasters/docs/search-engine-optimization-starter-guide.pdf

SEOmoz: http://www.seomoz.org/learn-seo/domain

SEOBook: http://www.seobook.com/how-choose-great-domain-names

Feel free to share with us your thoughts on SEO/SEM or other strategies that you may have used to increase the effectiveness of your website.

Thanks for reading, and until next time… stay WISE!

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