People often confuse the terms SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) with SEM (Search Engine Marketing).
SEO is the principal subject of this blog post and describes the processes which need to be put in place to enhance the chances of your website being found in organic (normal) search engine listings when your key search terms are used. This generally involves making changes to your website and also developing great inbound links to your website. Your website developer should build some good basic SEO into your website, but this area develops all the time and so it is wise to allocate at least some of your ongoing budgets to this activity.
SEM (also known as Pay-per-click, or PPC) generally means paying Search Engines to show your website details to search engine users as part of what are usually called ‘Sponsored Listings’. Your position in these sponsored listings generally depends on the price you pay for each click, your adverts’ overall success rate, and the relevance of your chosen keywords to the term being searched for.
SEO generally takes some time to start reaping benefits, and so many website owners choose SEM as an early-stage marketing tool to bring visitors to their websites while the SEO is gaining momentum. Once your website is gaining sufficient traffic from your SEO efforts, you might want to scale down (or stop) your SEM. Search Marketing may still have a place in your marketing strategy – for example, to boost traffic when you are running special promotions, or when you have launched a new product or service.
I do use Google Adwords on my own business from time to time, and I also create and manage pay-per-click campaigns on behalf of other clients. It doesn’t always work in terms of ROI (although it always delivers additional traffic), and it is important to be open with clients about this, but the good thing is these campaigns can be easily controlled and so it could be worth investing a little marketing budget to see if it can work for you. Get in touch if you want yours professionally managed!
I have just imported an old Adwords hints and tips blog that I used to run on Blogger. A lot of the old posts are still relevant so it’s worth a look… Google Adwords Hints and Tips.