Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Search Engine Marketing Increases Your Website's Exposure

by Julie Ann Ross

Search engine marketing (SEM) is a fundamental strategy that improves a website's visibility in major search engines. It does so on multiple fronts, using both organic and paid optimization techniques to drive targeted traffic to your site. Without keyword research and honing in on your target market, your site may get many worthless visits as consumers are led to your site even though it does not offer what they are searching for. Without search engine marketing, a business website could easily become a veritable billboard in the desert. Regardless of its design or aesthetic appeal, few people would see it.

You can use SEM techniques to sharply increase your company's exposure within your market. The strategy is complex and must be deployed carefully to generate lasting results. When combined with SEO and social media optimization (SMO), search engine marketing represents a cost-effective way to reach your audience, drive them to your site, and convert them into loyal customers.

Organic Rankings Through Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) focuses primarily on lifting your web pages to the top organic listings for your chosen keywords. By using both on-site and off-site optimization techniques, you can gradually improve your position for the phrases your audience uses. SEO is an important cog in your search engine marketing campaign. By appearing higher in the organic listings, your website will attract a larger volume of targeted visitors.

There are many areas within SEO that you can focus upon in order to gain higher rankings and enjoy better exposure. For example, local search emphasizes ranking for keywords with a geo-specific rider. The key is to integrate your optimization tactics within the broader scope of your SEM campaign.

The Role Of PPC In Search Engine Marketing

Pay per click (PPC) advertising is another critical component of search engine marketing. While SEO focuses on ranking your website within the search engines' organic listings, PPC does so in the sponsored listings. By bidding on optimal keywords, you can show your ad to only the most targeted audience.

One of the advantages of pay per click advertising over search engine optimization is that it can drive traffic to your website immediately. By contrast, SEO takes time. High organic rankings will deliver powerful results, but those rankings are achieved gradually. While your SEO campaign is gaining momentum, your PPC campaign can begin driving a positive ROI almost instantly.

Search Engine Marketing: Paying For Inclusion

In many industries, search engine marketing should also include paying for inclusion in relevant directories. This is especially true in competitive spaces where PPC bids are outrageously high and top organic rankings are controlled by authoritative sites. By paying for inclusion in directories that enjoy high traffic and top organic listings, you can further increase your company's exposure.

Not all directories are created equal. Some enjoy more traffic and authoritative ranking power than others. A search engine marketing specialist will be able to find the appropriate directories for your particular industry.

Social Media Marketing: Reaching The Influencers

Social media optimization is not technically a part of search engine marketing, but it is a potent strategy for reaching your audience and building your company's brand. The strategy leverages communities and the people who influence them. Websites such as Facebook and Twitter have become phenomenal traffic magnets because they encourage interaction among their users. Each person is part of an interactive social network. By using social media marketing tactics, you can reach the influencers within those networks to generate traffic, publicity, and sales.

Tracking Your Search Engine Marketing Results

The results of your search engine marketing efforts are measurable. Your website's positions in the organic listings for your main keywords can be easily evaluated. The positions of your Pay Per Click ads can be gauged. The traffic volume those positions drive to your site can be tracked. On-site conversions can be calculated based on the keywords your visitors used to find you. This is the core advantage of search engine marketing. You can use an analytics package to track your data and calculate an ROI.

There has never been a better time to explore the power of a honed search engine marketing campaign. It can improve the exposure of your website and drive targeted traffic to it. By using a multi-pronged approach that simultaneously leverages both organic and paid listings, search engine marketing can expand your sales and your customer base.

About the Author

Rostin Reagor Smith is on the cutting edge of SEM and SEO. Combining Social Media Optimization with more traditional SEO and SEM methods, RRS is a consulting firm specializing in enhancing clients' online presence and managing their public relations online. SEO, SEM and ORM (Online Reputation Management) are combined in this successful formula that has been developed over the last 10 years. http://www.RostinReagorSmith.com