Have you wondered how Google identifies what, why, when, and how customers want something? If you are a service provider, you must wonder what it takes to rank on Google or any other search engine?
To rank on the first page of any search engine, you need to have basic and advanced knowledge of search marketing. Thus, in this article, we introduce you to search marketing and how you can incorporate it into your business.
By the end of this article, you will be well-versed with search marketing and its types. You will also gain insights into which kind of marketing best suits your business.
Introduction to Search Marketing
Search marketing is marketing services availed to generate traffic and increase the visibility of businesses through paid or unpaid methods.
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization): sculpting your website to increase visibility through free listings in Google, Bing, or other search engines.
- SEM (Search Engine Marketing): Paying a search engine to display relevant ads to target audiences.
About 80% of buyers research online before buying a product/service. in addition, 40% of buyers convert directly if your website ranks on the first page of the search engine. Thus, search marketing is an essential service.
This marketing strategy has the option of paid and unpaid marketing to increase your web presence. Once you understand the working of these two strategies, it becomes easier to decide which one or the combination suits you the best.
Search marketing encompasses SEO and SEM.
SEO is searching and ranking on a search engine listing based on an organic keyword search.
SEM is paying a search engine to rank for your keywords. Then display your services to the target audience, aka pay-per-click advertising. You need to have the core knowledge of these practices before incorporating these search marketing services into your marketing plans. Hence, we will discuss both of these in detail.
Search Marketing and Search Engine Marketing: Same or Different?
First, le us tell you the difference between search marketing and search engine marketing. Search marketing is a term that encompasses both SEO and SEM services, whereas Search Engine Marketing provides only SEM services.
Search marketing uses SEO (unpaid strategy) and SEM (paid strategy)
Search engine marketing uses only SEM (paid strategy), which is also search engine advertising.
Thus, remember that if you opt for search engine marketing, you only use the SEM strategy to advertise, which is compulsorily a paid one. The search engine advertising works on the strategy of PPC and CPC. Thus, be very specific when you design your digital marketing plan
For a better understanding, refer to the table below:
All You Should Know about Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Before diving deep into the study, let us briefly describe how Google or any other search engine ranks your website. We would consider the working of Google in this matter as it contributes to 65% of searches globally.
Remember Phillip Frost's words, ’Successful SEO is not about tricking Google. It's about Partnering with Google to provide the best search results for Google users.`
Google wants to maintain its search quality by displaying relevant content and delivering quality. It sends crawlers to websites that read the website and determine its relevance to the search. This relevancy is determined based on quality content, keywords, trustable links, and other ranking factors or signals. It is the basic working of Google behind ranking its search pages.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It means optimizing each element of your website that assists Google in understanding your site’s relevancy and expertise for the searched subject. This means using relevant keywords and headings and building the best quality content. These factors help rank better in search engine result pages (SERPs).
SEO requires more than keyword research. It requires quality content, a responsive and updated website, and a comprehensive strategy of its three types to stay on top of SERPs. But Google has some pre-defined guidelines to be followed, which means if the website is not optimized for crawlers or users, the ranking process can be delayed. Thus, it is essential to make your website visible and indexed for the crawler.
You can track your website performance on the Google Analytics tool. It is free to use and provides essential insights about the audience who visit and interact with your website.
Once you gain insight into how on-page, off-page SEO, and technical SEO works, keeping ahead of the competitors is an easy task!
How SEO Works to Improve Your Website Ranking
First of all, let us clarify that an SEO campaign is not just about keyword strategy. Instead, it comprises website speed, keyword density, quality content, and knowledge about the target audience.
All the above factors should be the best quality to increase visibility, conversions, and revenue.
Ranking on Google is all about delivering relevant content to the target audience at the right time.
Let us consider this example for a better understanding.
If someone searches for B2B marketing strategies for 2021, Google automatically lists the sites that have content related to B2B marketing strategies published or updated in 2021.
Another example of a B2B SEO strategy is Canva. This platform lets you create brochures and banners for social media and other platforms. Canva utilizes search terms such as ‘banner for Facebook,’ ‘social media templates,' ‘free social media templates, etc. Thus Canva knows its audience and delivers exactly what they are looking for by using the right keywords, tools, and content. This is a successful working of search engine optimization services.
Now how does Google do that? How does it list the most relevant content?
To enlist the most relevant content, Google has algorithms designed based on the significant 3 SEO factors. These three factors help Google crawler navigate to the most relevant content while adhering to the guidelines defined by the search engine.
The three factors are:
- On-Page SEO
- Off-Page SEO
- Technical SEO
On-page SEO is optimizing all the SEO-related elements of the page. These include blogs, articles, service pages, products pages, etc. It also includes appropriate keywords, heading formats (H1 to H6), internal links, image alt tags, meta properties, keyword density, etc. Check the complete list on the on-page SEO checklist.
One trick for crawlers to relate to your content is to use keywords in titles, headings, and meta descriptions. It is a foolproof and proven methodology to improve your ranking.
Off-page SEO is the significance of your business presence on various platforms other than your website. The best example is backlinks. Links to your website from various trustable sites.)
Your website attracts an audience when trustable, relevant, and reputable sites link to your website. Remember, linking is one of the dominant factors in improving your rankings. Besides linking, social media marketing, guest blogging, and brand building also make up for off-page SEO.
It is essential to understand the metrics to be followed to get quality backlinks with minimum spam scores to build an excellent Off-page SEO strategy.
Technical SEO is all about making your website more responsive to Google and users. Resolving significant issues available for the complete site and doing technical changes in your website to rank better
These include fixing issues like indexing, website loading speed, website server, 404 error, security certificates, responsiveness, mobile-friendly, etc. When this complete technical SEO checklist is corrected, the crawler can easily find your site and index it.
Why Is SEO worth the Wait?
SEO takes up precisely 3 to 6 months to work, but it is free. Thus, it is worth the wait to strategize SEO correctly for your business. This strategy gets you conversions, attracts the right audience, and ranks first with zero investment. Moreover, it will give you good returns in the long run.
Consider the below example.
We have provided an analysis of the Amazon website in accordance with AHREF.
The metric “Traffic Value,” highlighted in Red, is the costs they have saved by ranking organically.
So Amazon just saved a whopping $526M by ranking organically!
Trending SEO Tools
The above information must have surely got you thinking about researching keywords, seeing rankings, knowing the analytics, and strategizing search marketing?
Thus, we have enlisted the best SEO tools for beginners to help your search engine optimization strategy. These tools are free or have free trial versions to experiment with. You need to test which one suits your business the best.
Google Search Console
The Google search console communicates with the crawler. It provides you with first-hand information on how crawlers interact with your site. Thus it is the best tool to determine indexed pages and check penalties. In addition, this tool lets you examine and report about your website Google SERPs.
You will have a detailed analysis of the performance of your website and the improvement it requires. This is the best free tool provided by Google to control what gets indexed on your website.
Google Analytics allows you to see how many visitors your website had, their interaction on the site, their time, the pages they liked, and more. It also analyzes the user and provides insights about the user like location, gender, the technology used, and more. As a result, you can track conversions and revenue by utilizing a goal-setting option.
This tool provides a free analysis of your website with complete analytics and statistics. It has all the analytical tools required for SEO analysis and marketing purposes. It provides the best digital analysis of SEO for your business.
It is one of the best SEO analysis tools. It crawls through your website and gives all the information required for a better ranking. For example, Ahrefs is one tool that informs you if there are sites of your niche that have linked to your competitor’s websites but not yours. Thus, you can design a strategy to increase your linking and increase your brand value.
It also informs you about the best and the least ranking pages, which pages are attracting the audience, competitor backlinks, and broken links on your website (if any).
This tool is best used to keep an eye on the competitor’s websites and understand the strategies you need to implement to surpass them.
This SEO analysis tool works at the speed of lighting. It provides all the necessary insights to improvise your website. It crawls competitors’ websites and suggests actionable ideas. This tool tells you everything for duplicate content, missing title tags, broken links, etc. The SEO audit provided by this tool is like no other. It is one of the most used tools by industry experts for SEO analysis.
This tool allows you to compare your website with your competitor’s website with indexing. in Addition, the On-Page SEO checker tool allows you to check your page rankings and recommendations for improving its performance. If you are looking for a tool that provides precise competitor comparisons of keywords, traffic, and domains, this is the best tool.
This tool provides an in-depth SEO analysis of your and your competitors’ websites. SpyFu allows you to know the keywords your competitors are using and which ones are performing the best. It also provides an insight into the most used keyword of your target audience. This is a paid tool, but the free version has impeccable features.
This tool provides the best suggestions for long-tail keywords. Its analysis of website metrics is prompt and accurate. It provides competitor domain analysis and has a huge keyword database for specific targeting. This tool helps you to attract visitors by recommending low-competition but high-performing keywords.
These tools make you understand the working of SEO in ranking and conversions. So give them a try, have patience and see your sales graph soar with this search marketing strategy.
Why Incorporate SEO as a Marketing Strategy?
Now that you have all the required information about SEO, we will let you know the importance of SEO as a marketing strategy.
Apart from creating a marketing funnel, an SEO marketing strategy helps your customers find you easily. Moreover, the incorporation of B2B SEO strategies helps build a brand value and sustain it.
Some of the advantages of incorporating SEO as a marketing strategy are;
- Increase visibility and rank higher
- Increased authority and trust of your website
- Seamless and positive customer experience
- Increased ROI
All You Should Know about SEM
In simple words, Search Engine Marketing is paid marketing to rank in SERPs. It also helps to increase visibility and reach the target audience.
SEM is also known as search engine advertising, paid search, or pay-per-click service (PPC).
You pay for these ads to display on the search pages. These ads appear on the top or bottom of the search pages, depending on ad settings.
SEM strategies are successful paid search marketing options. It is more successful than SEO because instead of playing the guessing game, you use many keywords to target the appropriate set of audiences. As a result, it has more potential as it targets the audience and gives them exactly what they are looking for.
Important components for successful SEM strategy
Keywords form an essential component of SEM and SEO. But when you are utilizing PPC, every click matters. Thus, be very precise and accurate in using keywords.
Let us assume that you own a business generating the best HRIS system for MNCs. So the target audience is the company's HR department. Thus, to target them, you need to understand their pain points and think about what solutions they are looking for.
So the ideal keywords can be ‘HRIS software,' ‘payroll software,' ‘best HRIS system’ etc.
Hence, put in all the efforts to research the right keywords and keep an eye on the competitors’ keywords. You gain insights into the keywords performing well, better and best, only when your ad is published. Thus, update them regularly.
There are several ways in which you can create a funnel in your keyword target plan. This includes keyword selection for broad match, phrase match, exact match, and negative keywords. While targeting keywords, you need to understand that every keyword has its functions, limitations, and advantages. So the better you understand the keywords, the more accurate the process will be.
Now, the SEM campaign has two essential parts bidding and setting a budget. If you are a beginner, the bidding process may seem complicated, but it gets easier once you get adapted to its ways. So start with the minimum bid and fewer budgets. And be assured that they will never charge you for more than your assigned monthly budget.
Also, remember that the highest bid does not necessarily mean that your ad appears on the search pages. Every search engine determines the placements on various factors such as ad quality, relevance, bid, etc. Hence, be well-versed with the strategy of search engines when you opt for SEM.
Here are some tips for a successful bidding process.
- Plan your monthly budget.
- Keep inclined towards Google suggestions.
- Invest by a defined budget and calculate the risk involved.
- Go for an automated bidding process only once you have a hold of how the bidding system works.
- Optimize your bidding strategy according to the changing market.
The bidding process may seem like a daunting task, but it is not. It takes time to grasp. But once you get hold of it, bidding automation processes take care of your ad business.
You also need to make sure to compose the best ad copy with the correct number of characters. Always remember it clicks better with the audience when you convey ideas in minimum words.
When we talk about the best SEM campaign, every element needs to be optimized for accurate targeting.
For example, analyze the geographical locations and target the area with a higher number of potential users. This is known as location targeting. Once this is done, you can optimize other campaign elements like the time to display the ads, target audience, format, specific days, and more.
The table will simplify on how SEM targeting components look like:
Ranking in paid ads is not only about paying high bids. You also need to focus on your landing page relevancy, ad quality, and relevancy of ad copies.
How Successful Is SEM Investment?
Paid advertising does take time but not as long as SEO. So, do not quit if your ROI is not great. Statistics say that 95% of sales can be generated from Google AdWords if you use relevant keywords and have a quality bid. So stay firm and patient!
SEM guarantees success if you work efficiently towards this marketing practice. For the success of a paid advertisement, you should keep the following factors in mind.
- Assign a dedicated budget.
- Optimize your website.
- Have a compelling Ad copy.
- Follow intelligent keyword research
- Do not get confused with the infinite options of the SEM interface.
Begin with a basic understanding of your target audience and use keywords accordingly. Then, give the ads some time to increase your ROI.
Trending SEM Tools
If you are unable to understand the working of SEM, help is available. There are trending SEM tools that assist in search keywords, set a budget, run campaigns, automate bidding processes, and forecast results.
Here are some trending SEM tools to help you achieve your marketing targets.
Google Ads Editor
You can download this app and make changes to your website from anywhere for free. You can make changes in multiple ads by handling multiple accounts, all in one place! In addition, you can make offline changes and upload the changes whenever the internet permits.
This tool provides you with in-depth insights into everything that is needed to have a successful ad campaign. SEMRush also gives you access to the competitors' keywords with reasoning why they are performing the best. This tool assists you in providing the best bidding options for appropriate keywords.
As the name suggests, Google Trends allows you to decide which keywords are trending based on the profile, location, and time. It is an effective tool in choosing the keywords to be used. It also enlists the negative or non-trending keywords, which helps you to save time and money.
Google Ads Keyword Planner
It is an all-in-one help tool designed by Google. It assists in using the right keywords and the number of bids you should place on it. If your ads are going to appear on Google, then this is the go-to tool. It also lets you start your ad campaign within the tool.
Google Analytics is a handy tool for SEM services, too. You can navigate to the backend and go to acquisition>campaign>keywords>paid. This will provide you with all the variations of the keywords you are using and information about their performance.
Jargons in Search Marketing That You Should Be Aware Of
There are some terms that you should know by heart while implementing search marketing as a sales strategy. These terms help you understand your journey and save time while filling forms for SEO and SEM campaigns.
- SEO: Search Engine Optimization
- SEM: Search Engine Marketing
- PPC: Pay Per Click
- Traffic: People who visit your website
- Leads: People most likely to become your customers
- SERPs: Search Engine Result Pages
- CPC: Cost Per Click
- Bid: Amount you pay for a click on your ad
- Short Tail Keywords: One or two search words
- Long Tail Keywords: Three or more search words
- Organic Search: Unpaid search ranked according to the relevance of keywords.
To Sum It All Up
Search marketing, or search engine marketing, is one of the most flexible and unique ways of marketing. It helps you to reach your target audience with minimal effort. Once you know the process, a few clicks, changes, and updates will help you achieve your targets. The investment of time and resources in search marketing has guaranteed successful ROI.
Some businesses rely solely on search marketing for revenue generation. And these businesses have learned the tips and tricks to stay ahead in organic and paid result searches. Thus initially, it may seem time-consuming and complex, but it gets quick and easy after a few practice times.
Marketing is reaching out to a large audience and analyzing your target buyers. But search marketing is the funnel that ensures your target buyers reach you with minimal effort!
We would end with Marc Ostrofsky’s wise words, 'Search engine marketing and search engine optimization are critically important to online business. You can spend every penny on a website, but it will all be for nothing if nobody knows your site is there.'
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What does search marketing strategy mean?
Search marketing strategy incorporates SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) in your marketing plans. It helps you optimize your online presence and lets your target audience reach you easily through paid advertising and organic searches.
2. What is the primary difference between SEM and SEO?
SEO is improving visibility and optimizing the website to generate traffic from solely organic searches. On the other hand, SEM is attracting traffic and visibility through both organic and paid advertising.
3. Which search marketing strategy is better: SEO or SEM?
SEM shows visible results and generates traffic quicker than SEO, but it is a paid service. Whereas SEO generates traffic and lets your pages rank higher for free. But SEO may take 3 to 6 months to show visible results. So, implement a strategy that works the best for your business. You can opt for either one or both of them.