Search engine marketing is becoming more and more of an influence within the way business is done on the internet. For the past several years, search engine optimization has been understood by the general public as something that runs in the background, behind the sites we know, love to visit, and trust. Taking it to the next level, specialists focus on highlighting particular websites within the results pages of particular queries by modifying the content strategically according to the algorithms of Google and other top engines. However, many marketers today admit that although they know of the importance of SEO, they need to hire others to develop optimization strategies for their company websites. Without a doubt, if marketers today continue to avoid learning the basics about the SEM jargon, techniques, and regulations involved in the process of bringing more traffic from search engines to their company, they will fail to understand and take advantage of a critical aspect of how their business generates profit.
Top Seven Terms Related to SEM
Beginning with the most fundamental concepts surrounding search engine marketing and by reviewing some of the most common terms used within this method, you will learn more about the way in which potential clients find your business and actually become customers-from discovery through search engine results pages, to that lead both online and in-store purchases, and eventually to measurable increases in company profits.
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM): this concept is defined as the method through which marketers increase traffic to specific websites. SEM is achieved through optimization of content, text, code, and URLs that bring a website higher within search engine results. The method includes pay-per-click listings as well.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): specifically covers the elements of placing keywords, links, and other elements strategically within high-quality written content. Search engines use algorithms to determine what websites are suggested when particular keywords are entered-so developing a text that users appreciate and trust that follows an optimal format can result in websites appearing towards the top of the searches performed by potential clients.
- Conversions: this term is used to indicate when users of website content-such as visitors perusing articles on a website, subscribers to free trials of products, podcast or blog fans-become customers who pay for services, products, or subscriptions instead of only utilizing free resources. Conversions are quantifiable and are incredibly useful in determining the success of your business' SEM strategies.
- Landing Page: the place where first-time visitors to your website will end up by clicking a link or performing a search for particular keywords on a search engine. These pages are designed to provide the necessary information to attract and retain new customers and followers of your business.
- Search Friendly URL: by having a URL for each page that is rich in keywords and is strategically designed to perfectly encapsulate the information you aim to bring to your customer, you will appear closer to the top of search engine results for the terms and services that match those of your business.
- Lead Generation: gaining leads-new users and followers of your website and business-requires attraction of clients prior to conversion from non-paying to paying customers. Customers don't want to be bombarded with spam or unnecessary promotional materials and are seeking proof that your products and services will be of the highest quality. What better way to grab new leads than give away great tutorials, downloadable free trials, and helpful written advice to potential customers? You might be surprised how many new sales will be generated through counterintuitive methods of lead generation.
- Pay-Per-Click (PPC): this method is fairly straightforward, as a company will pay for each click on their advertisements that are placed on websites or within search engines. These advertisements lead customers to strategically-designed landing pages, which are created in order to lead potential clients to making a purchase.
Putting Your Knowledge into Action: Expertise vs. Efficiency
As the infographic below demonstrates, no two search engine optimization techniques are created equal: some techniques are far more efficient and effective than others, but often at the expense of abusing the ethics of the search engine policies.
When considering how to use the techniques and tools you've learned about through this search engine marketing jargon crash course, decide what kinds of results you aim to achieve through your chosen techniques. If you're looking for short-term increases in traffic, you might incorporate the use of "black hat" techniques-stuffing your text with keywords and key phrases, hiding keyword-saturated text through fonts or font size, and concealing keywords beyond the margins of the visible page. However, such questionable methodology might lead to being banned by search engines or downgraded in the long term. For most companies, such a risk isn't worth it-using "white hat" search engine marketing techniques will produce long lasting, reliable results in a more ethical manner. Aim for high-quality content with a few important keywords, located on a strategically-designed landing page with a search-friendly URL.