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How to get the most out of SEO and SEM

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Search engine optimisation (SEO) covers a wide range of techniques, all designed to help people find your website when they’re searching for your products, services or information. Search engine marketing (SEM), where your pay for advertisements that appear when people search using certain keywords, is another way to get noticed on search results.

 

Nothing beats good content

While there’s much you can do to improve your website’s search engine ranking, nothing beats having good, informative content on your website that’s written for humans and makes powerful use of keywords.

 

So what are keywords?

When you’re creating a website or online ad, one of the first jobs is to identify and prioritise the words your audiences are most likely using when searching for your products, services or information. These are called your keywords and your website or online ad content must include them.

 

How do you identify your best keywords?

This identification usually involves continuous trial and error. There are some free tools available, such as the basic Keyword Tool, the more powerful Google Trends and, if you have a Google AdWords account, the Google Keyword Planner. Paid keyword research tools are also available.

 

Part of the art is estimating competition for your keywords and trialling both broad and specific terms. If you sell quality handmade leaf rakes, you might get people to your site with a term like ‘garden tools’ but they may not buy because they’re just browsing or they’re not looking for your type of garden tool. Using a less popular term like ‘strong leaf rake’ – especially for your paid AdWords – might cost you less and result in more sales because it’s more specific and people are searching for it.

 

Where do you use keywords?

Your list of top keywords should be used to help structure your website and its content, and be distributed across relevant territories, such as:

 

  • Page title links and descriptions in search engine results
  • Page or online ad titles
  • Subheadings on pages
  • Text links on pages
  • Image titles and alt text

 

Don’t try ‘keyword stuffing’ where you add your keywords everywhere possible. Google’s algorithms can spot this trick and you want your content to flow naturally. Think about writing for humans, with the aim to excite, inform and educate.

 

Why is search engine marketing important?

Placing ads on search engine results pages can help get your business to the top of these pages. Ads are:

 

  • Easy to set up
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Easily targeted using all sorts of criteria
  • Presented to people searching to buy
  • Very measurable
  • An easy way to test different keywords

 

How do you set up search engine ads?

Running search engine ads, like Google Adwords, is surprisingly easy and you have full control over your spend. Start with a small budget, have some fun and learn from there. Google leads you through step-by-step and provides plenty of online help for all levels. If you need instant success, consider contacting a specialist.

 

Plan out your whole digital marketing plan with handy templates

Want an easy template to help with your digital campaigns? We’ve created 5 useful marketing templates including one for you to incorporate SEO and SEM into your overall marketing plan. Download it now: 5 Templates to Drive Marketing Success.

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