Get to the top of Google: decoding the difference between SEO & SEM

You want your website to get to the top of the search engine results so more potential customers can find you online. But wait – do you need to start with SEO or SEM? And what’s the difference? Where does PPC come in? And what’s with all the acronyms, anyways?

Wading through the technical terms can seem daunting, but never fear. We can help  decode the mysteries.

SEM (Search Engine Marketing)

Your strategy for getting to the top of Google.

Simply put, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is your big-picture strategy for how you utilize the search engines to get people to find your business and products.
What are the elements of my SEM?

  1. Strategy: Defining your key products and the best use of tools and channels to market them. (This step is key before you optimize! Work with us to build a custom strategy for your unique product.)
  2. Search Engine Optimization: Optimizing your site so that it comes up on the first page of Google in the organic results.
  3. Pay-Per-Click / Google Ads: Paying Google to show your ad on the first page of results. You only pay when people click.
  4. Display Network Ads: Reminding users of your awesomeness after someone clicks through to your site from a Google Ad, through remarketing ads that follow them around the Internet.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Your long game for capturing organic traffic.

Search engine optimization is how you get to the top of organic search results. Google uses a combination of search volume, relevancy and clickthrough rates to determine whether you appear on the 1st or 88th page of Google for any particular keyword.

What is organic search? In layman’s terms, these are the authentic search results that appear for a keyword search. For example, when Donald Trump got upset that his name appears in Google when you type in “idiot,” that was because “idiot” was the most relevant term for his face.

How do I optimize my site?

  1. Keyword Research: Find the keywords that people are actually searching and are relevant to your business.
  2. Site Optimization: Incorporate high-value keywords into your headlines, body copy, images, and site metadata. (Optimization is both a science and an art! Talk with us about how we can optimize key pages across your site.)
  3. Ongoing Content: Write blogs about the topics that people care about most (based on keyword research), optimize them for search and then send them out to all your channels to get the ball rolling.

PPC (Pay-Per-Click) / Google Ads

Driving results by paying Google for clickthroughs.

Are you running a campaign around a specific event, giveaway or deadline? Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising is a fantastic way to quickly get people on your site to purchase your product at times when it is in high demand – think tax season for accountants.

PPC is also a great strategy to increase leads in the short-term by sending folks to a page that features a data capture. Once you have their email or cell number, you can then remarket to users in the longer term. You can combine this with Display Network advertising – banner ads that follow users around the internet – to increase brand awareness and keep your products top-of-mind.

Where to start? Digital strategy around business goals.

At Dot Think, we don’t want your money if it isn’t going to get you results that help move your business forward. We work closely with you to look at your current traffic, analyze your current marketing efforts and put together an actionable set of digital marketing goals that fit your yearly marketing budget. Talk with us today about how we can help you reach your goals.

Mindful marketing to amplify mindful living.

Dot Think’s digital partnership helps Elephant Journal spread the good life beyond the choir.

Elephant Journal is the internet’s leading resource on modern mindful living and has been working to share unique perspectives, eco-living and mindfulness for almost twenty years.

In a technology-driven design partnership, Dot Think and Elephant Journal work together to  design and develop themed months that speak to target demographics – from self-care and eco-living, to intimacy and motherhood. And every month, Elephant Journal collaborates with a mindful partner innovating in the same space.

Dot Think designs and develops custom landing pages to support monthly themes, complete with unique theme logos and imagery. Working closely with the editorial team at Elephant, we change out imagery, develop creative and ensure pages are optimized across devices and browsers. Once launched, Dot Think assists in campaign rollout with graphics and ad placements across email, social and on-site placements.

With themed landing pages drawing an average of 25,000 visitors per month, Elephant Journal readers are truly enjoying this editorial and design curation of mindful media.

Bridgeport Arts Trail – November 8th – 11th

As a graphic designer, board member at Bridgeport Arts & Cultural Council and the daughter of a career fine artist, I’m excited to invite you to be part of a weekend that’s close to my heart: the Bridgeport Arts Trail, happening the weekend of November 9th.

All across Bridgeport this weekend, artists are opening their studios for a vibrant and exciting weekend that will fuse visual art, live music and curated events. As a graphic designer, board member at Bridgeport Arts & Cultural Council and the daughter of a career fine artist, I’m thrilled to be both a supporter and participant of the Bridgeport Arts Trail.

The Bridgeport Arts & Cultural Council is on a mission to empower the community of Bridgeport to  transcend challenges and thrive through the transformational power of art. Sparked by pain or joy or longing, art can invite us to embrace beauty, rally us to resilience, and unite us in a common experience of our human condition. Created from an artist’s inner song, art holds the power to lift us above our daily grind so we can play sweeter music. This weekend, we support the community of artists that call Bridgeport home … and become part of the collective experience of joy that happens when we celebrate what it means to be creative beings.

Join me on the trail at the following events. Take home a new piece of art, or simply be inspired by the magic of creation.

presented by the Bridgeport Arts & Cultural Council.

Friday 9th, 5-10pm
1123 – 1163 Main Street
Downtown Bridgeport

5 Events. 1 Night. Same Block.
Collaborative Retail launch.
3 Art Exhibits.
Live Art.
Design Discussion.



Saturday November 10, 10am-5pm
Dot Think Open Studio – AmFab Arts Building
1069 Connecticut Avenue, Bridgeport

10 am to 5 pm:
Join Artist Kit Corti, Designer Corti Cooper and Vintage Clothing Collector Sharon Shaw in Dot Think’s studio space as part of the Bridgeport Art Trail.

Join yoga and meditation teacher Corti for a moving meditation as Kit creates gesture drawings of participants.

See you on the trail!  Explore all the events.

INTRODUCING: The 2018 color of the year is…Ultra Violet!

Open Your Mind’s Eye to Intuitive Ultra Violet (18-3838)

The 2018 pantone color of the year is confirmed. Selected for its inventive and imaginative qualities, this shade of purple is surely set to influence art, design and the runway. But don’t think this is JUST a fashion statement. Truly setting a “tone”, the pantone color of the year is chosen to reflect current cultural shifts.

We are living in a time that requires inventiveness and imagination. It is this kind of creative inspiration that is indigenous to PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet, a blue-based purple that takes our awareness and potential to a higher level. From exploring new technologies and the greater galaxy, to artistic expression and spiritual reflection, intuitive Ultra Violet lights the way to what is yet to come.

Leatrice Eiseman
Pantone Color Institute Executive Director

Read more of Eisman’s statement here

Ultra Violet in Our “Extra” Lives

Associated with technology, mindfulness and spiritual discovery, Ultra Violet encourages us to feel deep and expand out. Taking a step back, we live in amazing times and technology is making astonishing advancements. But of course it is not without growing pains! In an information rich world, little remains below the surface for long. Ultra Violet reminds us that amid much digital stimulation and digging up of truths, we would do well to connect back to ourselves and to each other.

Here at Dot Think, we are so on board. Honoring the power of our combined intuition, we thrive in the realms of discovery, design, and story-telling (all with the seamless integration of technology). We also recognize the sacredness of balance and re-connection. On our downtime you can often catch us in a yoga studio, the beach, or reading up on political #resistance.

As this bluish-purple glow casts a light on our world, we you invite you to look up – The galaxy is the limit!


The Pantone Color Institute is a consulting service within Pantone that forecasts global color trends and advises companies on color in brand identity and product development, for the application and integration of color as a strategic asset.

Dot Think Design is a woman-owned & operated agency based in Fairfield County, CT that serves nonprofit and for-profit organizations across the US with branding and marketing strategy, print and web design, social media and email campaigns, technology solutions and development.