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.