Updated: May 9, 2020
Search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO) are often used interchangeably. They do strive for the same result, better search engine impressions and ranking. Imagine a horse race and now imagine the horse as the SEO and the jockey as the SEM. As long as you keep this image in mind, you have an abstract model into how SEM and SEO work together.
If your racehorse is old and sickly, it would not matter how good the rider is. Vice versa, the best racing horse will not perform as good with an inexperienced rider. But think about it. If your horse is the absolute fastest, you may not necessarily even need the best rider to win. Let us now go back to SEO and SEM. A good SEM paired with a bad SEO is not a good thing. However, a bad SEM paired with a good SEO may yield better results. This brings us back to the question of what is SEO and SEM? SEM is the campaign, the strategy, the creative. Video marketing, facebook page, google ads and strategically pairing social media together. SEO is infrastructure. It is the structure, the readability, the security, the speed and much much more. SEO is the foundation of every website and without a good foundation, even the best SEM may not yield the desired results. It is important to note that SEO falls under IT services and not marketing services. It is making your website as friendly and as readable as possible to all the search engines. The friendlier your content and structure, the easier for the search engines to find it. That is what you want. Even an average article can gain more traction with perfect SEO.
Now let's delve in a little deeper into these terms. Let us start with SEM and move on to SEO a little later. We feel that both of these play a very important role in promoting your website and gaining traffic. Paying close attention to the ROI (return on investment) in the case of SEM.
What is SEM or Seach Engine Marketing? - SEM vs SEO
From what we know, SEM is a paid strategy. Think of Google Ads, Facebook, Bing ads, Instagram and paid listings. Tricky part being on how much budget is allocated. It would not be a good idea to simply put all your eggs in one basket nor is it a good idea to start off allocating a large amount for each paid campaign. You could always hire a marketing agency to assist you, but we are talking about the DIY approach at this moment. Experimentation is key. Start off with the least amount they allow you to put in. Learn what works in terms of keywords, time and copy. It is a little like fishing and requires a lot of time, patience and creativity. Instagram, for example, could just be a simple image post and a call to action to the link in your bio. Google Ads can get expensive if not used properly. Sure you can go for the keywords that are most used and you will end up paying a lot for the competition. Or you could simply go for something unique and niche. Sure you won't get a lot of searches, but it puts you in a better position and more likelihood of getting that click. For example, you could be selling a T-shirt and add the keyword 'T-shirts'. This would mean you would have to compete with every online T-shirt manufacturer and seller out there. Or you could type 'red shirt' and you would drastically reduce the competition and improve the chances of being clicked on. Since a person who is looking for a red t-shirt is more likely to buy a red t-shirt. As opposed to a person searching for a shirt and is simply window shopping. SEM is all about campaigns and how you plan to target them.
Facebook statistically has higher conversions, depending on what you're selling. If it is a physical product, facebook is your best option. As for services, it is neither here nor there. It provides much more comprehensive analytics and targeting. Geographic and interest are the most popular. It is becoming more and more saturated as we speak, especially if you are planning to sell clothes. It is still one of the best SEM tools money can buy and has more bang for the buck in our opinion. Our advice, jump on the bandwagon as soon as you can, it is still worth the money.
Now we are not SEM specialists, we are still trying to figure it out ourselves. In fact, we mostly outsource our marketing. Which brings us to what we do know, which is SEO.
What is SEO or Search Engine Optimization
Now let's get to it. First and foremost is the H1 tag. This is a must for every page and for you to only have one. Yes, only one. What is an H1 tag? It is the title of the page. Many websites forget this one crucial aspect, they have plenty of H2 tags or image files as their header. But search engines cannot read words in an image, yet of course. So help them help you. Make sure it is a few words, clear and concise as possible. Social links. As far as we know, there is not much mention of the importance of this. Let's look at it this way, you have a link on your page to your Instagram which has a link to your page in its bio. This is brilliant right? Yes, it is. It acts as a backlink that links back to you and that is gold in our opinion. So set up your Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook page and what have you. Link it to your webpage. If you are able to put it into a header on every page, the better. I know in most cases this is common knowledge, but I have seen many websites that forget this one crucial tweak.
Is your website mobile friendly? There are many old and ancient websites in the internet universe that still runs flash media on their pages. Now when these sites load on a mobile phone, we all know how much zooming in is required. What is this, a website for ants? Sorry, we couldn't resist. But yes, mobile-friendly websites are all the rage and for good reason. These days half of the web traffic is from mobile. So if you do not want to put off half of your potential traffic, this is a must.
Meta description. Do you know what that is? Try googling something, anything. Remember how the search results usually have like a small summary or description. That is a meta description. Keep it to 150 characters or less. Anything more and the tail end of your copy disappears into cyberspace. Maybe get a professional writer in and let them do one for you. A well-written meta description makes all the difference.
Search engine site submissions are not to be taken for granted. It may take weeks to months for a search engine to index your website. So why not tell them you exist? Bing webmaster and Google search console. Learn these words, feel them and understand them. Of course, you may need to get your hands dirty here with some verification HTML files or codes to place on your own website for verification. And it is worth the effort, trust us. Bing and Yahoo have merged, so that's two birds with one stone. Also if you are in countries that allow you to submit your web page to Alexa, you should definitely do so.
Google My Business, we love it and so should you. Let's say if you are in a certain area and a person is searching for a business like yours. Wouldn't you want to be placed at the top of the list since you are nearer to them than your competition, it would save time and uber money for your potential client too. And registering your business on google maps, apple maps, and every map or online street directory you can find helps people locate you. So do it!
Keep it light. Your images we mean. The lighter your image, the better. We are talking about the size of course. No not the size of the image, the size of your image file. While PNG image files look nice, JPEGs are really not so bad. And are a fraction of the size. Still, it is better to google "size optimizer online" and just upload and optimize your image. webp files are also really really light. Images should ideally be in the tens of kilobytes. Less than 100KB we mean. Lighter sites mean faster load times mean you do not lose the interest of the impatient people of the world. And these days, patience is a rare virtue. Structured data or schema markups. These are all the rage with the kids these days. Well not really. Most people do not get what this is and it's quite simple. It is a few lines of code that kind of gift wraps your entire website for google to read. Like a summary of your company, what it does, where it is located, what social media are linked to yours etc. It is a structured summary of your website. You can even add an image file. Ever tried googling those recipes and noticed how some of the results have stars and cooking time and prep time and nice colorful images on the google result page? That is the money right there. Imagine your website coming out like that as opposed to just lines and lines or boring old words. Does that not excite you? It will excite your potential clients of course and they will more than likely click on you. The caveat being google picks and chooses which markups they want to show. All we are saying, best to have it there in case they choose you Pikachu. Wow, really bad joke. But we don't believe in using the backspace button. The age of your website, unfortunately, plays a huge role in terms of ranking. So do not get too upset, all good things come to those who wait. Just hang on in there, do what needs to be done and just wait. If executed properly, a great SEO can make you start ranking in a matter of weeks. So keep checking and monitor the progress.
Keywords should be ten. Yes, ten keywords. And we do not want to see you keying in one-word keywords. Make it spicy, make it original. Make it a niche. Differentiate yourself, be the weirdo that like-minded weirdos will find. Think of it that way. Let's say you are a name card printing company based in a certain part of Australia. Should your keyword be 'name card' or 'name card printing'? Or maybe it could be 'the best name card printing company Brisbane has ever seen'. Yes, as weird as it may seem. This keyword will also catch those searching for the best name card company or name card printing Brisbane. See how it works there? And if you have more than ten keywords, just stop. More is not good and less is not best either. Keep it at ten.
Thank you for reading 'SEM vs SEO' article. Hope you have a great day ahead. #seo #keyword #itblocksg #singapore #sem #googleads #facebook #bingads #marketing #searchengine #traffic #website #visitors