Search Engine Marketing (SEM) can be defined as the strategies that utilize the search engines to drive targeted traffic to websites. Massive web traffic is the dream of every online entrepreneur, since it is the lifeblood of any online business. Without a steady stream of online visitors, no matter how good your product or service, your online business will not survive. It’s a fact that most of your web site visitors will find your site via the search engines.
There are two core techniques involved in SEM, known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and Pay-Per-Click (PPC). SEO is the methods used to improve a web site’s ranking in search results by optimizing the onpage and offpage factors. It combines certain processes, additions and continuing changes to a website in order to achieve top rankings in major search engines, like Google, Yahoo and MSN Black hat forum.
Onpage optimization involves the optimization factors that you do on your web site. For example, combining the main keywords in the page title, italicizing, bolding, or underlining the main keywords in the body of the webpage, using header tags, creation of sitemap, writing good quality content, and adding images that are named after our main keywords.
Offpage optimization involves the optimization factors that you do off the pages of your website. These factors include which websites and how many of them linking to you, the Google PageRank of websites linking to you, using keywords in link anchor text, the IP address of the websites linking to you, using signatures in forums, and leaving comments in other people’s blogs.
By comparing the two, onpage optimization will move your website up only a few places in the search engines. It is the offpage optimization that plays the major role and will get you high rankings in search results.
SEO techniques fall into two categories, namely White Hat SEO and Black Hat SEO. White Hat SEO is a technique that follows the search engines’ guidelines and it focuses on building quality content for users, not search engines. It relies more on the website owners’ writing and marketing skills to achieve high ranking, rather than automated programs.
White Hat SEO is perfect for businesses who want to have solid reputation in the industry and maintain credibility for the longest period of time. There is absolutely no risk of being banned by the search engines when using this technique.
Black Hat SEO, also known as search engine spamming, attempts to improve rankings in ways that ignores the search engines’ guidelines. One black hat technique is called link farming, which is where your website or blog receive links from several other pages, but these pages contain only links without original content. Another method is putting lists of keywords in white text on a white background, or black text on black background.
It is never recommended because search engines may penalize severely with these sites, either by lowering their rankings or by removing their listings from their databases altogether. Although using SEO is free and can drive huge amounts of traffic, it takes time to learn and may be too technical for most beginners.
PPC is an Internet advertising model used on websites, advertising networks, and search engines where advertisers design small advertisements which link to certain keywords and phrases relevant to their target market.
When an Internet user types a keyword that matches the advertiser’s keyword list, the advertiser’s ad may appear on the search results page. These ads are called “sponsored links” or “sponsored ads” and appear at the right hand column, or sometimes above the Google, Yahoo, or MSN search results page.
To begin with PPC is free until someone clicks on your advertisement and visits your site. By spending a certain amount of money, the advertiser bids on individual keywords and pays only when the user clicks on the ad, whether or not a purchase results. If you get no clicks, you pay nothing.
Currently, there are three major PPC providers, namely Yahoo Search Marketing, Google AdWords, and Microsoft AdCenter. Google currently dominates PPC marketing, since it is the most popular search engine around and millions of people conduct searches on Google every day. One of the big advantages of using AdWords is that you can start and end your ad campaigns at any time. It also allows you to determine how much you will pay every time someone clicks on your ads.
However, PPC advertising is not suitable for beginners because it can be very expensive if managed improperly. Therefore it is very important to research your target market thoroughly and carefully, and be very specific about your niche.
Learning both SEO and PPC can provide you with massive web traffic you need to market your product or service effectively. PPC is easy to apply in the short-term, and SEO provides web traffic in the long-term. All it takes is commitment and a great deal of testing and experimentation.