SEO and SEM both relate to marketing and search engines. Though both of them are similar in some ways, there are manifest variances between the two. SEO deals with those techniques that ensure the accessibility of a website by a search engine with good chances of the website showing up in the results of a query from the search engine. The definitive goal of any fruitful SEO campaign is the accomplishment of a high-ranking spot in the results returned by major search engine pages such as; Yahoo, Bing and Google. There are also other smaller search engines. After searching, most users on the internet do not click on multiples pages of the search results. As such, it is imperative that a website ranks highly in order to improve the chances that a user will click on it directing traffic to the site. For websites that have a high ranking, more people are likely to visit the site.
SEM is an equally important concept. Being a broader version of the SEO, SEM identifies actions related to the research, submission and positioning of websites using search engines. It comprises activities such as search engine optimization and funded listings among other services and functions associated with search-engines that increase the traffic to a website. SEM grants the opportunity of paying-per-click. In a successful SEM campaign, potential customers looking for specific product and services can see the Ads, and this may lead to higher conversion rates.
Reasons for search engine marketing
- More sales: Any instance of getting more traffic ultimately means more customers, and this translates to more sales from the high conversion rates. Nowadays, very many people buy goods and services online, and a paid search campaign ensures millions of views from consumers who access the web via search engines.
- Creating brand awareness: Consumers who use search engine to find products and services often know what they want. As such, application of SEM strategies to a website helps potential customers gain access to such websites to learn more about products they have seen on TV or in paper Ads.
- Competitive edge: SEM helps websites to attain a competitive edge against their competitors by improving the conversion rates of websites. More conversion translates to more customers that the competitor and lower costs in the long-run.
- Demand-driven economy: searches from search engines result from demand for certain products and services. When people search through search engines, the results of the search engine are the best possible results. Additionally, search results may have the accompaniment of Adwords Ads. Such ads may tempt potential customers to the site.
- Support for other marketing options: A lot of companies use different forms of advertising such as TV, radio and newspapers. They also incorporate a link on such adverts to the respective websites. If properly used, SEM compliments such forms of advertising through searches made from search engines. Such has the effect of outshining the competitors.
Organic lists Sponsored Links
How Search Engines work
Internet search engines comprise of various websites with designs specifically meant to help people identify information stored on other websites. Though they work differently, the various websites accomplish three simple things:
- Search the internet using significant words.
- Store the indices f words found and their respective locations.
- Enable searchers to center their searches based on a combination of words from the indices.
A search engine must first identify the location of files or documents before giving results. Search engines implement the use of special software referred to as spiders in order to create lists of words found on websites in a process referred to as web crawling. The spider software starts by indexing words on a popular website and visiting all links on the website. As such, the software spans across the most widely used parts of the website. The software also notes the main words found in website titles, subtitles and Meta tags. Website owners use Meta tags to define key words for indexing the web pages.
The search engines then store the lists of words in a more useful way. The information stored with the data and the models of indexing such information are important factors in availing the data gathered to end users. For the simplest case scenarios, search engines store only the word and the source URL. For more useful results, search engines go the extra mile to store the frequency of words within a web page. Such is the reason as to why a search made for the same words in different search engines produces different lists in different orders. Searching through an index creates a query and submits it through a search engine.
Ranking factors for a web page
- Writing stellar content for websites.
- Combining crucial words and analysis of such crucial words.
- Building links with the aim of increasing their acceptance.
- Use of social media websites, for instance, Facebook and Twitter.
- Creating a superb user experience by improving website navigation.
The role of an SEO expert
An SEO expert is the person responsible for scrutinizing, appraising and executing any alterations to websites to ensure improvement for search engines. The overall effect is the improvement of website traffic through better rankings of web pages within search engines. The SEO expert incorporates key words in the original content that aid in increasing traffic to a website. He also involves himself with implementing and testing various search engine marketing strategies and web designs. Some of the areas of operation include:
- Deciding on the website domain name
- Deciding the page name and file names
- Deciding page titles, headers and sub-headers
- Choosing and inserting keywords all through the website
- Implementing changes to the website’s contents
- overseeing decision changes
- Making search engine readable by working with meta tags and robots.txt files
- Developing a strategy for increasing inbound traffic
- Use of analytic tools: Search engines provide free tools for website administrators. They help web administrators to understand how traffic gets to their websites and what it is doing once it arrives. In essence, the tools provide insight into how a search engine interacts with the site.
- Optimization based on results: Data gathered by using analytic tools from search engines provides guidelines when formulating strategies. The growth metrics allow a website author to maintain an upward stream to determine whether website content is high ranking. If the audience appreciates the content, then it is well performing.
- Build relationships: It is always good to post honest and relevant information n a website regarding the products and services offered. Such works to the advantage of the company.
- Update knowledge on SEO changes: It is always important to maintain an up-to-date knowledge regarding SEO changes. Such goes a long way to maximizing the optimization efforts.
- Don’t try to beat the system: It is advisable to play by the system rules. Utilizing sneaky SEO tactics will in the end cause a drop in the website ranking which has disastrous effects of watering down the efforts employed over a considerable period.
Optimized code with Meta tags and keywords
Internet buying process and web support tools
Internet buying is a form of online shopping or electronic commerce whereby consumers make purchases of goods or services from retailers’ websites via the internet with the help of a browser. Such a form of online shopping is a form of Business-to-Consumer e-commerce. In instances that involve on businesses, the internet buying process constitutes a form known as Business-to-Business e-commerce. Examples of such e-commerce websites include; eBay, Alibaba and Amazon. For successful internet buying transactions, the transacting parties must have internet connection and websites that support valid models of payment.
The process starts by potential consumers directly visiting a retailer’s website or using the search engine to search for a product of their liking. Upon finding the product and the consumers visit the website using one of the links from the search page results. Most websites have web support tools incorporated that resemble the shopping baskets in the conventional brick and mortar type of transactions. An example of such a support tool is the shopping cart software that helps the consumers accumulate items and adjust quantities.
After adding items to the shopping cart, a check-out process follows that collects the payment and delivery information as necessary. The most preferred types of payment for online shoppers are PayPal and Credit cards. Consumers, however, have a wide variety of payment options available for them including; cheques, debit cards, billing to mobile, cash on delivery, wire transfer, etc. Upon the receipt of payment, the delivery of the goods or services takes place by; downloading, shipping, printing or i-store pick up.
Process from mass segmentation to one-to-one
Mass marketing does not fully satisfy the needs of every customer in the market. As such, there is the need implement market research strategies with the main goal of finding patterns related to customer preferences in the market. Ideally, the process involves shifting the marketing approach from mass segmentation to one-to-one approach. The main steps are as follows:
- Definition and analysis of the market: This step involves determining market characteristics based on customer preferences. It forms the organization’s goal and the premeditated intent of the business.
- Identification of Potential segments: This step comes after the definition and analysis of the market and involves deciding the best approaches for including members in certain potential market segments.
- Segment selection: Upon identification and classification of market segments, selection of individual segments is the next step. Their ranks according to the organizations ability to satisfy their needs, while at the same time remaining profitable, are the main evaluation factors.
- Determination of the product positioning strategy: This next step involves determining the best match of products and market segments depending on customer preferences, positional advantage of competitors, organization’s mission and the general market situation.
- Design and implementation of the marketing program: This stage involves developing a strategic plan and determining the objectives of marketing program. All factors of a marketing strategy must be well aligned to the positioning strategy.
The use of one-to-one marketing approach follows the customer relationship management techniques. It is possible when an organization has the capability to customize the product according to the consumer’s needs. One-to-one marketing involves approaching potential clients and as individuals and designing custom market blends for such customers. One-to-one marketing is mostly common in B2B markets. Every time a company comes up with an entirely new product that is unique for each customer, it utilizes one-to-one marketing.
Web bugs, cookies and spyware
- Web bugs: Web bugs are small image files on web pages whose main use is to monitor user's online habits. A web bug transmits data about a website visitor back to the web page’s server. Web bugs ordinarily gather usage statistics about a website, for instance, the number of visitors, the most visited pages, the time for each visit and the web browser used. Web bugs can also aid in the retrieval of data stored in a cookie file if the web bug and cookie file are both from the same website.
- Spyware: This is a term used for any software installed without the user being aware. It then covertly collects information regarding the user and communicates it through his or her internet connection. Like cookies and web bugs, information gathered by spyware does not usually relate to a person’s identity. Instead, it typically provides advertisers with information for use in marketing purposes, for instance, to help identify advertisements to display on each person’s PC. It is important to note, however, that unscrupulous individuals may use spyware to retrieve personal data stored on a PC.
Definition of terms
- Ad views: The frequency with which web users browse a web page containing a banner during a specified time-interval.
- Buttons: This is a small banner that contains a link to a website. At times, a click on the button may download software.
- Click: This refers to a calculated event that occurs every time a web user presses on a banner Ad I order to get to the website advertised.
- Conversion rate: The ratio of web users with clicks and who eventually end up buying a product or service.
- CTR: CTR refers to the click-through rate or ratio of the number f people who vies an Ad and click on it to access the website.
- Hit: An event that has the effect of making a request for data from a web page.
- Visit: A sequence of request events in a single navigation of the website.
- Unique visit: An enumeration of the number of users visiting a website irrespective of the number of pages viewed in each visit.
- Stickiness: The factor that determines the average stay of a user on a website.
Definition of terms
- Banner: This is a graphical display on a web page that holds a link to the website of the advertiser.
- Live banners: Graphical displays with dynamic content.
- Keyword banner: graphical displays that appear after using a preset word to query a search engine.
- Pop-up window: A graphical display that makes a sudden appearance after clicking the mouse on certain options.
- Advergaming: The act of advertising products through computer games.
- Augmented reality: This is the practical environment using the improvement of sound or graphics generated using computers.
- Spamming: the act of sending unwelcome ads via email.
The internet advertising life cycle
- Building the audience: this is the first step on the internet marketing life cycle. It happens through search engine optimization, use of social sites, PPC and display advertising.
- Keeping audience engaged: this is achievable through the design of an appealing website. An appealing website should be easily navigable, entertaining and educating. Most websites offer games, contests and specials that keep their audience coming back.
- Turning the audience into a community: It is imperative to treat visitors like a community. Conducting surveys such as likes, dislikes and most preferred products and services is a good idea to identify the preferences of the audience. Contests also add more fun while at the same time help to gather information.
- Conversion: After successful establishment of the community, the next step is converting them to customers. It is wise to test different strategies and keep the ones that work. If well utilized, the process is fun and rewarding.