You have finally created a website for your business. After spending tireless hours navigating WordPress or paying someone else to set up your website, it’s actually live! Despite the sense of accomplishment, you may haven’t noticed an uptick in sales or seen much website traffic. Where did you go wrong? How can you make your site stand out among the billions of others on the web? The answer is search engine marketing (SEM). There are two main avenues of SEM, search engine optimization (SEO) and Google AdWords. Both focus on using relevant keywords to give your website the boost it needs to be noticed by search engines. However, there are distinct differences between the two.

SEO as Part of Search Engine Marketing

SEO is a constant process. It requires a little effort, but the results can be staggering. When you optimize your website, you are making it “search engine friendly,” so that it is easily ‘read’ by search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. The majority of web users won’t click past the first five websites on the search engine results page (SERP). As a result, it is crucial to get your website listed near the top of SERPs.

On-Site SEO

In order to achieve high-ranking SEO, you must improve your on-site and off-site presence. On-site SEO involves creating a website structure that is easy to navigate. This also includes adding site content that contains keywords that are commonly used when searching for your business. In doing so, you increase usability, credibility and search engine visibility.

Off-Site SEO

Off-site SEO, also called link-building, involves increasing the number of links between your website and other websites. This technique is more difficult than on-site SEO because you are usually not in direct control of your links. When your website has acquired a high number of quality links, it will be deemed more trustworthy by search engines. On-site and off-site SEO often occur in cycles. You receive more links through increased site traffic when you improve your website usability.

AdWords as Part of Search Engine Marketing

AdWords is an ad auction where businesses compete with other businesses for limited ad spots on Google SERPs. They also compete for  Google-owned sites like YouTube and Gmail, or on the network of partner sites. Instead of boosting your website’s position on SERPs through SEO, AdWords jumps your site to the top of SERPs in exchange for money. Advertisers either pay when someone clicks on their ad (cost per click—commonly referred to as CPC) or when someone sees their ad (cost per thousand impressions or CPM).

What’s the best Search Engine Marketing strategy for my business?

When it comes to SEM, there are pros and cons to both AdWords and SEO. AdWords increases website clicks faster than SEO. Unfortunately, it only improves your site’s visibility on Google. AdWords may cost more money up-front in comparison to doing SEO on your own, but SEO can turn into an expensive and time-consuming process. The best way to boost your site’s search engine ranking is to effectively utilize both SEM strategies in a way that fits your individual business.

Creating a website does not automatically translate to an immediate increase in sales. As with any other facet of business, a website must be constantly updated and tailored to fit your company and your customers’ needs. If you are looking for a marketing firm with experts in SEM, particularly SEO and an AdWords, to create a custom marketing plan for your business, give us a ring at (618) 656-7333. Let us help you enhance your presence on the web!