Editor's note: Seyed Ziae Mousavi Mojab is a computer science student from Wayne State University in Detroit, MI and currently in ISM 7505: Inbound Information Technology
Search Engine Marketing
An essential tool to reach a global audience
If you haven’t yet started marketing online, it’s time to do so. If you are of the belief that marketing online is a waste of money, think again. There are many reasons that you should consider the online marketing. Increasing brand awareness, targeting more customers, flexibility in scaling your advertising campaign, being cost-effective, and reaching and engaging more people are some benefits to count.
One of the major online marketing channels is Search Engine Marketing (SEM) which includes both Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and Search Engine Advertising (SEA). Optimizing your website, and using search engine advertising such as Google AdWords, may have a tremendous effect on attracting new visitors to your website, and turning more of those visitors into new sales leads and customers.
What is Search Engine Marketing?
According to the Wikipedia, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) “is a form of Internet marketing that involves the promotion of websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) primarily through paid advertising.” This definition however, puts more emphasis on search engine advertising (SEA) than search engine optimization (SEO).
SEO, in fact, deals with the organic search results, while SEA deals with non-organic paid results. Almost every internet-user uses a major search engine such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo to navigate through and browse the internet. As you can see in the following chart, currently Google has the largest share (more than 90%) of the Global search engine market for leading search engines from January 2010 to July 2015, and thus is the dominant search engine.
By looking at a typical search result page in Google, it becomes clear that the result page includes both non-organic results (SEA results), and organic results (SEO results).
Search Engine Optimization vs. Search Engine Advertising
Search engine marketing in the form of search engine optimization (SEO), and search engine advertising (SEA) are the most important channels for online marketing.
In Search Engine Marketing, using SEO, the business tries to make its website easy to understand for both users and search engines. No matter how intelligent a search engine is, its understanding is not like a human. A search engine doesn’t understand the content such as images included in a web page. Using different techniques such as including a “Site Map”, using keywords in URLs, adding different meta tags like description and keywords, using title and headers, adding new semantic tags, building links intelligently, using alternative text for images, etc. can help a search engine to better understand your content and index your web pages more accurately, and eventually list your website on the top of the search results.
SEA, however, is a paid search engine advertising within the search result page. Google AdWords, for instance, is the most popular SEA system worldwide. Even though advertising with AdWords looks very simple and straightforward, but the competition is great and you need to know a lot about AdWords campaigns and how they work. In Google AdWords, you have to bid against other marketers (competitors) on how much you are willing to pay for a relevant keyword when it is searched by a user to show your ad. In fact, the more you pay, the more likely your ad will appear in the search results.
According to Forrester Research, 29% of the total marketing budget is allocated to online/digital channels. And search engine marketing will continue to capture the largest share of online spend at 47% or about 14% of a company’s total marketing budget.
As of 2006, Search Engine Marketing was growing much faster than any other traditional or digital channel of marketing. Therefore, since your prospects, and competitors are online, by using Search Engine Marketing techniques, give them the right attention that they deserve, to get more out of your investment.