“Noobs” apparently like detailed examples, my friend Bridget told me this morning. Right after that, I got an email from someone wondering about some basic steps to improve search results. So here’s a little (very high level) primer on SEO and SEM. As always, I welcome comments and clarifications from my friends in the SEM business.
Basically, there are two parts to search engine success. SEO and SEM.
SEO - Search Engine Optimization - are on-site activities to make your web site completely friendly to search engines, including:
- having a site map
- optimizing your web copy, and headlines
- adding title tags
- updating your meta descriptions
… using the keywords and phrases for which you want to be found. It’s tricky to write for people and spiders, but it can be really fun.
Do this first. Once that’s up and running, you can add SEM activities.
SEM - Search Engine Marketing - are activities you take outside of your web site to improve your search engine rankings, including:
- Google, Yahoo! MSN ad campaigns
- Directory submissions
- Link sharing, etc.
Once you have optimized your site, then you can look at SEM activities like online Google adsÂ - sometimes referred to as pay-per-click (PPC) ads - to draw people to your site.
When you’re ready to start your PPC campaigns, you’ll need to have keyword-rich ads that point to keyword-rich landing pages (generally ‘hidden’ pages that have special offers, white papers, etc.) to motivate browsers to contact you.
I always advise getting your house in order and your on-site SEO done first. Here’s why - if you have a nicely optimized site with relevant keywords in your copy, the Google spiders will give you a better ‘relevancy’ and ‘quality’ score when you start to advertise. When your quality score is high, you pay less for your ads…
I’d be happy to dig into any portion of this for noobs and people who love them… just let me know.