Understand Search Engine Marketing to Increase Site Traffic

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is critically important to your website. SEM is a method of analyzing and constructing your web pages and entire site so it can be discovered and indexed by search engines. Used effectively this will make your site more relevant, attractive and easily read by the engines and their crawling index software.

When looking for a service provider or product most users type one or two words into a search engine’s box, and hit ‘enter’. They then get presented with a series of

How do search engines rank your site?

Search engines use programs commonly known as spiders, crawlers or robots (‘bots’) which follow links from page to page downloading a copy of each one as they go. Pages are analyzed and indexed, and hopefully with a little luck and with some SEO to incentivize them, these pages will get added to the search engine’s database. Only the search engine’s owners know exactly how they index pages and rank them and they are constantly updating their metrics. But based on experience we can reasonably theorize most of what we need to do to get them to notice and rank a site.

Use keywords with care

Keywords are important to your SEM strategy but you must be careful not to go overboard with them – in particular don’t cram them into headers, titles, and Meta tags. Doing so will not only result in a poor read for your target audience, but will have a negative effect on your search results, as Google hates ‘keyword stuffing’.

Look at a keyword’s difficulty and search volume in relation to your own industry and website authority. Use a keyword difficulty tool like Moz to measure how competitive a particular keyword is. If it’s highly competitive and your website has a relatively low authority opt for a less difficult keyword. Then use your selected keywords naturally so they fit in with the flow of content. Using a keyword two or three times per page is a recommended guideline.

Structure your site coherently

Good SEM is all about getting your infrastructure architecture right. You need to make sure your site’s superstructure makes sense, so that the pages on your site are linked in a hierarchical, organized way. Users should be able to find the information they want as quickly as possible. Having a clear, logical sitemap is an essential element both for your visitors and for search engines.

Make your site user-centric

Make your user experiences good and you will also enable Google and other search engines to track and rate your site’s relevance to searchers. Improve your site speed to help improve ‘site activity’, and search rankings. Tools such as Google’s Page Speed Insights allow you to determine your site’s performance.

Practices to avoid

Spamming should be avoided at all costs, since it will get your site penalized. Keyword loading, hiding links, keyword stuffing, having duplicate content on several pages, mis-spelling popular search terms on purpose, using link farms or anything else that intends to dupe the ‘bots’ will get you removed from the search engine’s indexes.

Recent research suggests that over 80% of prospects check out a company’s website before going ahead and hiring a service provider. Without SEM potential customers won’t be able to find you, losing you precious business. Looked at another way, ignoring SEM is like having no sign over your shop front and blank windows in your building: prospects will drive past your shop without even realizing you’re there.