Search Engine Management, or “SEM” is defined as the process of building and marketing a web site with the end goal of improving it’s position in the search engine results. This process includes a few key techniques:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization is the process of building a site that is “search engine friendly”. Pages that are optimized for search engines will provide content that is highly relevant to it’s targeted keywords and make it more appealing to both the search engines and the users.
Advertising or Pay Per Click (PPC)
Pay Per Click advertising is used within the search engine’s results as a way for advertisers to get their website on the first page of the search results on a cost per click basis. This is done in 2 ways, with search results and with content results. The search results return PPC links for a specific search, and content results provide links within sites that contain content relevant to the advertiser’s website. You bid on the top spots against other advertisers.
Link building is used to improve both visibility and the apparent quality of your site to the search engines. Having a link to your site on sites that have content highly relevant to the content on your site gives the search engines the impression that your site is more important to that particular topic.
1. Choose the Right Domain Name
Any good website starts with a good domain name. Picking the right domain name that is both easy to remember and related to your site and top keywords is very important. It is also very common to chose a business or organization name for your domain. Your domain name should have a few key characteristics:
– Try to include one or more of your top 5 Top Keywords
– Make your domain unique
– Go for Dot-com domains if possible unless another extension suits your brand
– Make it Easy to Type
– Make it Easy to Remember
– Keep the Domain Name as Short as Possible
– Relate it to your product and/or brand
– Avoid Copyright Infringement
– Avoid Hyphens and Numbers
As you do your research (Point #2), you will find numerous blogs and sites that discuss choosing the right domain names.
2. Do Plenty of Expert Research Before Getting Started
In order to create effective sites for SEO and to get the most out of your PPC dollars, you will need to learn as much as you can about both topics prior to getting started.
The SEM experts online provide literally thousands of websites out there that can tell you all you need to know about SEO. You can learn a lot from what other people have put on the web for free, before moving onto other other avenues. What’s right for you may not be what’s right for others. Here are a few links to get you started.
There are also several references that can be purchased online, but until you really know what you want, I would suggest that you should stick to the free stuff.
3. The Search Engines Themselves Provide a Wealth of Information
Google in particular provides a great deal of information from webmasters on their support site.
Reading through these pages will allow you to find some key dos and dont’s for search engine optimization. It also
introduces you to Google webmaster tools which has been provided for you to track your site’s performance with Google and offers helpful hints, specific to your site.
4. Build a Home Page That is Full of Your Top Keywords
One of the most important factors for search engine engine optimization is “Keyword Density”. Keyword density is defined as
the amount of times a keyword shows up in the text of your site or home page. This metric is used by the search engines to
rank your site’s relevance to the keywords input by the user. The more times your top keywords appear on your site, the more
relevant your site will seem to the search engines for those keywords. There are several tools on the web that will allow you to check your site’s keyword density. Here is a link to a simple one that I have used.
5. Go Slow on Pay Per click Advertising
Over the past few years, the top PPC providers have changed the way they look at advertising. Google in particular has added a relevance factor into their algorithms that new gives you a quality score for each keyword you add to your campaign. This quality score takes into account the content of your landing page and the content of your advertisement. This has been done in the hopes that the user is provided with more relevant ads for their keywords. If your site is not highly relevant to the keywords you have chosen, or your advertisement does not appear to be relevant, your minimum bid is raised significantly. This can prove to be somewhat frustrating to the advertisers at first, but once you get going and learn how to manage your ads and bids, you will be able to create relevant ads and reasonable bids for your keywords.
It’s best to start slow with PPC advertising. Set yourself a budget and work within that budget. Try a few different landing pages and different ad content to see what happens. Don’t get caught up in it if you see a lack of clicks and keep increasing your bid to gain position on your competitors. You should have an idea of what each click will be worth to you; Stay within that range.
6. Link Building
There are several ways to go about link building for your site. Some of them, like paid links are not recommended and the search engines frown on this form of link building. You can use link exchanges to build links to your site, but building a huge cache of links on your site can turn out to be cumbersome and some say that the search engines don’t put as much weight on these types of links. The best way to build links is through providing relevant linkable content for your site viewers. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
– Create lists of top 5, top 10 or top 100 somethings that relate to your site content
– Perform surveys relating to your content
– Write and syndicate articles
– Create a blog
– Use Social Networks like Facebook and Myspace to promote your site
Hopefully these few beginners tips to SEM will start you on your way to #1 placement in the search engine results.