Search Engine Marketing

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Search Engine Marketing

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The customer-targeting chief for the 21st century. Let’s be honest here. You’re not going to go very far as a digital marketer if your website is not easy to find using a search engine.

A search engine marketing strategy includes many elements, among which we can count:

SEO strategy

The art and science of crafting a website that is, first, useful and valuable for the users, and second, that is understandable to search engine robots (the programs that visit websites to index its pages in the search engines) and in compliance with the search engines’ requirements for indexing and good rankings.

A repeated phrase in the world of SEO is “don’t write for search engines, write for people”.

Unfortunately, a phrase like this has to exist and be necessary to remind you that you’re talking to a person and not to the search engine spiders when crafting an SEO article.

That’s because SEO programs have the potential of making the creation of content something robotic if you don’t remember all the time when writing an article that people come first, and software second.

SEO programs tell you what deficiencies the content you’re writing has, deficiencies that will prevent it from having a high rank with the search engines.

That simply means that if you write an article disregarding the rules of SEO, it’s going to get buried in who knows which deep page of the SERPs, and that only if it’s at all indexed. The engines may simply ignore your pages if they’re extremely sub-par.

SEM strategy

SEM Strategy

An SEM (Search Engine Marketing) strategy includes many different tactics. 

Pay-Per-Click Campaign

You join an ad network and buy advertising to bring to your website potential customers that are searching for what you have to offer.

Through bidding to the keywords you want your website to rank for your, advertisements appear to persons that are more likely to need what you sell or the service you give.

It requires business acumen in the sense that you must be persistent, and, when it comes to winning the bids, you must know the mechanics of PPC, to outbid your competition and have your ads, not your competitor’s, delivered to your prospect customers.

Besides pay-per-click campaigns, another SEM tactic that is less based on money and more requiring craftsmanship and organization is digital assets optimization.

Digital assets optimization

DAO has the potential to pay back the effort you invest exponentially, but you have to be organized and consistent.

You must integrate your efforts one with each other and there has to be a brand theme and style that is the same among all the different channels that you use.

Digital assets optimization is better if well-thought-out before starting to conduct business, and for that, you have to create a “brand guidelines” document, and/or a style guide, and similar documents

In that document you’re going to map all the content assets that will make up your brand, where and how you will employ them, and how are they are going to interact with each other.

Moreover, it’s important to include in the digital assets optimization plan the pertinent technical specifications about your digital assets.

That’s because the objective of this tactic of SEM is to make all of the digital pieces of your online business to be appropriate for the channels and audiences they’re going to be employed with.

More importantly, their style should be rather uniform, and they also must follow basic technical standards that will make the items optimized.

The ultimate consequence of not optimizing your digital assets is generally to the detriment of your ranking with the search engines.

Other (Turnkey) SEM Tactics

Other examples of SEM tactics are contextual advertising, paid placement, and paid inclusion but the ethics of these three are questionable and have the potential to disgust those that learn what they’re about.

Paid Inclusion

Pay just for the privilege to be featured but ranks aren’t guaranteed

Paid Placement

Pay and make your website rank higher in SERPs (search engine result pages).

Contextual Advertising

Advertising systems capture geolocation data and based on that data the system dispenses advertising to the user that seeks to influence him or her to do certain commercial activities in a brick-and-mortar store in the vicinity.

Content Marketing

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Content marketing should be planned and worked on before performing any live content strategy.

The things content marketing organizations and preparations will teach us are going to be the basis upon which we’re going to plan and produce the content to use in the strategy.

Customer Intelligence

Be sure who and where are your target markets. Find out their pains and problems. Decide how are you going to ease their pains and help them solve their problems. Creating customer personas and similar models does help.

Competitor Analysis

Get to know who your competitors are and be sure to deliver more than your competitors are delivering to your target audiences.

Start Brainstorming Topics

Start creating lists of the content you would like to feature on your website and other channels. There have to be the topics that your target audience is currently searching for on search engines.

Start with Content that Discloses

If in the beginning, you don’t know what to write about, or if you must have content in the early stages, no matter what, a source of ideas for content is disclosing things about you, your company, your product, and your services. The most statistical and disclosing the content, the better.

Create Social Media Channels

Create profiles and pages and similar spaces in the social media sites that your audiences use, and similar platforms.

Curate and Share Epic Content

Constantly educate yourself about what you’re doing by reading quality content on the web that touches the topics of your business, product, or service.

To curate, you save quality content in a way that is more sophisticated than bookmarking it with a browser.

If you are just starting and can’t wait to finish planning your own content’s content strategy, then you can work on a content strategy promoting the content of others.

Figure out Inbound Tactics

There are many of these. One example is figuring out a well-orchestrated back-link scheme.

It must be correctly done, it’s not as simple as having the good luck of getting your content featured on other websites with a link that goes directly to your website.

Inbound tactics take not only work, but they also take additional content on top of the content you’re going to feed your website with.

To have items of value to use in inbound tactics you must write valuable, actionable, evergreen content that you don’t care to publish somewhere other than your website.

The first resource to look into should be revenue-sharing websites and similar article directories. That you can join these for free and publish articles there doesn’t mean that the backlink you’re going to get from them is inferior. On the contrary, they’re quality backlinks.

Next, a harder way of creating inbound power is if you can negotiate reciprocal or similar deals with other outfits in your niche. By doing this, you do not just create relationships with others in your industry, but you also might get very valuable backlinks, and that means valuable traffic.

Another quality option is writing epic content and submitting it to supernodes, like for instance a major newspaper. But the odds of getting your content featured with the big players is rather slim unless your content is stellar. A perk of this method is not only the super-benefit you get from your byline and backlink, not only that but you can get paid a rather handsome sum for your content.

Content Strategy 

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A content strategy, as I see it, is a contemporary equivalent to what in the past was a marketing campaign.

It certainly has many more moving parts than traditional marketing, and if one eliminates middlemen and providers of outsourced resources and services, it becomes too much to handle because is a kind of complex way of promoting your product or services.

Many things go into a content strategy, but the main thing is quality, hopefully, evergreen content that will benefit your customers and clients even before they buy anything from you.

The tactics that make or break a content strategy, in my experience, are many:

    SEO content: must be evergreen, valuable, actionable, and focused on the keywords you’re working for
    Channels: where are you going to push your content?
    Delivery frequency: how much of it, and how often?
    Tags: in channels that implement it, it has the potential of gaining you targeted users
    Engagement: engaging influencers in your niche can give a sort of piggy-back positive effect on your social media profiles
    Lead Magnets: epic, valuable items to offer at the watershed moments of the campaign, too good to resist, that are only obtainable after filling a form
    Advertisements: background development of ads, that are (to me) the second most valuable pieces of content for getting the most valued actions from your customers

Image Credits

James Loesch
Isaque Pereira

© Martin Wensley 2022 —Search Engine Marketing