To SEM or Not to SEM, Part 1

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To SEM or Not to SEM, Part 1

Okay so Google adjusted the way they compute website ranking — again.

For everyone who hasn’t gotten to the point where they want their website to show up on the first page of search results on major search engines, everything is all cool and breezy, no need to worry. However, if you did care, and went down the DIY route in terms of doing the Search Engine Optimization or SEO of your site, then tell me where I can send you a CARE package of comfort food. It would be the least I can do to help you survive the tedium of making all those keyword adjustments and changes, plus re-editing, or perhaps even rewriting, all those keyword-rich articles you wrote.

Granting, Google HAS provided more-or-less-free tools (We’ll get into these tools in a later article) for the likes of us DIYers that automates a lot of the drudge-work related to page- and site-rank monitoring, visitor monitoring, visitor demographics, as well as the occasional keyword analysis one needs to do to refine the keywords and phrases that need to go into articles and page metadata. Still, this does little to mitigate the amount of work that needs to be done to get your site into the first page of search engine page results.

My advice to you? Work smarter, not harder.

First things first. We need establish a common ground, and understand what all this hullabaloo is over SEO. What is it exactly, and why are people so het-up about it? Luckily for us, good ol’ has a ready-made ‘big-picture’ answer for us. As it turns out, SEO is a technical aspect of internet marketing called “Search Engine Marketing” or SEM. Here’s Wikipedia’s opening section for you to read:

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) through optimization (both on-page and off-page) as well as through advertising (paid placements, contextual advertising, and paid inclusions).[1] Depending on the context, SEM can be an umbrella term for various means of marketing a website including search engine optimization (SEO), which adjusts or rewrites website content to achieve a higher ranking in search engine results pages, or it may contrast with pay per click (PPC), focusing on only paid components.[2]

[2] “Does SEM = SEO + CPC Still Add Up?”. Retrieved 2010-03-05.

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So, we’re on the same page now? To make our long story short:

In traditional media, the standard practice is, you make your ad copy, plunk down a sizable sum of money along with the ad in the lap of a media company that’s patronized by a sizable portion of your target market, wait for your advertisement to come out, and hope to God that one of the media viewers (or readers for that matter) just happens to read your ad at the moment they (or someone they know) needs your product or service badly. Oh, and hope as well that they don’t have ad-blocking software in place.

Not so with SEM.

Instead of hunting for your prospects or customers, SEM helps you to be more visible to people who are hunting for a service or product that you sell or provide. We are targeting that part of your market that is actively looking for your service/product on the Web.

We’ll continue our discussion in our next article.


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