In a world where it often seems like the loudest individual or company gets the most attention, developing a presence online is imperative to future success. When establishing a name for your business on the internet, some of the most valuable ways to become relevant and authoritative involve the use of search engine optimization, search engine marketing, and social media optimization.
If these terms or strategies are new to you, this beginner’s guide to SEO, SEM, and SMO is a great place to build a foundation of knowledge.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Basics
Far too many business owners are intimidated by SEO, though their fear of it isn’t exactly unprecedented. While the full scale of information surrounding this tactic could fill an epic novel-sized book, the basics needed to integrate SEO techniques into your strategy are far less complicated than they seem.
The essential purpose of SEO is to:
- Identify what your potential customers are looking for on search engines like Google.
- Use targeted keywords within your website and blog content to rank on these sites.
- Share SEO content relevant enough that you get backlinks to your website.
- Measure the level of engagement this content is producing.
Following these basics of SEO will significantly boost your company’s ability to rank higher in search results, making it more likely for your site to gain organic traffic.
Beginner Tips for Search Engine Optimization
- Set achievable goals: The aspiration to instantly claim the first place spot on Google for every relevant keyword in your field of work is a great dream, but also a faulty one. But by setting measurable and specific objectives, you can certainly climb your way up the ranks over time.
- Ensure your website is fully optimized: Before you dive into using any SEO basics, you’ll want to do an audit of your website to make sure it can be indexed by Google. It should also have a proper web design that makes it responsive to the device it’s being viewed on, including tablets, laptops, or smartphones.
- Do keyword research: Using powerful tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, or UberSuggest, find keywords that are relevant to your business, industry, and target audience. Many SEO experts suggest choosing between 5-10 keywords with a minimum search volume of 100.
- Write engaging content using keywords: When it comes to producing content, it must be engaging and provide value to your readers. Google has long been past the stages where “keyword stuffing” was allowed and continuously adjusts their algorithms to have quality content rank higher.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Basics
SEM. PPC. CPC. CPM. CTR. There seems to be a mile-long list of acronyms associated with the practice of search engine marketing. Any beginner’s guide to SEM should include a basic description of these terms and how they can benefit your marketing efforts when working with your team.
While SEM was once widely used for both organic and paid search practices, it has transformed into a bigger emphasis on the side of paying for website traffic.
Powered by search marketers, the most common SEM phrases you should know include:
- Pay-Per-Click (PPC): A paid search technique where an advertisement is placed on a website or search engine and the company pays for each person who clicks on the ad link.
- Cost-Per-Click (CPC): The amount charged each time someone clicks a link involved in a PPC campaign.
- Cost-Per-Thousand-Impressions (CPM): Though not an overly common term, this refers to “cost-per-mille” which is the amount an advertisement charges per thousand impressions. An impression is each time the ad shows up on a viewer’s screen.
- Click-through Rate: This percentage is based on the ratio of impressions (link views) that leads to someone clicking on an advertisement that leads to your landing page or website.
- Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs): Any time you enter a search query into a site like Google, SERPs refers to the results that show up on the following page.
Beginner Tips for Search Engine Marketing
- Establish a paid marketing budget: Whether you are trying to gain organic traffic or paid traffic, you’ll want to determine an amount you can afford to pay for either content creation or paid search campaigns.
- Determine what content to promote: Once you have created content, you’ll need to decide which pieces you want to boost with paid ads. It’s a great idea to have a mix of videos, infographics, and written content that can be cycled.
- Use Google Analytics: Arguably the most prevalent and useful tool in the world of SEM, you should constantly monitor Analytics to see which ad campaigns are performing well and which ones may need some rethinking.
Social Media Optimization (SMO) Basics
The global phenomenon that has become social media isn’t going anywhere any time soon. There are a couple of different ways to view social media optimization based on the view from social profiles compared to the view from a website perspective.
Posting on social media opens the door to billions of potential customers if done correctly. Going “viral” is a very real goal that both independent content creators and established companies alike are constantly trying to achieve.
Among the best ways to go viral is by sharing high-quality, engaging video or written content that pulls viewers from sites like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter to your business website.
Beginner Tips for Social Media Optimization
- Complete and optimize your social profiles: From brick-and-mortar locations to online companies, every aspect of your social media accounts should be fully complete. Include captivating bios, profile pictures, and all of your necessary contact information.
- Follow SEO tactics when sharing on social: Use all the same suggestions mentioned in the beginner’s guide to SEO above from relevant keywords and high-quality images to engaging videos to original content with effective calls to action.
- Post during peak times: While these are subject to change at certain times of the year, overall there are points during the day that have been proven to be more effective spans to post your content.
- Determine engagement through A/B testing: This concept is one of the most crucial basics of SMO, letting you recognize what content is more engaging to your social following. Pay attention to the number of likes, comments, and shares on each piece of content to identify trends and find ways to attract more attention in the future.
- Make your web content easy to share with embedded social buttons: Have you ever read an article that you wanted to post on your social media profile so your friends or colleagues could read it? Social share buttons at the beginning and/or end of your blog articles make this far easier for people who want to post your content on their newsfeed.
Adding Security to Your SEO, SEM, & SMO Strategies
As you are preparing to use these SEO basics along with SEM and SMO practices, can you imagine dealing with security issues or technical difficulties? These problems could have potentially devastating impacts on your ability to use the suggestions above effectively.