Semantic Advantage, Inc.
SEO, SEM/PPC and Social Media Marketing

  SEO and SEM Online Marketing Strategy

Defining SEO and SEM
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of enhancing web pages’ positions in the organic search engine results for specific keyword searches.  The effects of search engine optimization are seen in the main body of the search engine results pages (SERPs).  Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is the management of a paid search engine advertising campaigns.  SEM and SEO are used to bring more traffic to your website, generally for the purpose of attracting customers, generating sales leads, or closing online sales (e-commerce).  These two Internet marketing disciplines are highly complementary; and most businesses utilize both in conjunction with email marketing, social marketing as part of an integrated online marketing program.

A SEO company improves your Google search engine ranking by making enhancements to your website structure, keywords, content, meta tags, inbound and outbound links (to and from your website).  This same methodology also applies to improving search engine results on the other major search engines: Yahoo!, Bing and Ask.  It is extremely important for your web pages’ listings to appear on Page One of the Google search results, because most people find what they’re looking for on the first page of the organic search results.  SEM services entail the creation and management of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns including bid and budget management, keyword selection and grouping, identification and application of negative keywords, and continuous monitoring and optimization of the Return on Ad Spend (ROAS).  PPC ads are found at the top and right margins (‘sponsored results’) of the SERPs; and every time someone clicks on your ad, you owe Google (or Bing, Yahoo! or Ask) the pay-per-click fee.  

SEO and SEM Conversions

A conversion is a specific action you want your website visitors to take, and the Conversion Rate (also known as Click Thru Rate or CTR) is the percentage of visitors which take this action when given the opportunity.  Typically online marketing programs identify a series of conversion actions which correspond to the steps in the sales cycle.  Examples of typical conversion actions would include:
  • Clicking on your web page’s entry in the organic search results
  • Clicking on your PPC ad (link to your website) in the sponsored results
  • Navigating to a specific page on your website
  • Requesting more product information
  • Signing up for a newsletter or email offers
  • Completing and submitting a Contact Form
  • Looking at an online video or product demo
  • Requesting a call from a salesperson
  • Making an online purchase

An SEO company or SEM services organization tracks these conversions to identify weaknesses in the online marketing process, and make search engine optimization enhancements or PPC campaign changes to increase the amount of website traffic, conversions and CTR.

Search Engine Optimization – Advantages and Disadvantages

SEO Benefits:
- Avoids Pay-Per-Click costs
- Creates a more lasting effect than SEM
- Enhances rankings on all search engines

SEO Drawbacks:
- Can take months to have an effect on organic search results
- No guarantee of Page One Google search engine ranking
- May require significant (and costly) changes to website structure and content

Search Engine Marketing – Plusses and Minuses
SEM Benefits:
- Immediate effect – PPC ad can generate traffic the first day
- Easy to calculate ROI and manage costs
- Does not require changes to website

SEM Drawbacks:

- Effect does not persist when ads stop
- Cost can be high, especially for highly competitive keywords
- Need separate program for each major search engine

SEO and SEM Recommendations
We recommend combining search engine marketing and search engine optimization in an integrated online marketing program – along with social marketing and email marketing.  Calculating the value of your key conversion actions (and accurately measuring the costs of SEO and SEM) enables you to allocate your marketing budget to the activities that give the best ROI.   Visit the Semantic Advantage website for more information on our Austin social marketing strategies, SEM program management, and Austin SEO services.


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Semantic Advantage, Inc. | 5035 McIntyre Circle | Austin, TX  78734 | (512) 799-7350