Starting at the bottom of the mountain and working our way up, I’ll give some need to know terms and acronyms that will definitely improve your knowledge of digital marketing.
Let’s get to it!
I’ll start with search engine marketing (paid), or SEM for short. When you understand that many customers are using search engines (mostly Google) to discover products and services that they need, you can begin to see why it is important to have an online presence that can easily be searched for and discovered. There are two ways to go about marketing through search engines, either paid or unpaid. The term SEO refers to search engine optimization (unpaid) which means the website has been designed properly, it is easy for the search engine to “crawl”, follows best practices which include a number of things to shoot for in order to be ranked higher. Factors that contribute to the page rank in a search engine are involved with popularity and shares, of course relevancy to the search phrase too. Using social media as a tool to increase shares of specific content or the website as a whole can ultimately be described as search engine optimization or SEO for short. One important thing to remember with SEO is that you also have to stay up to date with the best practices. However, a professionally built website with a proper domain name, clear page characteristics, and relevant information will generally appear as long as it also has been actively updated and is fairly popular. Outbound links to authority figures on the specific topic can also optimize the website for a search engine, as Google uses this as one of the many factors contributing to PageRank.
I definitely recommend checking out this SEO resource for determining what factors contribute to your website’s ranking on Google. It is a comprehensive checklist of 200 things to think about when optimizing a website for Google’s PageRank algorithm. It is incredibly important to have a keyword strategy in mind when optimizing your website.
Going back to SEM now, think of this as the paid portion of ranking your page on a search engine. A business can advertise on the search engine result page (SERP) in a way that captures potential customers who are Googling certain related phrases or words. Businesses can pay-per-click (PPC) when a user visits their advertised link. This allows a business to develop a budget based on the amount unique visitors, rather than impressions. It also makes it easier to stay within a set budget, because once the budget is reached for the day/week/month the ad will no longer run. You can see in the picture below that the top 4 results are all paid advertisements by companies wishing to target consumers who Google the words “craft beer”.
Paid Advertisements on SERP
You’ve seen how companies can place paid advertisements on the search engine result page using the method above. Now we’ll look into an SEO, and see what websites have done well depending on the search terms. Once again you can see the paid advertisement at the top of the results. I have also been Googling trade/investment related topics, which has been stored and used to materialize an advertisement that may be more relative to myself. The thing to pay attention to here is the map. Google, using my general location, can provide accurate results within a specific geographic area. If you want to get your business on the Google map, it is a matter of creating a Google+ account and entering all the correct information. The Regal Seagull has done a better job optimizing their Google+ account for the search term “craft beer”.
Getting on the map!
SEO is Unpaid
It is quite reasonable to get the following results when Googling “craft beer”. Website domain name is the most important aspect of PageRank. The first two results are literally the search term with .com added on. In the first result, it actually says craft beer twice, which strengthens the chance of this page being the number one result. I’ll go back to craftbeer.com in a moment, but for now let’s examine the other results. A wikipedia page for “Microbrewery” appears in the third position. Those three results are followed by craft beer “in the news” then “images for craft beer” and more results that are relative to my location.
Having pictures on a website that are of craft beer and titled something like craftbeer.jpg with the caption of “Enjoying some craft beer” will increase the chances of appearing when a user Googles the term “craft beer”. Yelp and TripAdvisor are essentially platforms for modern word-of-mouth communication to take place. So it makes sense that they would appear on the first result page when searching for a consumer good like beer/craft beer.
This website is the number one result through Google after searching “craft beer”. After a quick trip to their page one can see the search term, “craft beer”, written at least 14 times. They have pictures relating to craft beer, titles that also relate to craft beer, and the website looks to be properly designed.
The website has an easy to share format for social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit, which will ultimately increase the site’s popularity and in turn rank it higher on the SERP. Each share acts as an inbound link from the social media platform to the website, resulting in a better ranking with Google. Capitalizing on share-ability is a “major key” (Dj Khaled) for anyone seriously thinking about SEO.
Go find a website that is ranked number 1 on the search engine result page for Google, or another search engine, and examine what makes it unique compared to the other results. Be sure to have the checklist open as well, I will post it again here. I did not create this checklist, but I agree with what is said in the posting.
As always, stay tuned for more postings and if you like what you see don’t forget to sign up to receive my posts through email right here! I hope you learned from this and didn’t just get thirsty for craft beer!
A little refresher of the terms we’ve covered here.
SEM: Search Engine Marketing
SEO: Search Engine Optimization
PPC: Pay Per Click
SERP: Search Engine Results Page