SEO and SEM-ophobia


You are not alone if you get nervous when someone starts using acronyms like SEO and SEM.




Most people don’t have the faintest idea what it all means, some profess to (and are making quite a bit of dough off the back of that skill), and others just talk it up and bamboozle everyone to avoid intense examination. The truth is it’s a changing universe so what we know today may change next month or next year… which begs the questions:

  1. when do we get on this ride, and;
  2. will I have to start over in a few months time?

To give you an overview, let’s focus on Google for a moment and how it works when you enter a search query. Firstly, it doesn’t start with the query itself, Google is constantly sending out “google-bots” to collect information from websites around the world and provide them with a rank. There are many things considered when ranking sites – the quality and depth of content, links from other websites, speed, information indexes, search terms, location, etc, and top of all these factors for Google now is Mobile responsiveness.

To understand the way ranking works is fundamental to understanding SEO – search engine optimisation (getting on that first page of the search results) and SEM – search engine marketing (increasing your visibility through search engine results primarily via advertising).


In order to consistently return a good rank, you need to start with your website – is it mobile responsive? How’s your load speed? Is it easy to navigate and does it provide enough content? How would you rate it’s content quality in terms of three main criteria: does it offer expertise?; does it demonstrate authority? (ie, are other sites referencing your publications or directing traffic to you?); and is it a trustworthy source?


These are the key factors to consider when looking to boost your rank.

You can also have some real fun with analytics. Stay with me… It’s fairly straightforward to use analytics to decipher which content on your site is returning good rankings. If you notice you are stronger in some areas, make some adjustments. You want to ensure consistency around keywords that sum up what you do best – the reason you want to be found – to improve your chances. We’d recommend testing this to see what gets the best results and keeping an eye on it – you need to ensure you are offering current content that is aligned with your primary focus right now.

SEM is a bigger picture and encapsulates the whole strategy behind your digital marketing – primarily it’s when you take SEO and add a little bit of PPC (seriously, just having fun with you now). Pay Per Click is targeted advertising which appears on relevant google searches but, as it sounds, you only pay if a user clicks to find out more. It sounds like a no-brainer but obviously needs sound strategy and relevant content to be successful.

With any marketing initiative or activity, be sure your focus is firmly on your brand, your audience and their behaviour. An impressive SEM strategy might bring people to your door but they won’t even knock if your content is not consistent, compelling and relevant. And they certainly won’t bother to stick around if they feel unwelcome, are kept waiting or are not invited to learn more that may assist them. It’s important that your visitors arriving via SEM vehicles feel they have landed in the right place. Make sure you have a custom landing page specific to each campaign to help capture leads and provide statistics to justify your Return on Investment (ROI).


If you are hungry for more, we’ve included some great references and youtube videos below. Or get in touch, we’d love to hear what’s on your agenda.



The Seven Myths of Search Engine Marketing

How to Grow your Business with SEM

How Search Works

Getting Started with Google Analytics