On the Internet, where everyone can hear you scream, your screams will only be loud enough if Google thinks they should be. This is where Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing come in.
What’s a marketer to do?
Aside from the obvious (contact The Answer Guy About Search Engine Optimization), the answer starts with understanding the difference between SEO and SEM. Search Engine Optimization is when you get Google to find you organically in search terms, and Search Engine Marketing is when you buy placement, such as through Google using Adwords.
SEO and SEM are similar, and certainly related, but they’re different enough that we have staff members with differing expertise to do our clients’ Search Engine Optimization and their Search Engine Marketing. Now here’s the kicker:
Unless you get your SEO in order, your SEM won’t work.
This is an amazing idea. Open up an Adwords account and offer Google a higher amount for right-side-and-top-of-page-in-that-shaded-box placement than anyone else, and you’d think you’d get the ranking you were trying to buy. You’d be wrong. Sure, Google is an advertising company and wants higher and higher fees for their precious ad space, but because they’re also looking to be “relevant” they turn down higher bids in favor of lower ones if they believe the lower ones “will serve you better”.
Or at least that’s what Google wants us to believe. Get just a touch cynical on the matter and you realize that while there might be a grain of truth to that position Google’s real incentive is to maintain the appearance of a credible separation of church and state when governments come calling with anti-trust allegations. That’s one Secret Sauce, indeed!
As you can see in the picture above, one of my Facebook buddies got excited yesterday when his wife’s interior design business achieved shaded-box Google search rankings. I pointed out to him that while he had every reason to be proud of her for this not-insignificant success, perhaps she should be even prouder of him (he’s a writer and editor, so I’m guessing he was involved) for having made the pages on her web site good enough to qualify for high search engine marketing relevance by doing search engine optimization for her.
Sounds like this whole thing moves in a circle, right? You bet it does.
The reason I talk about SEO, aside from hoping you’ll Hire The Answer Guy to Do Your Search Engine Optimization, is because SEO has become a real-people issue. And long-tail marketing has become the most important thing you can do to make sure your SEO efforts work. Want proof? Just look at these numbers.
So, hey . . . nice job getting your St. Louis Interior Design firm into a position to pay Google for clicks. Now the question is: how are you going to stay there?