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By Paul Parcellin, Staff Writer
January 18, 2016

Many marketers concentrate on search engine optimization (SEO), and their goal is to bring their pages to the top of search engine results pages (SERPs). That’s a worthwhile goal to pursue, but what comes next after you’ve reached to top position in searches? 

If you’ve focused on nothing but search engine algorithms, your strategy may have become too technical and lacking in the human element. That’s where Search Engine Marketing (SEM) comes in. SEM considers what visitors are seeking out, what made them click on certain links, and most important, how visitor can be converted to customers.

Here are a few SEO and SEM ideas to consider when you’re thinking about your digital marketing strategy.

Valuable Descriptions

You may think that Meta descriptions are not worth the effort, but you’d wrong about that. Google stopped using Meta descriptions to rank pages about six years ago. So, many webmasters assume that Meta descriptions are passé. They may not influence search engine rankings, but they are still a valuable way to get visitors onto your site and persuade them to click.

Think of the Meta description as an opportunity to tell the world what you’re about. With it, you can inform people about your brand and what you are selling. Don’t write bland copy – this is your chance to write intriguing information that will interest prospects and compel them to come to your site. You’ll also want to use terms that are relevant to the searches that your prospects are likely to make.

You can leave the Meta description section blank, and search engines will simply use text from your pages to fill in the slot. That probably won’t be a problem for you, but it’s better for you to control exactly which targeted search terms will be used.

Bounce vs Conversion

Some SEO service providers will report to you that your site is showing up in the top position on search engine results pages (SERPs). That may seem impressive at first, because what could be better that being number 1?

But if you examine the results a little more closely you may find that the keyword that’s being used is not so relevant to your site. You have to look at it and determine whether or not that keyword is really going to attract the visitors who you want most.

You’ll soon discover that a number 1 ranking with a not very relevant keyword is not nearly as good as getting the same results with a keyword that prospects are likely to search. If SEO is overshadowing your SEM, you may find that your traffic improves but your conversions don’t increase.

The marketer trying to reach corporate technology clients may instead be attracting home technology users and therefore missing the big fish that he or she is trying to turn into a prospect.

Keyword differences can be subtle, and slight variations can produce much different results. It takes research and experimentation to find the right balance of keywords that produce the results that you’re after.

You must also think about whether or not the content you’re presenting is interesting to your visitors. It’s important that the page the visitor is directed toward will provide the information that he or she is seeking. Information that you present to visitors must be relevant to the visitor, and that’s part of how Google ranks pages. Google’s assumption is that those who stay on the page are likely finding the information that they are looking for. Conversely, those returning to the search results are probably not finding what they want. When you ensure that your content is useful and relevant you help to reduce your bounce rate and improve your standing with search engines.


You won’t likely improve your search engine rankings by using PPC advertising. Search engines are attuned to organic search results and they reward sites with higher rankings for bringing in those kinds of visitors.

Many people may not be aware of the difference of a top ad presented on SERPs and a top ranking that is an organic search result. But your main concern is capturing qualified traffic, so it may make sense to use a PPC budget to drive traffic to your site. The important thing is reaching the kinds of visitors that you are after, and how you get them to your site, either through organic search or PPC doesn’t matter – the result’s the same.

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