Traditional advertising may have been a mainstay for businesses over the last few centuries, but the decades following the year 2000 have seen the birth of emarketing. Not only does it operate differently to traditional marketing, it’s based on an entirely different paradigm. Whereas print ads, TV ads and billboards push customers to buy their products, emarketing strives to pull customers in. It’s subtler and far less annoying. Emarketing is also all about making it as easy as possible for people searching the internet for a solution to their problems to find you. This is where search engine optimisation (SEO) and paid search come in.
Successful SEO relies on high quality, relevant content: things money can’t buy.
The main goal of SEO is to get your website – the face of your brand – to the top of the Google search results. The way search engines generate results is by scanning the web for the keyword or keyphrase you have typed into it. That said, the search engine doesn’t just promote websites with the highest number of keywords in it (otherwise it would be a simple case of copy and pasting “graphic designer in Johannesburg” a thousand times on your webpage to get to the top!). Google uses algorithms to check for quality and relevance. If you are found guilty of ‘’keyword stuffing” your page gets demoted, so to speak.
It takes high quality content that utitilises your keyword, plus links that connect to your site, to pass Google’s quality test. This is strategy (how) and content (what) coming together to make sure people end up at your site, turning potential buyers into actual buyers – justifying your emarketing budget. You don’t pay for SEO: it’s organic, as you’re naturally cultivating a high Google ranking.
Paid search is a powerful way to make sure people searching for your keywords see your website.
Paid search is a useful and effective companion to SEO in any emarketing strategy. You will have seen paid ads: they appear at the top of search results, underneath the search bar. To use paid search, you must decide which keywords you wish to target, for example, “affordable graphic designer”, depending on how many times a month they are searched for – there’s no point trying to rank for a phrase that is never searched for. Next, you decide how much you are willing to pay. Your final rank will be determined by how many other people are bidding for that keyword and how much their maximum bid is set at. The higher your bid in comparison, the higher you’ll be ranked. However, Google’s quality checks still apply here.
There is a time and a place for both SEO and paid search – very often together.
SEO strategy is a more long-term solution to promote your brand or business as a whole. The secret here is quality and regularity: you’ve got to be adding new, relevant content all the time to keep at the top of search results. Paid search, on the other hand, is great for promoting a specific product, a short-term offer or a sale. It can also be used while you are still waiting for your organic SEO strategy to take effect.
Emarketing is a broad term used to encompass a variety of tactics you can deploy to boost your web traffic and turn visitors into leads. SEO and paid search are two such tactics – besides content strategy, social media, blogging and ecommerce – that can reap huge returns on investment when used in the right context.