SEO versus Google AdWords

Having worked with a number of different companies, from small and medium sized
businesses to large multi-nationals, I have come to accept that they all have one
thing in common – a misunderstanding of Google search and how it actually works.
Obviously you will occasionally get the odd person who is more clued up in this field
than the rest, but generally, what I find is that clients will have some idea, but this
very general knowledge only goes so far.

I don’t blame them for their confusion around the very new industry we know as
online marketing. I liken it to a sport that is evolving daily, where nobody has taken
it upon themselves to explain the rules from the very start. So what you have is a
team of people who are effectively playing different games, and because they are
not sure how to score, they don’t know how to measure their performance. All they
know is they are working very hard, sometimes spending a lot of money, but not
getting the desired results at the end of the day.

The purpose of this blog is to demystify an industry that should never really have
become so complicated in the first place. Like anything, the more acronyms and
online hype and controversy it receives, the more dubious we feel, and you get
a situation where nobody is really sure who to trust to take care of their online
marketing. So, they end up trying to do it themselves, with little success because
they don’t have the right know-how, and this experience then adds to their negative
view of the industry as a whole. I don’t believe it should have to be that way. As
a magician back in my early 20s, trying to get more exposure for my business and
therefore more bookings, untainted by the belief that it was overly complicated,
I figured out the mechanics of Google by myself. Before I knew it, I was getting
traffic and bookings like I had never experienced before, and my friends who owned
businesses were asking me to do the same for them. That’s when my Brisbane-based
business, Sponsored Links, was born.

Internet marketing shouldn’t ever have become so complicated and misunderstood,
because it’s really quite straight forward once you know a few basic formulas. In
this first blog, I want to discuss the difference and inter-connection between Google
Adwords and SEO (search engine optimisation) as this is one of the most commonly
asked questions.

Despite some popular belief, Google Adwords and SEO are not the same thing, but
need to be used together in an effective online marketing campaign.

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the process of getting a website higher
visibility on the “organic” or natural search results on a search engine. This includes
image search, local search and Google Maps. If you were to type in, say, Brisbane
restaurants, a number of search results will appear based on those websites’
relevancy to your search words. This makes sense because, as someone wanting
to go out for a meal in Brisbane, it would be useless and frustrating for you if a
restaurant in Sydney or New York was the result of your search.

There are many aspects involved in successful SEO strategy. Content that is regularly
updated and contains the relevant search words is an important part of ensuring
your page is search engine optimised. It also gets quite technical and involved, and
includes things like Meta tags and descriptions, internal and external link building,
HTML coding and so on. I won’t go into any descriptions of these items and
strategies in this first blog. SEO can be very useful to some businesses as it means
they can generate leads that have little or no cost per acquisition, therefore giving a
much stronger return on their investment.

Google Adwords falls under a blanket category that those of us in the industry call
Search Engine Marketing (SEM). This term describes the process of getting a website
higher visibility on search engines through PPC (pay per click) advertising, such as
Google AdWords. It works like a bidding system for account holders, where they bid
on certain keyword phrases that they wish to display their ads.

Account holders determine how much they are willing to spend as a maximum per
click on a keyword phrase, and depending on the competitiveness of that keyword,
their spend per click is determined. In fact, various other aspects of SEM all play a
role in determining where your ads will appear on the PPC search results (the paid
listings that appear above the natural search results and to the left hand side). The
better your account has been set-up and maintained, the cheaper it is to appear
higher in the results.

Probably, the way I would suggest you consider SEO verses SEM is the difference
between editorial content and advertising content in a magazine. While they
appear in the same magazine and viewed by the same audience, they are managed
by entirely separate departments, are independent of one another, and their
effectiveness on the audience are dependent on other factors again. I will be
addressing these various elements in future blog posts, as well as case studies
of our own clients and the difference in their revenue and website traffic due to
an effective SEM campaign. For now, though, I would welcome any feedback,
comments or queries on SEO and SEM.

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