Many people mistakenly mix up this term with SEO (search engine optimization), but these are two different concepts. SEO is part of SEM, but there’s much more to it. SEM also includes using the search engines’ ad networks and other forms of advertising to target search engine users.
Once you’ve chosen your keywords, you optimize your site for them (SEO) and take out ads that target these keywords. Search engine ad networks let you bid on keywords and decide on your budget. They place ads on people’s searches depending on these factors.
SEM also helps you when you want to dominate the search engine results pages (SERPs) for your chosen keywords. By basing your SEM campaign around those keywords, you can make sure that the search engines place you at the top.
The main drawback of SEM is that it takes constant attention, maintenance, and talent. Everything changes quickly online. The search engines (and especially Google) update their algorithms constantly, and you have to stay on top of these changes. If you rely too much on search engines for your traffic, one of these changes can seriously impact your business.
- Keyword Research: Do you know which keywords are the most important to your practice? Are you sure? It’s incredible how many professionals settle on primary keywords that offer little to no traffic or are simply out of reach. Take a break sometime soon to use Google’s Keyword Planner and explore what generic and local keyword variations offer the best value. Unless you’ve done this in depth before, the results should surprise you.
- SEO Site Audit: Run your practice’s website through at least a couple of SEO site audits and see if you have any low hanging fruit that you can easily fix. If you aren’t sure where to start, the most important on-site SEO element to make sure that you have right is the page title tag for your primary pages. Two decent free audits to try out include Hubspot’s Website Grader and Neil Patel’s Site Analyzer.
We’ve filtered through the best of what is available to provide you with actionable advice in our Deep Dive recommendations that are from the most trusted resources and are designed specifically to promote professional services like yours.
Beginner’s Guide to SEO
When it comes to finding the right SEO strategies for your business, it’s important to understand that there is something of an echo chamber out there where a lot of questionable and dated marketing advice gets shared without much knowledge or testing behind it.
If you are new to SEO or have struggled to get good results, do yourself a favor and spend some time with Moz’s super thorough Beginner’s Guide to SEO. It offers an excellent explanation of every aspect of what you need to be successful in this area.