Website marketing fundamentals
If you are marketing a website, you should familiarize yourself with the following core concepts:
SEO / organic listings
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing a website to appear prominently in search engine results without paying for them.
For example, if your website sells wine, you might use SEO to appear in Google for searches like “buy red wine” or “best wine shop”. People making these searches would likely be good potential customers for you.
When done effectively, SEO results in a steady stream of relevant visitors to your website at no marginal cost. This can make SEO highly cost-effective, but depending on your market, it can also be very difficult.
SEO typically requires a combination of research, content generation, UX, and technical optimization. In short: you need to become the best website for the searches you want to rank for. Silktide helps you break SEO down into actionable steps and automate them where possible.
SEM / paid listings
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a type of marketing designed to make websites appear prominently in search engine results, by paying for listings. It has the same end result as SEO, but instead of competing for website quality, you compete by bidding on the keywords you want.
This is often known as Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, as you pay the search engine for each ‘click’ your ads receive – or more accurately, each visitor they bring to your website. This is a powerful form of advertising as you only pay when your advert is used.
With PPC you normally set an ongoing budget for ads and set the maximum you’re willing to pay per click. Search engines learn which adverts are most effective and consider both this and the amount you bid. So smart marketers can get a lot more out of their budget by optimizing their ads effectively.
SEM typically involves a lot of research, advert experimentation, and data analysis. Unlike SEO, it also requires an ongoing budget.
Getting visitors to your website is no use if they don’t ultimately convert into the objectives your organization needs. A conversion for you might be a new sales lead, a completed passport application, or an online purchase, but whatever it is you should (a) measure it and (b) optimize for it relentlessly.
To measure your conversions you need to define them in your analytics software (e.g. Google Analytics), usually as a “goal”. You can then work backwards from your conversions to identify what campaigns and sources resulted in the most conversions, and at what conversion rate.
Optimizing for conversions usually requires heavy use of A/B testing, multivariate testing, and User Experience (UX) design.
Unless your organization only sells one-time purchases to customers instantly on their first visit, you will want to explore means to increase your retention or the number of visitors you can bring back to your website over time.
Common approaches include encouraging users to sign up for an email list or to follow you on social media, and advertising retargeting. These approaches tend to have some of the highest returns in digital marketing, as it is relatively low cost to target a small group, and that group tends to be disproportionately more engaged with your products or services.