Monday, April 23, 2007

Search Engine Marketing in Sarasota

Sarasota is a great place to live and there are many successful businesses in the area, but I have to explain Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and/or Search Engine Optimization (SEO) over and over because people are unaware of what these things are and they are unaware of how important they are.

If a business wants visibility on the Internet they have to optimize their web site(s). Visibility means more traffic and more traffic means a better ROI.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

The goal of SEM is to use various marketing methods to increase a web site’s visibility on at least the three major search engines- Google, Yahoo! & MSN. SEM also focuses on marketing a company effectively. Search Engine Marketing methods can include Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay-Per-Click (Google AdWords & Yahoo! Search Marketing), Video Marketing and Paid Inclusion.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO strategies are created to increase the traffic of a one’s web site by trying to increase the ranking of a web site within the search results of a search engine. Think about this- when you type a search term into Google how many pages do you look through to find what you are looking for? 1? 2? Maybe 3? Normally people will not look beyond the first few pages UNLESS they are looking for something that is hard to find. Businesses want to be on the 1st page of Google (or somewhere very close) for search phrases that relate to their site. That is what Search Engine Optimization is for.

Search Engine Optimizers understand that people want to show up at the top of search engines for a variety of search phrases. In creating a strategy, your SEO specialist will have to research keywords/keyword phrases, examine competing web sites, look at how often certain search phrases are used, determine which search phrases are more effective than others, create a unique SEO plan for every page on the site, make sure a site is properly coded, ensure that a proper XML sitemap is in place, have an SEO Copywriter create content or have them edit the content…I could keep going.

An SEO strategy should not be noticeable to anyone but the search engines (and people who optimize). Title-tags, meta descriptions, meta keywords, URLs, meta tags, names of uploadable files, anchor text, headlines, links and the names of images can all be, and should be, optimized for every page of your site. This can be a very long process depending on the size of the site, but it does pay off (if you pay someone that knows what they are doing.

Spiders or Bots

Spiders or Bots are sent from the search engines to scan your site and determine whether or not your site is coded properly (if it isn’t the bots can’t keep scanning). They look at your source page and the algorithms look at the words that are focused on in all of the areas I listed in the above paragraph. The first thing they look at (keyword wise) is the title-tag, then the meta description, meta keywords and content. When these areas focus on keyword phrases, the search engines notice. If these areas are supported by optimized meta tags, URLs, names of upload-able files, anchor text, headlines and the names of images the bots/search engines could index you under that phrase. They may or may not depending on the popularity of the search phrase. For example, the search phrase “Sarasota Real Estate” brings up so many sites!!! Many of the sites on page 1 and 2 of Google have been there a very long time and will most likely not lose their placement. To suddenly show up on Google for that phrase would be a miracle.

Please the Search Engines and Please the Web Visitors

Web sites have two important jobs:

1), Please the search engines to gain traffic (SEO)
2). Please the web visitors so they will invest in the products or services sold on the web site.

SEO Copywriters can help you with your optimization and write copy that will not only please the web visitors, but also have your SEO strategy integrated into the copy. A clear and easy to use navigation is important to web visitors. They do not want to work to find what they are looking for and they don’t need to; they can just back out of your site and find it elsewhere. Colors that are easy on the eyes are also very important. “Some Basic Website Psychology to Consider When Designing a Website” goes into these areas in more depth.


SEM and SEO are both important. Some people do not have the money for Pay-Per-Click and/or Paid Inclusion and that is fine. You do not have to have these things to be successful, but you do need optimization, copy that sells and a happy web visitor. More SEO information will be coming soon…..

Melissa Fach- Panaca Writing & Design

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