Brands have been executing search engine marketing for over 20 years now, however, the question still on every marketer’s mind, is how can I improve performance on search ads? Is the answer search engine optimisation? Or search engine marketing? One of the reasons this is still a ‘hot’ topic is Google. As one of the largest search engine providers around the world, they are still keeping search and ad ranking algorithms tightly wrapped meaning the only way marketers are able to get any answers is by speaking with other marketers.
So what SEO and SEM tactics are working for marketers? Digital agency, Econsultancy recently held a roundtable discussion, gathering dozens of marketers where they discussed their own SEO/SEM struggles as well as their successes and insights and below we give you an overview on what they found.
Many came to agree that SEO is still an important part of any brand with many investing in SEO with the objective of increasing website traffic and top-of-funnel acquisition. Many of the challenges marketers are facing is convincing IT teams to be as enthusiastic in optimising websites for search engine optimisation. Attendees noted that there are three main things which marketers need to focus on when ensuring that their web pages are SEO integrated, these include the relevance of the content, the accessibility of the sections on the website and ensuring the website itself is up to date.
In regards to off-page SEO, all agreed that links to your content from high-quality sites were essential for maintaining high rankings on search engines, if backlinks are to be used on the other hand, marketers need to devise strategies to encourage them as they are notoriously difficult to establish. One strategy suggestion which was mentioned included having multiple sites, each linked to each other. Another suggested that sponsored content should be published onto public media and highly rated blogs, it was also noted that Wikipedia can also be used to boost search engine rankings through links to brand sites, despite them having ‘nofollow’ tags. One way to encourage backlinks includes collaborating with partners and clients on mutual backlinks in a way that can indicate a relationship or collaboration otherwise known as ‘backlink bartering’. However, this strategy doesn’t come without its risks as you could incur an SEO penalty as a result.
A risk-free practice among marketers is to produce user-generated content linking back to the brand site or landing page, this provides a greater SEO authority and an increase of traffic to your site.
What about Search engine marketing?
The main argument for SEM was whether brands should have unique search ad campaigns or have an ongoing strategy, many stated that the ongoing tactic is the most popular however brands will generally integrate the unique approach during holidays or seasonal events.
Are SEO and SEM integrated?
In conclusion, the attendees discussed whether search was really integrated or whether both SEO and SEM were two separate disciplines. All participants were in agreement that the two are very closely linked with SEM helping SEO by raising site ranking on Search engines by increasing site traffic and backlinks, once this traffic has hit a certain level, the marketers found that SEO can help to reduce spending on SEM.
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