SEO SEM and Online MarketingThe world continues (at an astonishing rate) to become more connected. Every year more and more people move their spending online. These are very exciting times if you sell goods or services. Before the Internet if you owned a clothing store, how would you drive traffic to your store? Local newspaper ads, maybe some radio or television and possibly that dude on the corner with the funny arrow going up and down? How many people could fit in your store, 50, 60? The Internet not only gives you more ways to drive traffic than ever before, but gives your store an unlimited capacity.

In the eighties before the Web, you still had a lot of work to do to get people in your store; this hasn\’t changed. The arrow guy might have gone away but the hard work is still necessary, although now it\’s about learning a whole new skill set.

Millions upon millions of people are searching every day for everything you can possibly imagine and something\’s you can\’t. For example, we wrote a blog article which included the phrase \”upcoming cell phones\”. As a result we are #1 in Google if you search for this term. I cannot tell you how much traffic this phrase brings us. It is amazing. This isn\’t something we planned and we had no idea this would bring the kind of traffic that it has, but that is the power of search engines.

Google is my home page and my gateway to the Internet. The goals have clearly changed and nowadays it\’s all about showing up in a search engine. People find you through their searches, and the more traffic you get, the more money you make. It\’s really that simple. This holds true for all of the Web-based business models, including paid subscription, free but supported by ads, and ecommerce selling goods/services.

There are three fundamental things you need to be doing to ensure your success today, which can be broken into the following categories Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM), and Online Marketing. If you are looking for tips on how to optimize your site, then this article is not for you. I am not here to discuss the science but more so to clearly explain what these things are, how they affect each other, and point out a few things you need to be doing.

Search Engine Optimization: If you want to show up in search engines, then you need an optimized site. Clean code that is WC3 compliant, XML site maps, and keywords that are added in just the right places and mentioned the right amount of times are all things you need to do for a well optimized site.

Search Engine Marketing: Spending money on ads that show up when someone searches for a keyword (other wise know as pay-per-click aka PPC) is a form of search engine marketing.

Online Marketing: This is a pretty broad term but I like to define online marketing as anything type of Web-based marketing outside of a search engine such as link exchanges, recommendations, directory listings, banner advertising etc\”¦

Every company needs to have a solid strategy for all 3 things. Depending upon the size of your company, I recommend a full time person for each of one of these things, but if you cannot afford it, you definitely need at least one full time person for SEO and SEM, and another for online marketing. I got very fortunate in finding a really good person who can manage SEO and SEM but even he will tell you they are different skills sets and need his full attention on a constant basis. If he had his way, he would probably just stick to one area of focus. Before you jump in with both feet you need to know three very important things:

    1. You need a Short, Medium and Long Term plan
    2. You need to have clear set goals and stick to your deadlines
    3. You need to start on everything yesterday!

In Part two of my post, I will discuss how to manage your short, mid, and long term plans, as well as give you some great suggestions on how to be successful. Stay tuned\”¦

Jared Reitzin
Social Entrepreneurship Blog