#GuruChats Highlights – My SEM, My SEO, My Business

Guess a technical chat on search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO) cannot beat a scrumptious turkey! Happy Thanksgiving everyone; and it was amazing to have all the GuruChatters who made it to the chat. Our expert of the day, Elena Terentyeva elucidated interesting insights, views and tips on whether or not:

  • business owners should know search engine algorithm updates
  • SEM is the same as SEO and if not then what’s the difference
  • outsourcing vs. in-house for SEM and SEO should be your concern
  • there can be a best advice one deciding which is better

This #GuruChats was chockfull with more than this. Our wonderful and devoted guests Jade Alberts and James Bowen shared helpful strategies on how entrepreneurs can use search marketing to optimize their business online. Melissa Reyes brought a new perspective to the table and what a sport in spreading the word about our chat.

Our Expert of the Day

Elena Terentyeva, Product Marketing Manager at SEMrush, has over nine years of experience in journalism, content marketing and public relations. At the moment, she works with one of the world’s leading digital marketing and competitive intelligence firm.

Without further ado, let’s dig in.

Difference between SEO and SEM

No matter how many times you explain, there is always some confusion between the two and they are often used interchangeably. SEO and SEM are not quite the same; although a) they both fall under the search marketing umbrella, and b) search engine optimization is in fact a part of search engine marketing but not vice versa. It is also important to note that just because one is paid, it doesn’t necessarily mean the other is always free.

There are indirect costs such as paying for a full-fledged tool or for a professional to do the tasks for you unless you use the free options (that are not always accurate) and instead of hiring anyone you do everything yourself (not an ideal solution).

The difference between SEO and SEM is the same as the difference between (inbound) marketing and advertising. In search engine optimization (if done right) you’re not being intrusive, while in search engine marketing you’re “paying” your way up the SERPs.

Also Explore: Back to School SEO

SEO and SEM Strategies

Once you’re clear in your head about the differences and similarities between the two practices, it is important to carefully apply them. For this, business owners need to know at least the major search engine algorithm updates. While the talk of the town is Google updates like

search engine market share pie chart

Source: Net Market Share

Search engines want business owners and marketers to be aware of and use algorithm updates as a blueprint for planning both long-term and short-term SEO and SEM strategies.

SEM Strategies

  • Get indexed with top search engines. For example use Google Sitemaps to get listed on with the search giant Google.
  • Get your keywords for paid search. Purchase keywords and key phrases to rank higher on the SERPs.
  • Measure click share of each and every channel you’re using. With paid click percentage (PPC), cost per click (CPC) and cost per impression (CPM) advertisers can trace their efforts, identify loopholes and recreate strategies.
  • Create search ads specifically targeting mobile users. Study the standard text advert requirements by search engines beforehand.

SEO Strategies

  • Engage in quality link building on valuable content. Make sure the websites you deal with have a good domain authority and don’t use black hat seo practices.
  • Optimize for mobile browsing and voice These two are not simply contemporary trends but a perquisite of this digital age.
  • Use descriptive and relevant keywords in URLs – but keep it short and simple. A concise Uniform Resource Locator makes links manageable, shareable and easily traceable.
  • Improve user-experience with befitting metadata and appropriate content. It is important to make your website/blog easy-to-find; and to give users what they’re looking for.

SEO and SEM Learning Resources

While there are several books written on search engine optimization and search engine marketing, I’ll list down some of the most supportive online resources you can use anytime and for free to help your business.

Search Engine Land – all about SEO, SEM, mobile and local search.

Search Engine Journal – everything you need to know about SEO skills, algorithms and keywords.

Search Engine Watch – practical guides and trends for professional to invest in PPC and SEO.

SEMrush – beginner to professional insights about the search engine optimization industry.

Whiteboard Friday – practical tips to help your business grow and garner leads via online.

Google Search Console Help – fundamentals about search console and search-friendly content.

Kissmetrics – tips and tricks of website and business optimization online.

Alltop – top news and posts about search marketing.

Neil Patel Blog – heuristic strategies and tips for businesses to implement SEO.

Apart from these our guests shared some interesting ways, people and places to learn all about search marketing.

Top SEO and SEM Mistakes

If you’re not new to search marketing you may have heard about black hat and white hat. Well, these are very different from the six thinking hats theory so don’t be confused. Let’s explore what activities fall under the two.

Black Hat

  • Keyword Stuffing inserting as many keywords as possible into content whether or not they make sense.
  • Link Farmsa website created with the sole purpose to increase the no. of sites that link to you.
  • Cloaking giving the user something different from what he/she intends to find in the metadata provided.

White Hat

  • Unique and Useful Content – both search engines and users love fresh ideas, tips, insights and problem-solving content.
  • Responsive and Mobile Web Design – people use mobile devices like iPad, laptop and smartphone to search and these are all to places to optimize for.
  • Guest Blogging – better way to earn backlinks is to write captivating and interesting content, and get it published on top domains.

Remember that search engines have become smart, especially with artificial intelligence and data analytics so trying to deceive them and your users is a waste of time, money and effort.

Outsourcing vs. In-house SEM and SEO

There is no right or wrong in this. It all depends on what suits you best – if you’re good at search marketing yourself then you don’t need extra helping hands. It is also a matter of preference because some business owners want to delegate work and some like doing it on their own. Our guests shared some helpful tips.

Should Businesses Invest in SEO and/or SEM?

You don’t necessarily need SEM, especially if you’re a small business or a startup. You can reap many benefits by doing organic search marketing that is search engine optimization. There are several tools and professional (to hire) who can fix your business website and blog.

On the other hand, if you can afford SEM then it is too an option. Just remember that over 70% of all clicks are received by results on the first page of Google via organic clicks.

At the end, you have to assess what benefits your global or local business the most, and how much money you have allocated in total for search marketing.

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A visual design blogger passionate about interactive, experiential and captivating techniques designers, marketers and brands use to accentuate messages, tell stories, and spread awareness. I’m a visual addict like Alice, who finds books (or anything) without pictures boring! My writings focus on graphic and web design, branding, and visual marketing. My hobbies are to write poems, draw zentangles, read mysteries, and watch YouTube videos.

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