Search Engine marketing (SEM),  
is a type of internet marketing that involves the promotion of your business website by increasing its visibility in the PAID AD area of search engine results pages. This is most often achieved through search engine or social media "pay-per-click" advertising.  These ads can start and stop as needed, sometimes used seasonal or for special promotions.  PPC can be especially costly if done incorrectly, or without testing or monitoring.  PPC is most often used in hightly competitive business industries.  SEM is different than SEO, but often confused or used interchangeably.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO), is the process of affecting the visibility of your Business Website and Google Business Page.  Search engine optimization impacts how how your business ranks for relevant searches.  The order or placement of your business rank in search engine results pages is referred to as SERPS. (Search Engine Results Pages) SEO is an on-going endeavor which must stay focused on current best practices, industry standards and algorithm updates. Competition can impact SEO, as well as marketplace changes and other factors.  In Organic SEO, Organic means, "natural," or "un-paid."  The most beneficial search focus for small-mid sized business is Local SEO.  Although this strategy is on-going, it is still a cost effective and efficient marketing strategy that can yield a huge growth in business with minimal risk. 


1.  On-Page SEO:  Title Tags, Meta-Descriptions and Headers are very important.  Each page should have a specific focus which is refelcted in on-page SEO.  SEO plugins, such as Yoast in Wordpress, are a great place to start.  However, this should be temporary as strategic and knowledgeable human intervention will be far more effective.  

2.  URL Structure:  Single domain name and location specific URL's will help your sites quality score and enhance your business brand.  Make sure that the heirarchy of your URL structure makes sense for search engines and people alike.   Submit and keep your sitemaps updated with Google.  Each page URL should reflect the content on the page. 

3.  Add Relevant Content: People and search engines are looking for detailed, relevant and interesting content.  The more closely your content matches what people are searching for, the better.  Bullet point information if needed, then provide links to more specific pages.  Bigger sites that provided deeper levels of content appear higher in SERP's. 

4.  Keywords & Anchor Text:  No surpise that keywords are important, especially long-tail keywords are best.  Optimize the use of keywords but don't try and keyword stuff your website pages.  Google will penalize you for doing this.  Do your research, evaluate your market, ask your customers, and find relevant keywords using Google's Keyword Tool.  Be sure to use the important keywords as anchor text, again, to deeper content.

5.  Photos & Videos: People and search engines like photos & videos to make content more interesting.  Google will even serve up a video in search results!  For humans, photos & videos are "eye-catching."  But search engines cannot "see" photos.  So, don't forget to add alt tag descriptions for a little added benefit.  And yes, alt tags are different than captions.  It's about the details...and how everything connects together to create a meaningful flow of data.

6.  Links:  Internally, your website should link from one page to other relevant pages to offer the user the ease of finding deeper and related content.  External links to and from your website need to connect to other relevant, high traffic, spam-free websites. Monitor your links through Google Search Console to ensure they are helping, and not hurting your sites domain authority.

7.  Citations:  Citations are valuable mentions of your business across the internet, and a key components of the ranking algorithms for search engines.  Some citations are social, but not all.  (Google Maps, Google Plusc, FB, Yelp, Bing, Yahoo, HotFrog, Superpages, Linkedin, Judy's Book, Localez, Angies List, etc.)  Also place your business citation in Yellow Pages, and Yellow Book but be wary if these companies offer to perform SEO or build citaitons for you.    

8.  NAP:  (Name/Address/Phone) Ensure that your company information across is accurate and cohesive across the internet, aligned with how your business information appears on Google Maps.  There are five main aggregators that send info to local search engines: Infogroup, Neustar Localeze, Acxiom, Factual & Foursquare.

9.  Reviews:  Encourage customers, clients, and other people in your network of products and services to place a review for your business on a high citation review site. Gaining real reviews, especially on Google Maps, is an inexpensive way to build your brand, and you'll be surprise at how it can also impact SEO. 

10.  Speed:  You, me...your future cutsomers...we are are all impatient.  We live in a world which is "on the go" and needy for speed.  If it takes too long for your server to upload your site, or if images and plugins are slowing down page load time, it will absolutely be a game changer for your business.  Make it a habit to check site speed routinely, and it' important fto monitor both desktop and mobile!  

Algorithms This is what Google uses to determine page rank.  (It's basically a mathematical equation that determines how relevant your site is to a search query.)  There are many simple and complex factors involved in an algorithm.  (Google changes or updates 500-600 times per year!)  

Social Media Sites & Content Marketing 

Google+, Youtube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter....all served up in search results, especially searches for your business name.  Add good keyword optimized content and get the conversation started about your business.

Almost forgotten SEARCH ENGINE:
Don't forget about YouTube!  To get the high numbers YouTube is looking for, you need to optimize your content so people click through and push Play. Keywords, title, alt descriptions and tags are just as important as the video itself.
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