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SEO, SEM, PPC, CPM: What Can These Letters Do for Your Business?

by aschmidt

Online marketing has become very dynamic in recent years, with marketing tactics focusing more and more on targeted audiences. This increase in targeting opportunities has given small businesses a platform to compete with large companies when previously they couldn’t even dream of sitting at the same marketing table with them. But when a business doesn’t have a robust marketing team, often the responsibility to keep up with these innovative marketing strategies rests with only one or two people. And in the ever-changing landscape of digital marketing, it can be difficult to keep up. Let’s take a look at some terms you may have heard thrown around lately – specifically SEO, SEM, PPC and CPM – and discuss what they are and what they can do for your business.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

This is the process of enhancing the visibility of your website on search engine results pages (SERPs). Major search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing each have an algorithm which is a complex mathematical formula that they use to determine the credibility of a site and how it should be ranked on their results pages. The higher your site appears on the a search engine’s results pages, the higher the likelihood that users will click and visit your page. According to research, the top five slots on the SERPs receive 88 percent of the traffic. Rarely will traffic go beyond the third page of search engine results.

SEO helps you gain better visibility and ranking which in turn enables you to find new customers that will drive up your revenue numbers. Additionally, search engine optimization will open up new markets through the use of mobile and social media platforms. As a small business owner, having a search engine optimized website that is easy to use, fast and compatible with mobile devices will enhance your conversions.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

This is a hybrid form of internet marketing that brings together search engine optimization, pay per click and paid inclusion to boost the ranking of your website on search engines. The SEO component of SEM will organically boost your visibility on search engines while the paid listing will further enhance your ranking for specific keywords that have a high conversion rate.

As a small business marketer, you can use SEM to boost your brand visibility. According to research, 75 percent of the site visits are due to SEO efforts. SEM brings in Pay Per Click (PPC) and paid inclusion components that use sponsored listings to close in on the remaining 25 percent. What this means is that you will lock out your competitors from the top rankings for certain keywords. They will not be able to penetrate your turf because of the triple action of SEO, paid inclusion and PPC on your marketing campaign.

Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC)

What is PPC, you say? PPC is a monitored type of online marketing strategy also known as Paid Search Advertising where the advertiser displays ads on a publisher site. When a visitor clicks on the ad and is directed to the advertiser’s website, the advertiser pays the publisher.

PPC is facilitated by major search engines where paid listings will appear on the search engine results pages together with the organic or unpaid listings. The common paid listing model used is based on keyword bidding. Here, the advertiser chooses specific keyword phrases that should be used to trigger their ads and the maximum price for which they are willing to pay when the ad is clicked on by a visitor.

Google AdWords is the largest PPC advertising model available online that displays up to 11 ads per page. The cost per click will be determined by the number of advertisers competing for the same keyword, the position of the ad on the SERP and the quality of the website where visitors are directed upon clicking.

As long as you have a quality landing page or a website, PPC can help you target a certain audience based on the selected keyword. You can also use PPC to gather data and analytics on the number of people who clicked on your ads and the revenue you made out of it. This enables you to calculate your return on investment.

Cost Per Mille (CPM)

With CPM, the advertiser pays the publisher a certain amount based on the number of times the ad is displayed – also known as the number of impressions. If for instance, the publisher charges $2 as CPM, it means the advertiser will pay $2 when the ad is displayed 1,000 times.

You can use this advertising tactic to enhance the visibility of your ad and give it more exposure because no clicking is required. CPM also helps in generating organic listing which drives more traffic to your website. Compared to other online advertising methods, CPM is one of the least expensive.

The above discussed internet marketing methods can either be used together or separately depending on your budget, audience and preferences.

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