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Search Engine Optimisation Vs Search Engine Marketing - Understanding the Difference

June 02, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 135

To make a sale you need to understand the buyer

One of the major reasons to invest in a website is to help prospects to find your business.

A fun test to try is searching for your own website in search engines. If a customer knows you by business name or its URL (web address), it may not be too difficult to do this.

A more practical test is to assume the perspective of your prospect. Unless prospects know about your business already they will not be searching for your business by name or URL. Also note that your prospect is not looking for what you "sell".

What do I mean by this?

Step back for a second and consider yourself in the reverse role where you are the customer. It is easy to see that it is not the seller in control but you. What you think, where you do your research, how you do your research, what you think of the business product and their service, the staff member who served you. Everything adds up to whether you buy from vendor A or B.

Take this position to online pre-purpose research. What you search for in search engines (i.e. search terms) is limited by your knowledge of the terminology (or lack thereof) about the product and your capability of using search engines to fine-tune your search. Businesses selling the product you are looking for will not even be aware that their website fails to match the search criteria you enter. The buyer's role in search is critical.

Knowing this, it is ironic that most business search engine optimisation strategies are so focused on the business position which is a "sell" position in place of what the buyers perspective might be. Unsophisticated buyers may use search terms that the business wouldn't consider and thus miss out on any opportunities to be found online and present their offering.

Talking to a range of customers might change the strategy if a business could "be the customer" for just one day. But the 360 degree position is rarely taken.

How do you convert a prospect to a customer?

Let's look at some simple definitions:

  • prospects refer to anyone on the internet that may be searching for the services they need / you offer
  • site visitors refer to prospects who have found your website and had a look around
  • leads are visitors who have made contact with your business through your website requesting further information or a quote
  • customers are leads who have agreed to proceed with your quote

Confusion between optimisation and strategy

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) as a term is used to refer to the treatment of your website to improve its organic rankings in search engines. The reason to do this is that More prospects -> More visitors -> More leads -> More customers

There are actually two phases to make a website to increase its rankings.

The first is optimisation. This is the process of engineering your website to meet the technical and mechanical requirements of search engines to ensure they can indexed, detect errors, and proactively advise search engines of site changes.

It includes aspects such as verifying the site with each search engine, publishing pages to a sitemap, exposing pages to social networks, using search engine friendly URL technology, and more recently taking advantage of RDF / Microdata technology semantic toolkits to facilitate communication between search engines and meaningful site content.

The second phase is strategy. This is the process of deciding how you want your website to be found by prospects and what way you present your business to search engines to facilitate this.

This includes things such as identifying the prospect or customer profile and their motives for buying your product or service, developing relevant content with the focus on the target market (product, service, industry, location), structuring and placement of specific keywords / phrases (including title, page names, meta information, keyword phrase combinations, component length, and order of keyword in all sections), understanding your competition (and using their strategy and results to leapfrog them), building site popularity with high quality and authoritative in-bound links, retaining customers you have already secured, integration to social networking and interpreting statistics to fine tune your results at each review period.

Both steps are required on-going to continuously reinvent your site and to achieve consistently higher rankings.

Summarising the fundamentals of good ranking

There are five fundamental requirements for great website rankings. Failure to satisfy any of these will work against your search ranking results or even plunge your website to the dark depths never to be found.

  • Structure - how is the site built or what search engine compliant platform are you using?
  • Fresh Content - is your content sitting there from 2 years ago?
  • Relevant Unique Content - is your content relevant to your prospects' search? Is it different from your competitor? Is it valuable to readers? Have you used the search "terms" your prospects use?
  • Popularity - are you a backyard operation or do you have some important well ranked websites linking to yours? Have you link to internal pages within your own site driving traffic deeper?
  • Earn Your Stripes - how old is your domain? Younger domains need to age like a good wine. Spend time developing your site and let your good friend time take care of this factor.


Search engine optimisation and marketing is not a string of just mechanical steps. It is a 360 degree consultative process and encompasses a thorough understanding your customer and their motives for needing your product or service and this will help you to deliver the best result to them and for your business.

For more modern approaches to see website search engine marketing.

Source: EzineArticles
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