Holistic SEM means holistic search engine marketing. There’s a lot of chatter about holistic SEO (search engine optimization) in the search community, so holistic SEM is a little spin on that concept. So before I explain my definition of holistic SEM, let me explain holistic SEO.
What is holistic SEO?
Holistic SEO (search engine optimization) is looking at all aspects of your website in order to rank higher on search engines like Google and Pinterest. (Yes, Pinterest is an image search engine, so I consider it a search engine.) There are hundreds of factors that Google considers if you want to rank. The site needs to be crawlable and indexable. It needs to load quickly and be accessible to all users. A site needs excellent content that other websites link to. And it needs to include the keywords people use when they’re looking for products and services like the ones you sell on your website.
What is holistic search engine marketing?
This brings me to holistic SEM (search engine marketing). Search engine marketing can either mean SEO or a Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign. Both types of search engine marketing 1.) target keywords and 2.) drive traffic to your website. To run a successful campaign the fundamentals are the same. You need a solid keyword strategy and a user-friendly website that loads quickly and helps people understand what you have to offer.
Did I say the word quickly? Yes. Your site needs to be fast and your message needs to be clear. Slow sites that don’t say exactly what they have to offer customers don’t convert clicks into sales. And if you’ve done all that work to get the click – whether from paid search, organic search, or a referral – then you also want to convert that click into a sale. That’s what holistic search engine marketing is all about. Running a fast site with a clear message that follows the visitor from search to click to website and all the way through to the conversion.
I hesitated to use the word holistic because it’s so overused these days. Kind of like “sustainable.” But you know what, holistic is the best word to describe my approach. I don’t just look at your website’s meta-tags, it’s site speed, content, or inbound links. I also look at what kind of search marketing campaign will work for your business today and in the long run.
For example, if you want to ramp up traffic fast and test your landing pages and messaging, a paid search marketing campaign is probably the best choice. But you can use what you learn to also run a successful SEO campaign. Ranking organically on Google takes a lot longer than paying for keywords. If you use what you learn from your paid search campaign and apply it to your organic search campaign, you learn what’s working and what’s not twice as fast.
Websites should be designed to be found
Then there’s the website. The messaging needs to be on point, it needs to load quickly, and be accessible to everyone. That’s easier said than done. I hear small business owners say the same thing over and over again.
“I thought I could just have a nice website built and people would find it.”
Nope. Just because your website looks pretty doesn’t mean it will be found.
Ideally, your website should be developed with users and Google Webmaster Guidelines in mind from the beginning. If it’s not, it will need to be optimized. That’s usually where I come in. At the optimization stage. Which I love! I love optimizing sites to better serve visitors and help the search engines find them. But if more small business owners had sites designed with users and Google Webmaster Guidelines in mind from the beginning, they’d have a lot less trouble ranking down the road. This goes for websites designed from scratch by professional website designers as well as sites on templates.
Whether you have a site that needs an SEO audit and optimization or you don’t have a website yet, contact me to chat about how to set up a holistic search marketing campaign that works for your business and budget.