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Search engine marketing has been one of the most important forms of online marketing for years. Like all other forms of online marketing, SEO remains in constant flux. Every year, new ways of increasing the SEO of websites appear. Google's algorithm also keeps changing. This makes it important to stay completely up-to-date and not to miss any of the news.

If you do not use the right and latest strategies, this can have a detrimental effect on the online visibility of your website. High time for some new and fresh information. What does search engine marketing look like nowadays? How important is it? And what advantages do you profit from when you hire a search engine marketing agency? Below, we answer all your questions and explain everything you need to know about search engine marketing or SEO. 

What is search engine marketing?

Search engine marketing is a very broad term. It includes all strategies used to rank higher in the search results. Search engine marketing is also referred to as SEO. This is the abbreviation of Search Engine Optimization. SEO can be applied in various ways. Both paid and unpaid strategies can be used. 

The aim of SEO is to improve the online findability of the website. This is done by landing higher in the search results, mostly in an organic way. For example, by improving the content placed on your website. Investing in SEO is a long-term solution. When it is done in the right way, it will also provide better visibility for a long time. Sometimes even for years. 

Difference between SEO and SEA 

In search engine marketing, a distinction must be made between SEO and SEA. SEO involves the optimisation of organic search results. This can be done by improving the content of a web page or by improving the technical side of the website. These are all things that organically affect the position within the search engines. 

Besides SEO, there is also SEA. This is search engine advertising. Results are achieved relatively quickly with this. You pay to obtain a higher position within the search results. The big advantage is that you can therefore profit quickly from the results. That sounds very simple, but it is often not a long-term solution. The most profit is to be gained by setting up the website in the right way and to generate leads on a structural basis. That is why it is good to apply a combination of SEO and SEA. That way, you will not only achieve the right results in the short term, but also in the long term. 

How important is search engine marketing? 

More and more entrepreneurs are investing in search engine marketing. But how important is it to engage a search engine marketing specialist? Search engine marketing has become increasingly important in recent years. This has accelerated, partly due to the corona crisis. Companies have largely moved to the digital world. The majority of consumers are also in this world. Therefore, the largest target group can be reached by being visible in the search engines. Online findability in search engines also means that the target group can be reached faster and more effectively. 

Think about how often you use a search engine in your search for new products and/or services. This happens more often than when you look for offline marketing forms, such as newspaper ads, etc. Improving the online visibility of your webpage has several advantages. We list the 4 most important ones: 

 

1. Helping customers through your web shop 

The biggest advantage of search engine is that it allows you to get real results online. This means that you cannot only attract visitors to your website, but that you can also help them make a decision. You can help them just over the line to choose your services or buy a product in your webshop. Moreover, it also provides extra brand awareness. In modern times, this is almost the only way to give your company the visibility it deserves and needs. Here, it is not only important to optimise your website and have it serve as a real 'business card' for your company, but also to speak to and help the customer. In other words: to generate leads. 

It is particularly important to focus on so-called qualitative leads. These are visitors who actually take action on your website or webshop. For example, by buying a product, filling in a contact form or using a service. If you attune the content on your website better to the target group, you will have a much better chance of generating really good leads and thus allowing your company to grow. 

2. Increase brand awareness 

There are many ways to increase awareness of your business, but search engine marketing is by far the most important. With the right marketing techniques, you will be able to appear higher in the search results and reflect the authenticity of your company. The more quality content you share and the more tailored it is to your target audience, the more impact this will have on your company's visibility. And if your business is easier to find online, this will also contribute to better brand awareness. This ultimately leads to more leads. After all, consumers prefer to buy from companies they know. That gives a feeling of trust. 

3. More than 80 percent of Internet users search for products and/or services through search engines 

Of course, it makes little sense to invest in something if it is not going to yield that much. With search engine marketing, you fortunately have the advantage that more than 80 percent of Internet users actually use search engines to look for products and/or services. In practice, this figure seems to be even higher. It is therefore a shame for a company not to make use of this. If you leave search engine marketing for what it is, it also means that you miss more than half of your target group. Simply because of poor online findability. 

Also realise that the competition also uses SEO and SEA. When they end up higher in the search engines and you do nothing about it, it means that you lose a lot of your potential customers to your biggest competitors. That is a shame! 

By opting for search engine marketing and by reserving the necessary marketing budget for this, you will enjoy a great advantage over the competition. But do not be fooled, because the competition knows this too. That is why it is often a battle of the titans. Who knows how to set up the best marketing strategy? Always choose a search engine marketing specialist to help you with this. 

4. More customer satisfaction 

The search engine marketing meaning is not always clear. Yes, you do everything you can to end up higher in the search engines. But what does this mean for the site itself? It is important to realise that there are no shortcuts. It is not a question of paying quickly and then profiting from the highest position. You will really have to earn this position. 

This also means that you have to work hard to make your website as relevant and qualitative as possible for your target group. Search engine marketing forces you to improve your website and offer a better customer experience. 

This in turn has advantages for consumers. They get the best information. This increases customer satisfaction. Something that is also good for the name of your company. So all forms of online marketing actually work together to offer the customer the best experience and you the best name. This way, you get more out of your business. 

Tips to improve the search engine marketing of your website 

The importance of good search engine marketing has now become clear. But how do you optimise your search engine marketing? So that it produces the best results? Below, we give a few tips on how you can get started right away. 

Engage a search engine marketer

Be aware that you are not the only entrepreneur who invests in search engine marketing. Chances are that all your competitors are doing this. That is why it is very important to hire a professional for this. Do not expect that you can do everything on your own. Search engine marketing, just like all other forms of online marketing, is constantly changing. Every year, new strategies appear and Google adjusts the algorithm in such a way that the marketing strategy must also be adjusted. As an entrepreneur, it is almost impossible to stay up to date. Especially next to your other activities. That is why it is good to (partially) outsource this. This way, you do not only know that it is done in the right way, but you also save yourself a lot of extra time. Moreover, you will be able to outsmart your competition more quickly. 

Optimising the website 

This is of course a very broad term, but here we mainly mean the technique behind the website. What many people do not realise is that this is a very important part of your online marketing strategy. When your website does not score well in terms of technical SEO, you can invest all you want in other SEO techniques, but it will never be as effective as you would like. Make sure, for example, that the loading time of your pages is in order and that the website is less likely to be down. After all, you don't want the target group to arrive at your website very quickly via the search engine, but then have to click away again quickly because the site is not working properly. This will not only scare off your target group, but will also make Google rank your website as less qualitative. 

Have a keyword research carried out 

With search engine marketing, it is crucial that the right keywords are used. It is also important that you know who your target audience is and what they search for exactly. Fortunately, there are several handy online tools that allow you to easily conduct a keyword research. It is even better to leave this to an online marketeer. By conducting extensive research and targeting the right keywords, you will be able to push your website higher in the search engines in no time. 

Extra tip: make particular use of the so-called 'long-tail keywords'. These are longer keywords with a lower search volume, but which are relevant to your webpage. As a clothing shop, you can of course focus on the word 'clothing', but this is already so often used online, that it is very difficult to rank high on this. Therefore, it is better to choose relevant and less popular words. For example, 'clothing shop children amsterdam' will have a lower search volume, but it will reach the right target group directly. Moreover, it is easier to score on such a keyword. 

Make use of Google Analytics 

One of the biggest advantages of online marketing is that the results are measurable. Just compare it to an advertisement in a local newspaper. You might see an increase in customers in your shop or shop after the ad, but you can't say for sure that this is due to the ad. As a result, you run the risk of investing more money in a form of marketing that has actually yielded very little. What a shame! Fortunately, this is not the case with online marketing. Almost all results are easily measurable through handy online tools such as Google Analytics. 

With Google Analytics, you can see how many visitors there are to your website, where these visitors have come from exactly, what keywords they have used and how much time they have spent on the website. Crucial information that can help you optimise your website and marketing strategy. When you notice that the number of visitors increases dramatically and that you are found on new keywords, after changing your marketing strategy, you notice that this has been effective. Good to know. This way you never pay too much and you know for sure that your investment has been really useful. 

The importance of link building 

A natural link profile is an essential part of search engine marketing. Without sufficient internal and external links, it is very difficult to give your website a higher quality score. Remember that Google sees every link to your page as a vote for your authenticity. This shows that you really have something interesting to say to your target audience. Link building, however, is not as easy as it seems. Don't fall for adverts that allow you to buy huge amounts of links. This is not allowed and if Google discovers this, it will be severely punished. Therefore, it is better to really earn the links. For example by making quality content and sharing it with other sites within your industry. This way you stimulate others to mention your website. 

Besides external links it is also good to make use of internal links. These are links on your own site that point to another page within the site. Think of it as a kind of spider web that connects the pages on your site. This makes navigating within the site a lot easier for the visitor. Moreover, it enables you to give certain pages a higher quality score. The more a page is linked to, the more important it is. 

Keep in mind that placing links is mainly done to help the reader. So don't randomly place dozens of links in one article. This will actually make it more difficult to read the entire article. This will rudely disrupt the message you want to convey. You write for your target group. Internal links should only be used as an aid. Not as an annoyance to get higher in the search engines. This usually has the opposite effect.

Search engine marketing: do it yourself or have it done?

Search engine marketing is complex and constantly changing. Of course, you can choose to do part of it yourself, but in most cases it is better to leave the online marketing to a search engine marketing agency. This way, you can be sure that it is done in the right way by people who have real experience in this. Moreover, they spend a lot of their time to keep their knowledge up-to-date. Because of this, your marketing strategy will never lag behind compared to the competition and you might even manage to stay one step ahead of them.

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