What the heck is SEM?

Back to Basics: Make the Most of SEM

Written by Matt Goulart, borrowed from the Website Magazine website, 7.27.12

The world of online marketing is constantly in flux, changing and evolving as the technology of the web moves forward. Whereas once a simple SEO strategy would put your brand head and shoulders above the competition, now a more complex and sophisticated game plan is required. This doesn’t mean that you should abandon all of the carefully tuned SEO protocols that you have in place, of course, but to stay on the cutting edge, your brand should fine-tune those strategies and combine them with other online marketing techniques to form a comprehensive SEM strategy.

What is SEM?

SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing. This acronym encompasses several elements of online marketing that, when employed properly, work together to increase your brand’s web traffic, online presence, and sales. There are three key elements of SEM that work in conjunction with each other to funnel traffic towards your brand’s website and translate that traffic into sales.


This acronym stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it is the aspect of SEO that most brands are already familiar with. SEO refers to a set of techniques for generating traffic that all revolve around optimizing the efficacy of search engines. SEO is based on organic traffic and works by directing attention to your website naturally by making it show up more frequently and more highly ranked in search results. The goal behind SEO is that that search engine users are more likely to find your website when they are searching for specific terms related to your brand, products and services. Some of the key aspects of SEO include: 

- Keywords and targeted search terms strategically deployed throughout your website, including tags, headers, and text withing your website’s content.
- Inbound links to your site from other relevant websites.
- Targeted, well-researched and frequently updated content.
- Don’t forget about Content Marketing. Super important for SEO.

Paid Advertising

Whereas SEO works with organic traffic, raising your website’s rank within search engines naturally through keywords and other strategies, paid ads are exactly that: advertising that you pay for. Paid advertising usually appears in a few key forms: 

- Adwords. These are keywords that are closely associated with your brand that you pay to have even more firmly attached to that brand via Google. When you purchase an adword from Google, whenever anyone searches for that term, your brand’s site will always appear at the top of the (paid) search results. 

- PPC (pay-per-click) or CPC (cost-per-click) ads. These are ads placed on targeted websites that are frequented by members of your target audience. Each time someone clicks through to our website via one of these ads, you pay the owner of the website a fee (also the network you purchased them through). 

- Social Media Ads. These can come in the form of Twitter trending topics that you promote, Facebook ads, or other paid ads that appear on social media.

Having an active, integrated presence on social media is absolutely necessary to an effective SEM strategy. Also, your social media presence should be incorporated into your main site in the form of “like” buttons, sharing options and other widgets. For example, brands with a Facebook page generally see a 300% increase in referral traffic through that social media site. Social media presence also positively effects e-commerce behaviour; for example: Giantnerd.com saw a 100% increase in revenue from Facebook within a month of adding a “like” button to their site. Being able to interact with a brand via social media has a tremendous positive influence on your target audience, and they respond to social media not just by boosting your brand’s profile and proving your SEM strategy effective, but also by buying your products and services. Don’t forget you might need a Community Manager to assist your Social Media strategy. Important to keep everyone in the loop! 

By combining these three aspects of SEM effectively, you can create a well-executed and coordinated SEM strategy that is sure to drive traffic to your site, result in a rise in your brand’s online profile and translate directly into sales.

Will Groupon Really Boost Your Local Business?


Groupon has been hailed as the new miracle advertising tool. It has also been accused of being a ruthless corporate giant, preying on the ignorance of small businesses.

Read the entire story about Groupon and whether it’s a business booster or not.

eBooks Outsell Print Books on Amazon

Read the story about the tragedy (to some) how eBooks Outsell Print Books on Amazon.Thanks to http://www.icons-land.com for the icon

This is a sad day, but I will say that I do purchase quite a few Kindle books to use on my iPad. That does NOT mean in any way that I don’t still enjoy opening up a brand new book.

Ahhh to hear the cracking open of a new cover, freshly printed pages, the smell of the ink 🙂 However, I live over an hour away from the closest book store (since they closed Borders 45 minutes away). The lengthy drive can be a deterrent for me when my gas costs $4.22/gal and when I find a great title online I MUST have NOW! Since I do most of my “surfing” in the evening, and rarely am near a book store, eBook downloads are a matter of convenience and paper saving to me. I know it’s a huge downfall for publishers and manufacturers but saving paper, money and convenience is in my personal interest as apparently by the statistics, many other readers.

Is there an answer to the industries who count on physical books? I don’t know. I do wish I had one and really have thought about it since we have a manufacturer as one of our clients. Offer exclusivity to print only publications? Incentives to authors to hold off on allowing their books to be electronically published? Any thoughts?

We’re All Ears…

http://www.simswyeth.com/20090611-communication-skills/We want to know what drives our customers, and potential customers when it comes to making the decision about hiring a web developer.

Many people have told us that they’ve been burned before, had a developer talk to them in high-tech terms that ultimately confuses and annoys them, it’s too expensive, or a ton of other reasons. We want to know what you think.

If one of the answers we’ve provided doesn’t fit your situation, enter your own. We really are all ears.

Two New Projects!

graphXevolution received GREAT NEWS today! Two area businesses have enlisted our help in redesigning their websites.

The first, Shadow Catcher Photography Ltd., is a fantastic photography studio featuring portrait, wedding, and fine art photography.

The second is an area business association, whose name we will release in the upcoming weeks. A fully custom database site will be created to replace the existing Joomla site.

The designs created for both are STELLAR and we are so excited to be working with a great group of business owners.

An Old Name with a New Website!

Firmstone Lakewood Fuels, one of the oldest heating oil companies in Wayne County has a new website.

graphXevolution recently completed FSLW’s website which includes detailed information about the services they offer, special loyalty program, and coming this Spring, a special feature for all of it’s customers.

In addition to commercial and residential oil delivery, Firmstone Lakewood Fuels has a full service station ready to serve your needs. From tires for all driving conditions, repairs, preventive maintenance, and state inspections, their staff provides quality services and parts you can depend on. New tires come with free mounting, balancing, and rotation. They specialize in undercar car and offer all wheel alignment so you get the most out of your tires.

So check out their new website and give them a call about all your heating oil needs.

Remember that graphXevolution can create the website that will suit your needs, drive traffic to your site, and convert visitors into customers.

Online Ordering Coming Soon to Schiffs’

We were recently awarded the project to expand upon the already substantial website that is Schiffs’ Cash and Carry. In the past year we have provided Schiffs with many new modules, including those that give Schiffs the ability to delay releases of specials and flyers andprovide an attractive yet database driven solution to a very large deli offering, all this in addition to the ability for them to use our CMS to edit their static pages.

Schiffs' Cash & CarryOver the past few months we have been setting details in motion to begin a project that in the near future will allow Schiffs’ customers to order deli items online. Not just platters and packaged items, but if you want a pound of ham and a pound of cole slaw, ready for you to pick up, then this system is going to know your socks off.

Look for the new system mid-2010! And if you want some great food and service, visit Schiffs’ at their Scranton location.