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Breaking Down SEO and SEM Related Activities

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After yesterday's reevaluation of SEO vs. SEM I want to provide some simple guidance so jewelers understand how a Search Engine Marketing plan works.

The first part of the SEM Plan is to make sure your website is set up properly for the basic optimization stuff.

Basic SEO Stuff:

1. Page Title rewriting
2. Meta Description rewriting
3. URL cleanup
4. Content bulking
5. Topic separation

The more difficult part of the SEM Plan is to properly represent everything you do in the store, and all your offline advertising, on your website.

Complicated SEM Stuff:

A. Writing full details about your services
B. Keep your online identity updated with daily changes in your store
C. Writing complimentary website information that ties into offline ads
D. Sharing your marketing message socially
E. Tracking everything
F. Analyzing your tracking

Keeping up with the stuff in these two lists takes a lot of work. You can attempt to hire an agency to do this for you but they can't do it alone. You will need to work with them weekly if you want to keep up with the marketing.

Let's break this down...

SEO 1. Page Title rewriting

If you had to come up with just 5 words to headline the information on a page of your website, what would they be? That's the Page Title. Editing these is usually a 1-time job that requires someone to edit the website through a content management system (CMS). A simple yet descriptive page title needs to be given to every new page added to the website. You or your employee could learn to do this.

Difficulty Level: Easy
SEM Knowledge Level: Low
Time Factor: Initially high, low over long term
How It's Done: Through your CMS
How Often is This Done: Every time you add a new page to your website.


SEO 2. Meta Description rewriting

How would you describe the information found on a page in 150 characters or less? This is the description that appears in the search engine results pages. This description is not used for ranking but it is used to compel people to click on your SERP listing. This descriptions need to be well written sales copy that should be done by a copy writing professional.

This really isn't a job for your employees and most SEO Pros don't understand how to do it correctly. Your best bet is to outsource this job. You can find qualified people on odesk.com or iwriter.com. Qualified freelancers should be charging more than $15 per meta description. Don't balk at the 15 cents per character price because this is a onetime cost that will bring in lots of customers.

Difficulty Level: Hard
SEM Knowledge Level: High
Time Factor: Initially high, low over long term
How It's Done: Read the page and write compelling copy. Upload it through your CMS.
How Often is This Done: Every time you add a new page to your website.


SEO 3. URL cleanup

This is a tough one, but I'm including it in the list of "basics." Your website should not have sloppy looking URLs. People are more inclined to click on a website with an easy to read URL than one which begins shows "/index.php?id=12345&page=contact." Why not just have "/contact.php" or "/contact.html" as the page name instead of those horrible CMS generated abominations?

Your website programmer will need to clean these up for you even though it was their sloppy work which created this in the first place. As your website grows, someone will have to monitor how Google read your website and continually correct the sloppy URLs.

Difficulty Level: Hard
SEM Knowledge Level: Middle
Time Factor: Initially high, low over long term
How It's Done: Your programmer has to do this by reprogramming your website or your web server.
How Often is This Done: Hopefully only once. After that your programmer should know not to mess this up any more.


SEO 4. Content bulking

"Content bulking" is the phrase I use in my own office to refer to our process of being more descriptive with writing details for every page of your website. I suggest no less than 200 words on every content page of your website. This content bulking task could take a while and it requires some creative writing finesse. Now, I realize you're going to tell me you didn't go into business as a jeweler just too eventually become a writer. That's why you need to have someone do this for you. Is anyone else in the store good at writing? The SEM agency you hire should be able to do this for you or you can hire a freelancer.

Difficulty Level: Moderate
SEM Knowledge Level: Middle
Time Factor: Probably 1-2 hours per page is done correctly.
How It's Done: Read every page of your website and figure what details are missing or could me it sound more interesting. Someone writes it. Someone edits it. Upload it to your website through the CMS.
How Often is This Done: Every time you add a new page to your website.


SEO 5. Topic separation

This is my latest addition to my "basics" list of SEO best practices. It's always better to split different topics up onto different pages than to have them all listed on a single page. Most jewelers have a single page explaining all the services they provide but it's much better to split each of those services onto a single page and bulk the description as explained above.

The same method applies to the different designer jewelry you carry, events, promotions, and your services. Again, I realize that you might not be good with words and don't want to be a writer, which is why you need to have someone do this for you too. This will take a while to do but it's also a 1-time job.

Difficulty Level: Moderate
SEM Knowledge Level: Middle
Time Factor: Probably 1-2 hours per page is done correctly
How It's Done: A mix of interviews and researching information on the different topics. Someone needs to write, edit, and then upload it to your website through the CMS.
How Often is This Done: Hopefully only once. After that you always need to keep your topics separated on different pages when you add them.


As you can see even the stuff I refer to as the "basics" takes up a lot of time. You should be starting to realize that optimizing your online identity, which includes your website and all social activity, requires a continual amount of time and dedication.

I'll continue this discussion tomorrow when I review the list of Complicated SEO Stuff shown above.



AT: 10/09/2013 04:48:36 AM   LINK TO THIS GOLD NUGGET
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