The Seven Basic Steps of Search Engine Marketing

This list is meant to give you a top down overview of the SEM process – each point touches on a specific aspect that could be expounded upon at great length. Even if your site has been established for some time this strategy should be used to help you assess where you’re at and make improvements wherever necessary.

The Seven Basic Steps of Search Engine Marketing

  1. Find keyword phrases that people would use to search for your business online
  2. Design the site to capture leads
  3. Optimize your website structure and content
  4. Create special offers and use your blog as a marketing tool
  5. Promote through email marketing, social media, directories and bookmarking sites
  6. Track and analyze what is bringing in the most qualified leads
  7. Revise and adapt your strategy according to data instead of opinions

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SEM is broken into two main categories: ranking higher in organic (non-paid) search results and paying to place ads. Often both strategies are used in tandem but you should always start with the basics.


If you’re just getting started, organic search should be 80%-100% of your strategy. First of all, it doesn’t cost anything for the site to show up in the top three results because it is highly relevant to what someone is searching for. Second, organic search generally brings people to the site who are more qualified to become leads because they were searching for something you have. This leads to a higher visitor-to-lead conversion rate which is what you want. The final reason is that paid ads only have a click through rate of 12% and people don’t trust them as much as organic results. Check out Dan Zarella’s free webinar – The Science of SEO – on to see more web and social media stats.

Further Reading