When you’re looking at your online profile for your website there are two different terms to define an online strategy of success for your website. These are two varying approaches to the same strategic goal of increasing your business by engaging a client base that is turning more and more to online resources. The first strategy is called SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, and it harnesses websites online called search engines, like Google, Yahoo and MSN to send you traffic without having to directly pay for those visitors. SEM or Search Engine Marketing is a technique that focuses on utilizing paid online marketing opportunities to gain targeted website traffic and convert it into leads and client opportunities. Both of these strategies have their benefits but have competents that contrast and compliment each other if used properly, and also can be a waste of time and money if implemented poorly. It’s also important for Realtors(r), who are the ultimate small business, to know what these actually mean, so they can avoid unscrupulous people who take advantage of lack of knowledge in this area.

Search Engine Optimization: The short overview

The goal of websites like Google, Yahoo and MSN is to provide a search utility for their visitors that provides a resulting list of websites, pictures, local businesses, video and more that relates to “keywords” like “basketball”,”homes for sale” or “denver real estate”. Google and the other search engines have a list of criteria that they use to determine what websites online are trustworthy, quality websites that will fulfill their visitors needs and make sure that the visitor returns to the search engine the next time they need to locate information online. Search engine optimization looks to update and fix websites so that they comply with Google’s guidelines for webmasters, and appear as reputable as possible so that they will receive recognition from the search engines in the form of higher “rankings” for those keywords. A second component of search engine optimization looks for valid relevant opportunities to get a “link” from another website. These links act as a type of online referral, and depending on the source, can indicate quality as well as relevance to a particular topic or keyword. Now that we have a general understanding of the practice, lets look at  4 specific best practices of Search Engine Optimization, specifically for Realtors before we look at “SEM”.

Quality is it’s own Reward

Quality content is rewarded with rankings and respect from users.

There’s No Place Like Home

What do you sell? Homes! Houses! show them!

Shady Mcgee of Flyby Night Inc.

You are who people say you are. The referral is just as valid and you can also become guilty by association.

Brick and Mortar Advantage

Harness your competitive edge by recognizing the leverage of being a legitimate business in the offline world. Yellowpages online etc

Search Engine Marketing: The Short Overview

Google gotta get paid

Your Online Reception Area

Wouldn’t direct people to sit in a room that has dozens of advertisements and brochures from other companies.

Accurate Advertising

Traditional marketing rules apply, grabbing the clients is key by being relevant and on target to their needs and wants.

Quid Pro Quo

You can track your exact results to the penny. ROI and conversion are 100% trackable, indexable and adjustable.

Dilema of Choice

banner advertisement, content network, listing in directories, facebook, myspace.

Contrast: Long Term Vs Short Term

SEM will send traffic as soon as you flip the switch, short term gain. It’s like a water wheel, as long as you keep the advertisement money flowing the wheel will keep on turning. SEO is like planting and tending a garden, you have to start out smart, nurture it, expand it and spread the word before you can reap the harvest.

1 for 1 or 1 for many

You can track and traces every jot and jit with SEM, but with SEO, your efforts are multiplied by time and may yeild an exponential value.

Time is the Great Equalizer

Set it and forget it? NO! Online marketing, both SEO and SEM is not a hands off possibility. You have to be aware that there must be proper management of yoru seo campaign, or your sem campaign in order for it to give results. If you’re going to outsource your program, it will still take your investment of interest in the program to be successful. You can’t be angry at a consultant who you never asked a question.