Search Engine Marketing and Link Building

Have you ever wondered about the importance of search engine optimization and link building?

Don’t you worry, here I am to give you an idea and share my experience about it. So, I have been recently hired as a digital Marketer for a supermarket that we will call Supermarket X in the United States to improve its online marketing but I needed to convince the manager who we will call Sam to approve the funds that I need to do this job.

This is how it went.

Me: Hey Sam, I think we should do search engine marketing (SEM) to boost the sales for our company. I know it is doing well, the revenues are good but our competitors are already on it and we gotta participate in this race too.

Sam: I hear you Navneet but what we already have presence online, people shop from our site online then what is the need for search engine marketing?

Me: Okay, let me explain you the importance of SEM. Research says that “online users conducted 1.2 billion searches in May, a year-over-year increase of 30 percent” (Tedeschi, 2004, p.2).Moreover, according to the interactive advertising bureau findings “search engine marketing is the fastest growing sector in online marketing” (Brooks, 2004, p. 1).

As Halloween is just around the corner, customers will go online and put the words like “halloween dresses”, “halloween candies” or maybe just “halloween”. If we do not do search engine marketing then most of the potential customers will drive to the sites of our competitor companies that appear in first few links of the search results on the web page

Sam: Okay, I get it that to drive traffic to our website we should look into SEM but isn’t it a waste of money if users don’t visit our site.

Me: No, it won’t be Sam. This is the beauty of SEM that we will be paying to google only when users click on our site. Moreover, SEM will allow us to monitor the return on investment from audience acquisition once our site generates a steady traffic from our visitors. (Boughton, 2005). Now, I suggested only google at the time because according to Comscore’s 2014 U.S Search Engine Ranking findings mentioned in article “Search Engine Optimization: Comparison of Link
Building and Social Sharing” , Google was ranked first ahead of Bing an Google with more than 65% of U.S search market (Zhang & Cabage, 2016).

Sam: Cool! sounds interesting. Let’s do it. So, how do we get started?

Me: It’s easy. We will set up our SEM account. We will pay google to show our supermarket website in top results when someone looks up for halloween related keywords which is called search engine optimization (SEO) and in return we will pay google when customers click on our site (Boughton, 2005).

Sam – Do we need to pay to get it?

Me: No Sam, we can drive our website to a better position by using content and link sharing.

Sam: Woah! big words!

Me: Don’t worry. Here is how it goes.

The success of any online platform is based on the amount of traffic it generates. Everyday there are several websites listed on the search engine. Among this huge competition, it is important for your website to feature in the beginning of search results with the goal of driving sales. Let us witness this by an example.

Why it is so effective? Let us look at this video from Rachel’s kitchen (Youtube, 2022).

Rachel used SEM and her turnover doubled in the following year. Why? How? She used some keywords around major calendar events like – Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Halloween, Christmas etc.; it was easy to preplan and execute the plan

Basically, Rachel used content in her website to drive her website in a better position in the search engine. But not just having the right keywords consist of content. Havin the right site structure is crucial for converting number of hits into sales. Also, having the right keywords in headlines titles also helps drive traffic and successful sales for the website.

Let us look at one of our competitor’s website site structures.

Ref : (Coles, 2022)

As you can see, the site is well structured, it uses effective internal linking that can take customers directly to the sections they are interested in. Basically, the way to navigate the site is easy and directly influence sales.

If we look at keywords, this competitor uses intriguing headlines that attract not only the user’s attention but the search engine’s automated system’s attention as well. This drives their website through search rankings and thus customers tend to buy directly off them as they are readily available, and the site looks authentic and easy to use. Here is an example.

Ref : (Woolworths,2022)

Now there are several practical ways we can use these techniques to better position our website on the search engine. We can split these into long term and short-term methods(Zhang & Cabage, 2016).

Short term methods might be more explosive in site traffic but generally limited to long term sales opportunities and are more expensive. Long term techniques can provide am better return on investment in the long run and cost less.

Sam: So what can we do in the short term?

Me: In the short term, we can,

  • Provide incentive to customers through Instagram if they share a #, they could win a gift card of $500 and free purchases and points on their rewards card.
  • Every occasion such as Halloween, Christmas, New Year’s Eve create a series of posts/videos how our products affect the everyday life and help celebrate these occasions. Then, provide a link to our website in post description and directly link the social media post on the website.
  • Get a cooking influencer to feature on the website and post an article with a recipe the influencer cooked by using our products. Here is an example.

Ref: (Harvey Norman, 2022)

In the longer term, to get appropriate return on investment we could,

  • Feature a series of articles or blogs about vegan recipes that can be prepared with our products.
  • Post various videos on your YouTube channel explaining the use of cleaning products and directly link them on the website.
  • Target vegan and vegetarian people by sharing social media posts about how the brand goes above and beyond to cater for their needs. Here is an example.

Ref: (Coles,2022)

My manager was happy to hear these ideas and get more knowledge about SEM. I thought it is worthwhile sharing it with my blog family.

Do you think these strategies will help achieve high sales and traffic on our website? Please feel free to provide suggestions in the comment section.

Hold tight for next week’s blog.


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