Introduction to SEO and SEM for Beginners

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the art of optimizing your website for targeted keywords so that you rank as high as possible on search engines such as Google or Pinterest. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is the art of marketing your page through paid ads or social awareness. Learn the basics of SEO/SEM to get started driving traffic to your website.

Introduction to SEO and SEM for Beginners

Welcome to my first post on SEO and SEM.

Many customers feel that if you build a beautiful website, then customers will come pouring through the door.

In reality, there is more to [great website design]( than just pretty fonts, colors, and great imagery.

Users who search for certain keywords on Google or Pinterest will likely find your website only if you rank high on those keywords, giving you the opportunity to convert those users into potential paying customers.


Page Rank is a term used to identify where you rank on a page for a targeted keyword. The higher the better. Typically, websites that appear in the top 3 results on Google tend to collect the far majority of clicks. Results below the top 5 quickly start to taper off, and subsequent pages will get very few clicks.

On Pinterest, ranking a Pin image for a keyword gives you more chances of success as the audience sees a visual grid of images, and wont necessarily click on just the first 2 - 3 images. However, you still want to rank above the fold before users start scrolling and lose their attention span. Also, with Pinterest, the quality of the image and the text overlay grab the user attention more than your position within that first page of results.


When designing a website, it is important to identify who the target customers are. Try answering the following questions:

  • What are you selling?
  • What will customers search for to find your products/services?
  • How competitive are those terms?
  • Are there more refined keywords that are more realistic to target?

There are many resources to help you identify the popularity of keywords for SEO. Check out Google AdWords which will tell you how many searches a particular word gets. Also Google Trends will tell you how those keywords have trended over time, and the related terms that people search for. Google AdWords will also tell you how much SEM advertisers are willing to pay for search terms on these keywords, giving you a good idea of popularity and demand.

Pinterest also has the ability to set up Ad Campaigns which help give you insight into which keywords have more popularity.

And finally, both Google and Pinterest offer popular keyword suggestions within their search fields by giving you auto complete suggestions.


Great. So you have identified the keywords you want to target. Now let’s update your website to mention these keywords for the best chance of improving your SEO and SEM.

  1. Title Tags: Update your page titles to include targeted keywords where appropriate.
  2. Description Tags: Description tags are what appear in the 2 line summary section in the google results page. The description should appropriately describe what that page is about. Add your keywords here if appropriate
  3. Page Name: The name of your page should appropriately describe its content, and ideally your keywords.
  4. Content: Your page should have content relevant to your users. This content should mention the keywords you are targeting. If you are blogging, or posting to other websites, it is a good idea to link back to your web page when mentioning targeted keywords.
  5. Links: Links should contain title tags describing the page that it is linking to. Ideally, these links also make mention of some of the targeted keywords.
  6. Images: Images should contain alt tags and title tags describing what the image represents. You should also add a caption below the image describing the image. This helps search engines index the image appropriately based on what is in it.
  7. Pin Descriptions: Pin Descriptions should contain your targeted keywords, and these should align with the keywords used on the actual page title/descriptions.
  8. Pin Images: Pin Images should contain text overlay on them which also target your keywords.


You may hear the term “White Hat” and “Black Hat” SEO/SEM techniques.

White Hat is when you take an ethical approach to optimizing your website and you follow the guidelines set by Google. You are genuinely producing relevant and interesting content for your visitors. Your pages are optimized with keywords you are targeting, but it makes sense to the user and the keywords are appropriate to the content. Links from other sites are on pages that are talking about the same topic and linking to your page is relevant and makes sense.

Black Hat is the unethical approach to SEO. Often this may give a short term boost to your page rank, but usually is discovered by Google and you end up being severly penalized. Sites often disappear off Google when these techniques are employed. So what are the techniques black-hat utilizes? It often includes paying third party websites to link to your site. These third party websites often will have nothing in common with your product/services and provide no real benefit to users.

There are a number of websites and tools on the internet that we analyze your website and bring attention to opportunities for improving your SEO score. Here is a list of tools I enjoy using:

Note - Many SEO and SEM tools online will offer a combination of free and paid services. Once you start using one that you like and find value in it, I recommend going ahead and paying to unlock more features. But don’t bother paying until you are generating the rewards you are aiming for, else it will be wasted money.


So, now you have an SEO optimized website. That is great news, but the work has just begun. Unless you are incredibly lucky, you probably wont rank very high yet (especially if you are a new site). There is no hard recipe to get you on the first page of google, but there are many things that can help you get there:

  • Be active on Pinterest
    Although ranking on Google is a long game to play, ranking on Pinterest is something you can do in as little as a week and start to see immediate traffic to your blog which grows over time. For many bloggers who are active on Pinterest, they see 80 - 90% of their traffic coming in from Pinterest.
  • Engage with the community.
    The more new and appealing content you provide on your website that customers enjoy, the faster you will move up the ranks. Try blogging. Try participating in other websites that share an interest in your product services.
  • Age. The longer your website is around, and producing new content, the more likely google will crawl your website on a more frequent basis, improving your SEO Page Rank. You need to be consistent with the frequency that you publish new content. If the website it not active, your pages will quickly start to de-rank.
  • Be Social. Social Media such as Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest are providing more signals to Google about your website, brand, and content. Post links to your articles to multiple places. This will help it get picked up in more places, and Google will start picking it up to. My favorite is Pinterest as you have the ability to drive an insane amount of traffic to your website if you follow the right methods.
  • SEM Promotions If you have an advertising budget, then you can promote your content using targeted keywords to your targeted users. Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, and Pinterest Promoted Pins are some examples of this, where you select the demographics and keywords you want to target, and then pay based on views (impressions) and clicks. You can cap your budget so if you go viral you dont suddenly end up with an outrageous bill.

Soon I will have a follow up post on some of the more advanced SEO techniques to help your Page Rank.

I hope you found this post useful.

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