The fundamental elements of internet marketing


Internet marketing is complex.

In fact, Google and Bing— the two largest search engines— are constantly changing the rules so techniques that work today may not work tomorrow. It’s been known to happen that those changes make a company fall overnight, losing both ranking and income in the blink of an eye. No dealership can afford that loss.

When it comes to internet marketing, there are two acronyms that every dealership should get comfortable with; SEM and SEO. SEM— search engine marketing— and SEO— search engine optimization— are two sides of the same coin. While many marketers have a preference, it’s essential for your business to understand both and determine which has more value to you.


With search engine marketing, your goal is to increase the visibility of your website on search engine results pages (SERPS). You accomplish this through a combination of advertising such as pay-per-click (PPC) and optimization like SEO. Because SEM includes SEO, many people improperly use them interchangeably. However in a traditional sense, we use it to refer to primary advertising on search engines.

At the risk of opening Pandora’s box, you should also understand PPC, which is a process of placing ads on the search page— usually at the top or bottom— and linking them to landing pages like the ones you use for Facebook marketing. Your cost is based on how many clicks you get.


When searching for a website, the results come in two forms. The first are the ads at the top and bottom of the page, and the second are the listed items in the center of the page. SEO is the process of increasing your ranking in the center section.

SEO can be accomplished in two ways— what you do with the content on your page and what you do off your page like building links to other similar pages. Think of SEO as going up to the tallest skyscraper and shouting as loud as you can so everyone hears after you created the content on your website. Why shout? Because if you create all your content and don’t tell anyone about it, then how will they know?


On its own, PPC advertising may not work if your audience isn’t inclined to click. Some demographics specifically shy away from ads, navigating to the organic list. When that’s the case, spending the effort to elevate your ranking can be invaluable. Organic SEO takes much longer to establish a good ranking, especially as more of your competition works on their own positioning. As it is based significantly on the importance of doing the right thing for your audience, you’ll establish credibility in the process.

While we’ve already discussed how to come to your overall budget, understanding the concepts of SEM and SEO will help you decide to split your budget so you don’t get pulled in both directions. You should never think of the process as either or, but how they can complement each other.

SEM cannot succeed without organic SEO, and SEO takes time and effort to rank well.

The good thing about the whole process is that digital marketing offers clear feedback so you can determine what resonates with your audience. Google and Bing business accounts offer you the opportunity to see what people are searching for, how much your competition is spending on direct ads, and whether the audience is navigating towards organic search or paid ads.

How much is a client worth to you?

Just like the superstructure of a vehicle, it’s always advisable to start with content and SEO. While much of the process you can do yourself, because of the ever-changing nature of SEO, it can quickly become necessary for an agency to take over. Once you have that cost, you can proceed to the paid portion of SEM. When you understand how much the market is paying for PPC advertising on Google and Bing, compare it to how much you’re willing to spend to obtain a lead. You’ll know whether it’s worth your investment and adjust accordingly.

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more content.

Jason Harris


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