SEM is a form of online marketing that increases your small business’ website visibility on search engine results. This is particularly useful to businesses that do not receive a lot of website traffic or have a new website that isn’t ranking well through search engines. SEM can be a great option to your marketing development plan as it can offer your business an opportunity to stand out amongst your competitors and bring new leads to your website.
Many often confuse the difference between SEM and SEO (search engine optimization). SEM is an umbrella term – it’s broader and typically refers to purchasing an advertisement on a search engine, like Google, whereas SEO is narrowly defined as earned and free, and gains your business’ sites traffic based on the content you have presented.
For example, try searching “Pizza” in your search engine. The organic blue search results that are first visible are those based on the search engine’s SEO computing techniques that are influenced by content and locality. The yellow search results that appear before these blue results or on the side bar represent paid/sponsored links.
When a business wants to get noticed online, oftentimes resources are spent on search engine optimization (or SEO), which is a process that leverages algorithms from search engines like Google and Bing in order for a company’s website to appear sooner in search results. Search engines choose their search results from a number of factors, including the searcher’s location and past searches in order display results that they think will best benefit their inquiries. These search engines show results they deem most helpful, relevant and useful to the searcher so they can link the user to the best content on the web.
When SEO is not an option, businesses will also engage in paid search. It’s a simple concept in which you pay the search engine to list your website either before the organic natural results, or alongside them on the right column. While the concept is simple, effective implementation is not: many companies have wasted money on paid campaigns because they didn’t understand the process or technical components. Hiring expert consultants in this area is advisable before spending any real money.
Google AdWords is the most popular place to get start with paid search. Similar to an auction model, Google AdWords allows a user to bid on specific keywords. The higher the bid, the better the placement of your advertisement. Google AdWords requires payment based on how many prospective clients have clicked on your ad listed on Google. It allows you to set a daily budget, decide on the geography in which you choose to advertise, and provides useful analytic and reporting tools.
SEM is a great way to make your website more visible on search engine results and bring new users to your site. If you’re not interested in paying for search results but still hope to rank high in search engines, ranking organically requires producing regular amounts of valuable content for your website, in the form of thought leadership pieces.
In part 5 of this blog series, we will discuss the benefits of media relations. Have questions now? Contact us for a complimentary consultation.