Before jumping into “the how” of Search Engine Marketing, let’s first figure out “the what”. What is Search Engine Marketing (SEM)? This term has been interchangeably used with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) but it is much more than that. Search Engine Marketing is all strategies and techniques that help increase visibility of your business’ website on the search engine results page of Google, ultimately leading to conversions. This means SEO is only a slice of the whole SEM cake. Paid campaigns, local search, social media and various other factors also play a role in Search Engine Marketing.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with everything that goes into successful Search Engine Marketing. That’s why we’re here to break down the 4 proven Search Engine Marketing strategies to help your business gain visibility on Google.
1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO, when done correctly, is the strategy that will most effectively increase your business’ rank in search engines. This keyword-based strategy links your webpage content to the query users enter into the search box. Google then serves what is most relevant in the organic results to give users the best experience. To optimize your site and make it more relevant to users, you’ll want to perform a good amount of keyword research. Determine search volume of keywords you want to rank for and focus those keywords within your webpage including but not limited to:
- Meta Descriptions
Be mindful of the manner and quantity of keyword use in your content. Overstuffing and spam-like content marketing will alert Google’s algorithm and actually harm your website performance down the line.
2. Pay Per Click (PPC) Campaigns
Paid advertising through pay per click campaigns on Google AdWords is another major Search Engine Marketing strategy that can get you on Page One of Google’s search engine results. Like SEO, paid advertising on the search network is also a keyword-based strategy. The difference with paid search is that you’re bidding for the top spot of the search results for keywords you target. That means you’ll need to bid at a competitive rate for your target keywords. You will also want to create ad copies that are compelling and lead to clicks. Finally, ensure that your landing page is relevant and aligns with your keywords and ad copy. With all that is involved in running a successful PPC campaign, you may require the help of a Search Engine Marketing company to handle the management of your campaigns and save your money in the long-run.
3. Local Search
As we’ve mentioned, Search Engine Marketing is any technique to increase your business’ visibility on the search results page. This may not always be in the form of a typical listed search result but in the local search pack, the map, or the Google Business listing. That’s where the Search Engine Marketing strategy of local search comes in. Optimizing your local listings is critical in gaining visibility and increasing traffic. The first step is to either create or claim your Google My Business page and have it verified. Then make sure all your business information is correct including name, address, phone number, business hours and description. It will also be beneficial to have listings on other platforms around the web, just confirm that your business information is consistent throughout. Another technique within local search involves creating optimized location pages on your website that can rank for local keyword search terms.
4. Social Media
Having an active social media presence is a key Search Engine Marketing strategy you don’t want to let fall by the wayside. Consistently engaging on social media platforms is an effective way to get your website boosted to rank higher in organic search results. When people are engaging with your social media posts, whether they are commenting, liking, sharing, it gives your website authority on Google. That being said, it might be a good idea to appoint a team member to regularly create content and post to your social platforms or hire a Search Engine Marketing company that offers social as part of their Search Engine Marketing services to help. Keep in mind that posting to social media is about quality, not quantity. Give your users relatable, engaging posts. Be consistent, but don’t be spammy.
Confusing SEM with SEO can cause you to miss out on so many marketing opportunities to grow your business. Don’t make that mistake. If you are working with a Search Engine Marketing company, make sure they offer everything that comes along with SEM and not solely SEO to get the most bang for your buck.
The author, Bob Ottaway, is President and Founder of Ottaway Digital. Established in 1999, it has been a pioneer in SEO, digital advertising & social media since 2006.