Small Business Marketing: Search Engine Marketing
Updated: Apr 18
Now that we’ve laid the foundation 🏗 for the fundamental categories of marketing, it’s time to dive a little deeper 🤿 and discuss tactics that are actionable for your business. I planned to cover 3 topics in this post, but as I hashed out the first one, I realized it needed its own post. Let's go!
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) are two sides of the same coin. Today, we're going to focus specifically on the two types of SEM: organic and paid. SEM uses various tactics to ensure your website is visible on search engine results pages. 🔎 With strategic and diligent SEM, you can position your business at the top of the results page for keywords associated with your products or services.
Organic Search Engine Marketing: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
In a broad sense, organic marketing simply means that you did not pay for the yielded results, other than with your time and effort (which is still valuable, of course!). If you're willing to put in the work to employ strategic optimization, you will see long term results without touching your budget.
SEO is both an art and a science. 🎨 🧪 First, you should familiarize yourself with search engine ranking factors so you can integrate them into your site. For simplicity's sake, let's focus on Google's ranking factors. The smarty pants engineers at Google 🤓 build ranking factors into the algorithm that determine the order of the links in your search results. It's essentially a split second checklist for websites. The more check marks they get, the higher they are on the list. There are more than 200 known ranking factors 🤯 such as keywords and mobile optimization.
”So how do I improve my ranking?” Well, since we know there are more than 200 ways to go about it, let's just highlight the basics:
Relevancy 🎯 - The most fundamental concept. How relevant is your site's content to the search query? This means the written content on your site should include lots of keywords and commonly-searched phrases related to your business.
Page speed/performance 🚀 - If your page takes forever to load, Google will penalize it. This is why choosing a reputable hosting platform with a powerful server is important!
Mobile optimization📱 - An often overlooked aspect of web design that is vital in today's era of the internet! More than half of all web traffic is on mobile phones. Your website must load fast and display content efficiently on mobile phones.
Page titles and descriptions 🗂 - All internal pages within your website (i.e. About Me, Services, etc) need a page title and description built into the HTML. Google isn't going to display a page result that doesn't have a title; and descriptions help Google find pages that are relevant to the search.
Image alt-text 🖼 - When adding photos to your website, adding alt-text descriptions to your images give them a chance of showing up in a Google image search.
URL structure - Google likes clean URLs that are easy to "read.” Here's an example:
Paid SEM: Search Ads
While organic SEO is necessary, it is a foundational component that yields long-term benefits. If you're looking for faster results in the short-term, Pay-Per-Click (PPC) can be a good investment. Pay-per-click is a type of SEM where businesses pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked. It’s an effective way to drive high-quality leads to your website. With a successful PPC campaign, you can boost website traffic, receive more phone calls, and/or increase in-person traffic.🚦
Google Ads is the most widely used PPC platform in the world. 🌎 Google Ads operates on a keyword bidding model, in which advertisers bid on keywords or phrases and “winners” are chosen with Google’s algorithm based on a number of factors like bid amount and landing page quality. 💯
As you may have guessed, keyword bidding can get expensive, quick. For small businesses with modest budgets, Local Service Ads may be a better option. Local Services Ads are pay per lead, not pay per click. Your budget is calculated based on the number of people who actually contact you by clicking a call to action on your ad. 🤳 Google Local Service Ads also removes the burden of keyword research. Instead, Google generates an ad according to your location, business hours and services that will be shown to potential customers searching for thousands of relevant keywords in your local area. 🏘
Ultimately, deciding which type of ad campaign to launch depends on your budget and how your business operates. ⚙️ If you have a brick and mortar location and want to increase local foot traffic, Local Search Ads makes sense. If you are web-based and offer products or services nationally or globally, bidding on relevant keywords and reaching a larger geographic area may be appropriate. It’s even possible to harmonize your marketing efforts with both types. 🎶
We've covered a lot here and even though this is just the tip of the SEM iceberg, there is no reason to stress! That's why I do what I do. I'm here to put your mind at ease and handle these tasks for you. If you're looking to capture more high-quality leads and increase traffic whether online or in-person, contact me for a free consultation! 👋👩💻
In my next post, we're going to talk about social media marketing. 💬 Scroll down to the bottom of this page to subscribe to my e-newsletter for blog updates and helpful marketing tips!