Every small business has fewer marketing dollars than it would like. So if you want your marketing dollars to stretch further, what can you do? 

Make your marketing more effective. Take search engine marketing (SEM). While you can get results by throwing money at it, taking the time to understand how it works will often get you the same results for less marketing spend. 

How SEM increases your online visibility

We know that people will usually do online research before making a purchase. And their first step will often be entering a query into a search engine like Google. As stats show that 75% of people never get past the first page of results, you need to get your website ranked there. 

But it’s difficult. Thousands of other businesses in your industry will be trying to rank for the same keywords as you – including the ‘big boys’. So what do you do? One option is to pay to have your results on the first page – aka SEM. 

Understanding search engines

The most important thing to understand about search engines is that they are all about relevance. Google and the others have designed their systems with the aim of delivering the searcher the most relevant results they can find. The search engines are competing for searchers and so invest considerable effort to deliver results that are more likely to answer the searcher’s query than their competitors. 

Search engines show two types of results on their pages – those that their algorithms tell them are the most relevant, and paid or sponsored ads. The people who own the `Ad’ and ‘Sponsored’ results have paid to get their position on the page. 

But, it’s not just about the money 

While paying will get you ranked on that all-important first page, it’s not the only consideration Google makes. They also select ads partly on how much relevance they’ll have to the user’s query. They use a formula to rank the ad based on:

  • The quality of the ad
  • How relevant it is to the search query
  • How much the person placing the ad is prepared to pay for a click-through.

The good news here is that if you make your ad and the web page it links to, the most relevant to the search query then you don’t have to pay the most to get onto the results page. 

And there is an extra twist. The search engine takes note of where the person making the query is located. Part of the relevance of the result is about how close the business is to the person making the query.

So while the good news is that you don’t have to have deep pockets to reach people by advertising on the web page, you do need to work on your ad and your web page to make them as relevant as possible.

Need help with your search engine marketing or creating high-quality content that will improve your ranking naturally? Then contact Hunter & Scribe at [email protected].