Increasing your small business’ online visibility is a necessity in today’s increasingly crowded marketplace. Everybody is competing for people’s attention, and if you want to grow your business then you might need to consider paid advertising – aka Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
SEM is a form of digital marketing in which you pay for your business to appear in relevant search results. This usually works on a pay per click (PPC) basis. Every time someone clicks on your ad it then costs you a set amount of money.
What’s the difference between SEM and SEO?
Many small business owners get confused about SEM and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). While SEO is a part of SEM they aren’t completely the same thing.
- SEO is about optimizing your website to get higher rankings in organic search results.
- SEM is paid search marketing that involves small business owners paying Google to show their ads.
Simply put, in SEO, small businesses do not pay Google for traffic and clicks while in SEM, it’s a requirement that can’t be overlooked.
How exactly can you succeed at SEM?
To succeed at SEM, you need to:
- Define an effective strategy. Identify your target audience, their needs and highlight how your products can fulfil these needs.
- Conduct keyword research and select a set of keywords. Choose phrases that are not only relevant to your small business, but also ones that are searched for most often by your target audience.
- Select a geographic location for the ad to be displayed within. If your small business caters for people who live/work in your area, you can include your location on your profile to enable your target audience to locate you easily.
- Create a text-based ad to display in the search result. Keep it simple. You don’t want to exhaust and bore your audience.
- Bid on a price you’re willing to pay for each click on your ad. The beauty of SEM is that you pay what you can afford.
SEM can be a really effective digital marketing tool to increase your online visibility in the short term. However, if you want long term results don’t neglect the importance of SEO.