Today’s digital landscape makes it easier than ever for companies of all shapes and sizes to stand out. However, search engines remain the absolute best way for a business to get noticed. Nearly 90 percent of all customers initiate their buying process on a search engine. Needless to say, it’s in your best interest to rank highly on the search engine results.
Fortunately, there’s a relatively easy path to getting seen when people conduct a Google search. Search engine marketing (SEM for short) involves using paid methods of advertising to appear right at the top of Google’s search engine output. In essence, if you play your cards right, you can cut the line and place your site right in front of the eyeballs of people who are looking to do business with a company like you.
Unfortunately, SEM is a tricky game to play, and it can easily result in lost time and money if you don’t execute properly. Here’s the best way to use SEM to get your name out there.
- Find the Right Keyword. What are people actually going to search for when they’re trying to find a business like yours? Move beyond what you think you know about your audience and figure out what search terms might translate to actual consumers. The right keyword is one that’s sensical and searchable, but isn’t already populated by rival businesses. Popular tools include Keywordtool.io and Google’s AdWords can help you to gauge traffic for your list of keywords, allowing you to drill down on which keywords will work best for your business.
- Pay Per Click. In SEM, you’re not guaranteed a specific placement on a search results page (SERP). Instead, you’re entered into an auction with others who are targeting the same keyword. The highest bidder generally – but not always – gets placement on the SERP, in a prominent place alongside the top organic search results for that keyword. Naturally, the higher you are on the page, the more likely people are to click your ad, so it’s a good idea to pay as much per click as necessary to get noticed. But there’s more to this SEM strategy than simply bidding heaps of money on a keyword auction.
- Incorporate Organic SEO. The other factor in determining auction wins is your site’s Quality Score – Google’s secret algorithm that it uses to prioritize legitimate, high-quality content over spammy sites that may try to pay their way onto Page 1 of the SERP. The combination of a high Quality Score and aggressive bids should land you atop the search engines, and one great way to increase your site’s quality is to incorporate the very words around which your SEM strategy is based. Put your keywords in your site name, your meta tags and your page names, and sprinkle it in here and there within your website copy. You don’t need to overdo it; in fact, simply stuffing your site with your keywords will have a negative effect on your Quality Score.
The other benefit to increasing your Quality Score is that you’ll have a two-pronged attack. Not only will you land paid search ads on your desired SERP, but you’ll also bring your site up the traditional search rankings through your dedication to organic SEO. This is a major credibility boost that shows viewers that your site is legitimate. It’s also a backup to those searchers with ad blockers, who would otherwise never see your paid ads.
No matter how the world of commerce changes, most purchases will always start with a search engine. These SEM tactics will cover your bases and make sure you’re ready to garner traffic from your keyword of choice, over both the short and the long term. If you need a little help getting started with SEM, contact us today.