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Search Engine Marketing (SEM) for Small Businesses

“With a tailored search engine marketing strategy and the use of paid search ads, you can reap all the benefits of being at the top of search results on Google or Bing – even if your website isn’t ranking well organically.”

Harrison Magoutas, Founder at Voltihost

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) for Small Businesses

We all know the importance of a great online presence. Especially when it comes to promoting products and services, it is extremely beneficial for your business. However, although you may’ve invested in a great brand design, if you can’t be found then you’re not maximizing your return on investment with your online presence.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) offers one of the best solutions to optimize your search engine performance. With a tailored search engine marketing strategy and the use of paid search ads, you can reap all the benefits of being at the top of search results on Google or Bing – even if your website isn’t ranking well organically. Over time, the data you collect from executing a paid search strategy will pay dividends. Among many benefits, you will be able to retarget your advertisements to an interested and relevant audience.

What is Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) refers to a paid search campaign, where a business drives traffic to its website by buying keyword placements and displaying ads on search engines. In short, businesses pay a search engine to display their ads in search results when customers search for specific keywords.

If implemented properly, search engine marketing can do wonders for your business. Before spending your budget, do some research on your target audience to determine their expectations and the nature of their daily habits.

Why a good search engine marketing strategy is important…

Understanding user intent is the key to successful SEM campaigns. Users indicate exactly what they are looking for when they enter a search term, providing a good indication of where they are in the buying journey. Make sure you have developed campaigns and ads with content and keywords that will resonate with the visitor if they are new to the market, looking to benchmark, or willing to buy. At the end of the day, ensure that whatever you are providing – information, product, or service, is adding value to the user who is performing the search.

Contrary to popular perception, it is not necessary to have a large budget to get started in search engine marketing. Anyone can start on a small budget to test the market by experimenting to understand the potential volume of market activity better or if tweaking is needed.

Top factors for successful search engine marketing

Before creating your first campaign you should consider these key factors to create a successful search engine marketing campaign.

Define your SEM campaign goals

This point is crucial for your campaign to function properly. To define the objectives of your campaign you must ask yourself: What do I want people seeing my ads to do?

Here are some common examples of primary paid search campaign goals:

Boost overall traffic volume

Perhaps, your website is an information hub where you generate a profit from ads placed on your website. Or you run a niche blog and want to capture the attention of readers to generate commission from affiliate marketing. Maybe you are just trying to collect visitor data and want to know the answer to questions like, “which audience demographics spend the most time on my website?” and “how many pages on average do visitors look at per session?” as a secondary goal.

Gain more views on a specific webpage

Perhaps, you run an online store and wish to promote a specific product for a limited time. Or you provide a service and wish to run a limited time promotion. In these cases, you may desire to route paid traffic to specific web pages for a target audience that is most likely to be interested in the products or services you offer.

Defining your goals will help you choose the right type of campaign within the paid search tools to create ads and give the right focus to your campaign.

Relevant keywords

The choice of appropriate keywords is one of the essential factors in creating successful search engine marketing campaigns. If you want to reach the people who are searching for your products or services in Google, you must find the exact terms that your potential clients are using to search for your products or services.

An effective strategy to find the relevant keywords is to think of the terms that people who want to buy your products or services would use, identify them, and then make a list. Put this list in the keyword planner that Google Ads has available on its platform and use it to find other terms directly related to your products or services and choose the most appropriate ones.

Relevant ads

A very important part of your campaign is the writing of your paid search ads, the ad copy, so that your ads stand out above those of your competition. This attention to detail will help you generate specific, relevant, attractive, and effective ads. It is extremely important that your ads are relevant to both your potential customers and the search engine (like Google).

Conduct A/B testing

If you aren’t sure which audiences to target, then allocating microbudgets to conduct A/B tests can help narrow down your audience targeting to the most relevant audiences who are the most interested in what you provide.

When you find and target the right audience, you’ll gain several benefits:

Spending your ad budget more efficiently

Lower your Cost Per Conversion / Acquisition (CPA)

✓ Lower your Cost Per Click (CPC)

✓ Lower your Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM)

✓ Improve your marketing Budget Attainment

Improved Campaign Performance

✓ Increase the number of clicks to your website

✓ Increase your Click-Through-Rate (CTR)

✓ Increase your Google Ads Quality Score

✓ Increase your Conversion Rate (CVR)

✓ Improve your Average Position

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