When running a small business, establishing a strong online presence is crucial.
By ensuring potential customers can find your business, you increase your chances of sales and lead generation. One of the best ways to promote your business on the web is through search marketing.
If you’re wondering ‘what is search marketing?’, Bubblegum Search has put together this guide to explain the basics. And remember, if you need additional support, the team at Gum search is always there to help.
Search Engine Marketing: The Basics
Search marketing is often referred to as search engine marketing or SEM. It is a way to promote your business website on search engines like Google.
With search marketing, you use paid and unpaid marketing channels to increase the chances of your website appearing as high as possible in search engine results.
Search marketing uses two different disciplines of digital marketing:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is the unpaid element of search engine marketing. It covers various strategies to increase the chances of your website appearing organically on Google. By organic, they mean results generated by the Google algorithm.
For example, search engine optimization can include:
- Improving the mobile-friendliness of your website
- Optimizing your pages for specific search terms
- Getting other relevant websites to link to yours.
Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)
PPC is the paid element of search engine marketing. This is when you pay money to get your website ranked as high as possible in search engine results.
Google Ads is Google’s advertising program. Buyers create online ads and bid a certain amount of money to have these ads appear above the organic results.
Search Engine Marketing: Pros and Cons
It is estimated that 93% of online visits start with a search engine. This means that taking the time to ensure your business ranks as high as possible will lead to additional website traffic and more inquiries.
With search engine marketing, you double down and use two different marketing disciplines to make sure this happens.
Here are some pros and cons of search marketing so you can see if it’s the right option for your business.
Pro: Starts working immediately and lasts a long time
The paid aspect of search engine marketing (PPC) starts working immediately, so you can get your campaign up and running very quickly.
Although unpaid SEO takes longer to take effect, the results are long-lasting, meaning you can continue to drive traffic to your website years after your campaign ends.
Pro: You can use it regardless of the size of your business
Both large and small businesses can take advantage of SEM to get more people to know about their business.
In fact, there is a branch of search engine marketing called ‘local search marketing’ which focuses on typically smaller businesses trying to rank as high as possible in their local area.
Pro: It can help you maximize your online presence
Both PPC and SEO work together to help you optimize your website and search engine presence.
For example, it is essential to increase the conversion rate for your PPC campaign by ensuring that your website or landing pages load quickly and provide a great user experience.
Page speed and user experience are also positive ranking signals for SEO. This means you’re not only helping the paid element of your SEM strategy, but the unpaid element as well.
Con: Can be expensive
A high-quality SEM campaign can be expensive, especially if you are a large business with several competitors.
How much does search engine marketing cost?
There are several factors at play that determine how much search engine marketing can cost your business, including:
- The size of your business. Generally, smaller companies pay less because they have fewer search terms to rank for
- The area your business covers. A business with a national or international presence will pay more for SEM than a business covering a small region
- How much competition do you have? If you have a lot of competitors in your industry, you’ll need to spend more time and money on search marketing to keep up. In their experience, the tourism, finance and retail sectors are some of the most competitive.
If you decide to work with an agency, a high-quality agency like Bubblegum Search will tell you what the costs will be from the start, so there are no nasty surprises.
Cons: You have to get the balance right
The different elements of search engine marketing complement each other well. However, if one is out of balance with the other, it can significantly affect your website’s ranking.
As mentioned above, SEO effectively generates organic clicks to your website, but it takes time to implement. It can take between 6 and 12 months to see results from an SEO campaign and often much longer to achieve optimal results. In contrast, PPC delivers results quickly, but you’ll lose your place in the rankings as soon as you stop paying for ads.
How do I build a search marketing strategy?
So far they have been dealing with the question ‘what is search marketing?’ and some of the advantages and disadvantages of its implementation. The next step is how to put together a search engine marketing strategy.
Planning ahead when it comes to search marketing is essential. You should:
- Understand your target audience. Who do you want to buy your products or services? Think about their hobbies, where they live and what time they are most likely to be looking for your site
- Know which keywords you want to target. It is better to focus on a few well-defined terms and phrases than on hundreds of irrelevant ones
- Confirm the intent behind these keywords. What is the goal of the person searching for the keywords you want to target? Are they doing research or ready to buy? Knowing this will increase the odds of a successful on-site conversion
It is essential that you focus on the paid and unpaid elements of search marketing equally and at the same time. Many businesses fall into the trap of committing to PPC in the early stages of their search marketing strategy and switching to SEO when they’re happy with how things are going.
The problem with this is that SEO takes a while to kick in, so if you leave it until last, you won’t see organic results for a long time.
Don’t forget to track your search marketing strategy and see how it’s performing. This will help you see what ROI you’re getting and you can adjust your strategy to optimize your campaign.
Bubblegum Search hopes this guide has answered the question ‘What is search marketing?’ and inspired you to create a search marketing strategy for your business. SEO and PPC complement each other well, so strike the right balance and you’re on to a winner.
And of course, if you need help setting up SEM for your business, read on…
Need help with your search marketing? Search Gum is here to support you
What is search marketing? It’s easy with them!
Their team of experts has years of experience in search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising. This means that if you need an agency that not only creates a search marketing strategy but also implements it, they are perfectly positioned to help you.
Contact us today for your free marketing plan and take the first step towards increasing leads and sales.