Since smartphones are now the norm, nearly every consumer does research online to aid in purchasing decisions. Consumers research goods and services all day. This is why search engine marketing (SEM) has become such a vital part of planning a successful business. Online marketing is for both brick and mortar and online based businesses.
There are two basic types of search engine marketing: organic search engine marketing and paid search engine marketing. Both can be important to businesses. A mix of the two types is usually best for attracting web traffic. The main goal is to have your website appear as close to the beginning of the search results as possible. Customers are often short of time and, frankly, attention span, so the longer it takes them to find your website the less likely your business is to see a sale.
Paid search engine marketing can be helpful for many businesses. It can be especially helpful for businesses just starting up who have not yet developed a following or have a lot of competition. Pay Per Click (PPC) is the most prevalent form of paid search engine marketing. As the name suggests, businesses pay for each click on the ad rather than a flat fee. This is a way to pay for only what the business uses. These types of ads are often displayed on the top of Google search results. They will contain “ad” in the search results but will be near the top. The goal is to be at least on the first page of search results as buyers will often not go past the first page of results. Social media also sells this type of ad where the business pays per each customer reached, not just a flat fee for running the ad. It’s comforting to see that your ad is being perceived by potential customers as opposed to just running an ad in the newspaper classified ads.
Organic search engine marketing is, again, as it sounds marketing that gets clicks organically. This method is not effective without proper research. Businesses need to determine what keywords their customers type into the search bar. This is accomplished through search engine optimization(SEO). The key words found during the research process need to be planted on the company’s website so that they come up when that search is run. It’s not a matter of just planting a word anywhere on the website; it’s much more artful than that.
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Keywords are often planted on websites through easy-to-read content that makes sense for the company. This would be in the form of short articles or blog entries. Another key to search engine optimization is making your website search engine friendly. You want to have links to other relevant sites as well as information that will help your customers in their mission without driving business away.
Other forms of SEO can include posts to social media, short videos, testimonials/reviews from satisfied customers and having your products used on other websites. Many businesses have a social media account now where they make posts relevant to their field on a regular basis. This is an increasingly popular way to get customer’s attention.