Search engine marketing (SEM) is one of the most effective ways to boost sales by increasing traffic to your business’s website. It’s similar to search engine optimization (SEO), but the two shouldn’t be confused. SEM makes your website visible to a broader audience, while SEO involves rankings within the Google algorithm and where your site appears in Google search results. Whether you’re starting your own small business or your company’s new website just went live, here are four reasons why effectively using SEM can help increase your sales.
1. Spread the Word
An established or reputable business can attract customers by word-of-mouth, but a new business relies on advertising to get the word out. You can’t be timid, especially during those first few weeks after you launch your business. The more traffic you generate to your website, the better your odds are for more new customers. SEM also increases the chance of repeat traffic and returning clients.
2. Increase Visibility Beyond SEO
Search engine optimization is a low-cost method that focuses on keyword placement to increase a website’s visibility in search engine results. Search engine marketing also increases your website’s visibility in search engine results pages, but with a small investment on your part, as you use paid inclusion, paid placement, and paid contextual advertising. Also referred to as pay-per-click (PPC), this method gives you a higher return rate than using SEO alone because it becomes available to a larger audience.
3. Buy a Higher Ranking for Your Site
Think about what happens when you type something into a search bar. You want to find what you need quickly and will typically click on one of the first few results that pop up in your search. With SEM, you pay for higher search listings, so your website has a higher ranking and ideally ends up with more clicks. AdWords by Google is one of the most popular advertising products available, but social media websites, like Facebook, are now beginning to offer PPC services.
4. Utilize Keyword Research
Keyword research is the best place to start if you plan to use SEM for your website. The most common keywords tend to be more expensive for smaller companies, but the most obvious keywords aren’t always the best choices. Rather than choosing generic words, like “restaurants,” use keywords that are more specific to your business so you don’t get lost in the shuffle. These are called long-tail keywords and better target your potential buying audience.
Using search engine marketing not only helps increase sales in the initial stages of launching your small business, but it maintains the longevity of your business as well. When a site has a good ranking and begins to generate traffic, it maintains that higher rank with increased sales potential over time as your business grows. Establishing a good reputation and planning for the long term is necessary for any small business’s success.