With so many larger companies scaling back their workforce (or going out of business altogether), there has been an flood of experienced and qualified professionals going into business for themselves instead of trying to find a job in this difficult economy.
It’s no secret that small businesses are constantly under pressure to attract and convert new customers. That coupled with the fact that there are a lot more avenues to advertise your business than 10-15 years ago will cause many businesses to fail before they even start because they do not know how to promote themselves in today’s environment. Google is easily the largest medium consumers use to find what they need, but it’s also the most competitive.
How do you go about breaking through the mass of competition that advertises online? There are two main ways: Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is paying a search engine to appear when certain keywords are typed by searchers. This is not to be confused with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which is getting your website’s visibility to rank high in the organic results section of a search. It’s important to use both strategies.
Many companies stray away from search engine marketing because they have to pay to play, so to speak. There is a fear of “what if someone clicks on my link and doesn’t buy or call?” That is a valid concern, but the alternative is not showing up at all. Customers can’t call you or buy from your site if they don’t know you exist. To calm your fears, Google will only charge you if someone clicks on your link.
You can set how much you want to pay for a click and you can have a daily budget, so if you want to run a campaign for $500, it can be spaced out over time. Another benefit from SEM is that you can launch your campaign quickly. You have an event you want to promote for 1 week? No problem.
Search engine optimization, on the other hand is an ongoing process. Industry insiders say that it takes at least 6 months for search engine optimization efforts to show any positive signs in search results, and 9 months before you can start evaluating the effectiveness of your search engine optimization strategy.
Effective SEO strategies also need to adhere to approved tactics. This includes having links that are valid, fresh content, a website that is coded correctly, and posting to social networks (among other things). Trying to cheat the system with black hat or “grey” hat techniques can have devastating consequences. One example of Google striking back against unsavory linkbuilding techniques occurred in January 2014, when Google banished Rap Genius from Google search results and forced their domain to appear only on the fifth or sixth page of search engine result pages.
Which Online Marketing Approach Should You Use?
Not everyone will click ads that appear at the top of Google searching—knowing those are paid ads vying for their attention. On the other hand, if you don’t use search engine marketing you are giving at least three competitors the opportunity to be seen before you in search engine results.
Mark Purtell, Director of SEO at Media Whiz, suggests that small local businesses utilize geo-modified keyword targeting in their local marketing efforts. Purtell suggests that marketers start by, “optimizing for the geographic areas that have the highest demand for the specific product or service that is being sold and working down from there.”
If your small business is just getting started with search engine optimization and search engine marketing, building geo-targeted content can create opportunities for your landing pages to claim page 1 rankings while still adhering to a limited budget.
At YOakleyPR, we use Google AdWords to create and generate a list of focus keywords and long-tail keyphrases for each client to utilize naturally throughout their website, in their blog content, and in their social media outputs.
When it comes to search engine optimization, consistency is key. You will want to be sure that you are using the best on-page search engine optimization and off-page search engine optimization tactics available to improve your website performance and conversion rates.
Whether you want to make an immediate splash with Google AdWords, bolster your social media presence or improve your organic online presence, YOakleyPR has the tools and expertise to help reach your goal. We currently offer all new clients a “Spend $25, receive $100 in Google AdWords” voucher that can be credited towards a new Google AdWords campaign.
If you’re interested in learning more about what we can do for your organization or business, give us a call at (215) 450-6059 (EST) or click here to contact us.
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