Most businesses want to increase their website traffic. One of the most effective ways of doing this is through search engine marketing. Search engine marketing, or SEM, refers to the process of gaining traffic and visibility from search engines through paid and unpaid search techniques. Search engine marketing’s greatest strength is its ability to put a business’s message in front of customers who are expressly motivated to purchase their product or service. No other marketing technique does this so effectively, making it a powerful tool for growing your business.
The two major types of SEM are:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) uses techniques to increase your website’s rankings in search engine results. Search engine algorithms are written to generate results that satisfy the user’s needs by referring them to the online content that is most relevant to their query. Several factors determine relevancy, including:
- Content: Before you try anything else, make your website content relevant and fact-filled. No amount of technical tweaking or trickery will substitute for real, useful information. Focus on the user experience and on providing answers to questions, whether they’re asked explicitly or not. (For example: a search user may not query “Where can I find a red organic cotton shirt, size Small, from Peru?”, but all of those details may be important to them nonetheless, so they should be in your product description.)
- Performance: Your website must be easy to navigate; it needs to load quickly; and it must have good cross-device performance.
- Meta Descriptions and Title Tags: The meta description is a short paragraph of text that appears under your page’s URL in the search results. It shows the user what the web page is about and encourages him or her to click the search result to learn more. Title tags tell search engines what your page is about and helps them connect pages with relevant queries. Use a few accurate keywords describing your page and use your brand name. It’s also important to tag the images on your site.
- Local SEO: Increasingly, Google is serving search results based on location. This is particularly important for businesses whose customers are local to them. You should register your business with Google My Business to ensure that it will show up when people are searching in your area.
In paid search marketing, you pay to put your content in front of people who are searching for businesses, products, or services related to yours. This usually takes the form of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, in which you pay only when someone clicks on your ad. (For example, when you use Google AdWords, your ad will display at the top or right side of the search results page.) Paid search enables you to have your website appear on the first page of search results. You can set an ad budget that works for you and the ad will stop running when your budget runs out.
With more and more people searching for products and services online every year, it’s important for your business to show up high in search engine results. Having a well-designed and optimized website is essential to the success of any business in this tech-dominated environment, and using paid search is the logical, nearly-essential next step.
If you want to learn more about using SEM, SEO or PPC to help your Bay Area business find new customers and increase sales, contact The Light Digital for a free marketing consultation.