Search Marketing 101: What Every Business Owner Needs to Know

By Christen Hailey

      Oct 27, 2020     Solutions    

There are many options for marketing your small business these days. It can be challenging to find the best method with the highest return on investment for your specific needs.  

However, marketing pros agree that one strategy should always be in your arsenal -- search marketing.

Amping up your search marketing, with the goal of appearing at the very top of SERPs (search engine results pages), will multiply traffic to your website and help convert the maximum number of searchers into paying customers. Search marketing is a strategy that every business needs to engage in. So, what do you need to know to get started?

What Is Search Marketing?

Search Marketing is using a combination of organic search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click advertising to improve the search ranking of your website.  

This is an essential marketing strategy because millions of people search the internet every day to find solutions and services they need, and they are mostly clicking on the first result they see.

According to Search Engine Journal:

  • The first result on SERPs typically receives 28.5% of clicks.
  • The second result receives only 15.7% of clicks.
  • The third result receives just 11% of clicks.

It's very important for businesses to try to increase their rankings and rise above the competition.

Services like Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Yahoo Search Ads will help your company website rise to the top. But, your success with search marketing will widely depend on how much of your resources and budget you are willing to put toward getting closer to the top of search ranking pages.

What Is Organic SEO?

Organic SEO is the strategy a brand implements to help them show naturally, or organically, at the top of SERPs. Here is an example of organic search results.

Organizations should first tackle raising their SERP placement via organic SEO efforts as search engines are the primary method of navigation for most internet users. Social media is great at generating visits to your website, but search queries have extraordinary value, providing targeted traffic and increasing revenue.  

SEO gives the major search engines a bit of extra help steering potential customers to your site and boosts your exposure. SEO is a little on the complex side. So, if you're just a beginner, start out by getting to know most important factors for organic SEO. 

Keywords. Google Analytics will help you figure out which search terms are already pinging your website organically. And Google's Adwords tool will help you search for related terms and help you craft a strong list of unique keywords. You’ll need to target both head terms (one or two-word short, generic phrases) and long-tail keywords (longer phrases used to target a more specific niche demographic).  

Content. As always, content is king. By creating a useful, information-rich site with fresh, relevant content your customers can appreciate, you will organically drive your page rankings higher than ever before. Visual content is vital. Shareable images, videos, and infographics which can be reblogged will drive more traffic to your site and add to your ranking score.  

Related: How To Optimize Your Brand's Website When You Have Multiple Locations

Links. One of the largest ranking factors exists off your site. Search engines look at how many links on other sites are pointing back to your site, and they give better ranking to sites that have a lot of high-quality links directed at them (because this tells Google that this is an important website). Part of a strong SEO strategy is building backlinks that point to your website.

On-page SEO. On-page SEO refers to both the content and the HTML source code, and it increases your page’s relevance and helps stay in tune with Google’s ever-changing page ranking analytics. It includes: 

  • Title Tags: The most important tag for on-page SEO is your title tag. A successful title tag is descriptive and short (60 characters or less) and should use your main search keyword.
  • Body Content: Use headings and subheadings, supported by relevant content, to keep your page performing well in the rankings.
  • Meta Description: Your meta description is another crucial element for your on-page SEO. The meta description should quickly convey your page’s value to your potential audience. A finely crafted meta description for your website will generate a competitive advantage in search results, inspiring a higher click-through rate, which leads to more customer conversions. Meta descriptions are usually snipped at around 155-160 characters, so keep your meta between 90-155 characters.

Local SEO. Local SEO strategies optimize a website so it shows up when nearby customers conduct a search. Local SEO is an essential search marketing strategy for brick-and-mortar businesses who want local customers to find them via search.

When it comes to organic SEO, keep something in mind. Google recommends that you always keep your page primarily for users, not search engines, and think carefully about what makes your website unique, valuable, or engaging to help it stand out from your competitors. So, always think about readers first.  

Once you’ve grown your SERP ranking organically, the next step to reaching the coveted top slot is utilizing paid search marketing.

Related: My New Website Doesn't Show Up in Search. Why?

What Is Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising?

Pay-per-click advertising, often referred to as just PPC, is a digital marketing strategy wherein businesses pay to appear at the top of SERPs. The brand is charged each time a person clicks on the ad, which is why it is called pay-per-click. Here is an example of paid search results.

PPC campaigns are designed by targeting keywords that your target audience searches for, and then creating ads that will catch the attention of the people searching for those phrases.

The most popular pay-per-click advertising service in the world is Google AdWords. If your marketing budget is robust, you can have the top position as soon as your payment clears.

However, it sometimes pays to start smaller by trying out your campaign on a service with a smaller search volume, like the Yahoo! Bing Network. YBN has the advantage of having a much lower cost-per-click, and your business can perfect its search marketing strategy before committing to the higher cost.  

Successful pay-per-click search marketing will drive visitors to customized, relevant landing pages, leading to revenue generation that provides a satisfying return on investment.

Related: PPC for Local Business: How Use Adwords to Attract Customers

Start Building Search Marketing Strategies

It may seem daunting at first, but search marketing is an affordable and approachable strategy for increasing brand recognition and generating sales. Interested in using search marketing to take your business to the next level?

MyArea Network can help. Their savvy and creative staff can help you become a digital master in no time. Schedule a free consultation to see how they can help you reach your search marketing goals.