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Search engine marketer

Certain businesses benefit more from search engine marketing than others. Generally speaking, if you offer a business-to-business product or service you will likely find less value in SEM than if you sell direct to consumers, but there are many exceptions. The biggest questions to ask are “are my customers using search engines to find suppliers?” and “how much competition is there to get their attention?”.

How can a Search Engine Marketer help me?

Having a higher position in search engine results leads to more traffic. If you target appropriate keywords and your website is optimised to convert traffic into sales, you will find that the higher your position the more sales you get.

The ultimate goal of Search Engine Marketing is to climb to the top result of valuable keywords, but due to competition this can require significant time, effort and investment to achieve. Most small businesses do not have the resources to target highly competitive keywords, as large companies dedicate significant budgets to maintaining their search positions, so a Search Engine Marketer will help you determine the most valuable keywords you can realistically gain position in.

The first step is to gain a position on the first page of the search results for your chosen keywords. Committing to a consistent strategy and monthly budget is the best way to increase your search ranking and it can be months until you accumulate enough search authority to gain a high listing. Once you have achieved one of the top ranks for your keywords, it is important to maintain your strategy and spending, as otherwise you will see yourself slowly overtaken by competing websites.

What does the SEM process usually look like?

If you hire a professional to assist you they will want to take stock of your current position. They will analyse your website and competitors to see which keywords are most important and how well you are targeting them. They will want to go through your site and optimise the content to ensure you are hitting these keywords if you aren’t already, and they may go into your site’s code to update the metadata if necessary. They will also ensure sitemaps have been submitted to the major search engines and that Google analytics is installed to track your progress.

Once your site has been optimised, they will begin the process of using paid display ads and building backlinks to your site in order to drive traffic and increase your ranking.

Search Engine Marketing Tips

  • Ensure your website is well-structured and submit a sitemap to the major search engines
  • Install Google analytics to assess the nature and origin of traffic
  • Fill your website with relevant, valuable content which uses your favoured keywords naturally
  • Update your site regularly with new content
  • Refine your paid advertising by experimenting and keeping notes on what works well
  • Ensure your website's titles, meta-descriptions and alt-tags are filled out with relevant keywords

Common pitfalls

  • Choosing a cheap provider who uses grey-hat or black-hat SEO/SEM techniques which hurt your ranking in the long term
  • Choosing keywords which are too broad or too competitive
  • Creating paid ads which are not relevant or do not compel a viewer to act
  • Not researching your competitors and marketplace thoroughly to ensure you are matching or beating their online marketing strategy