Last week, how many times did you open a web browser and use a search engine? If you are like most, quite a few times! We all use search engines countless times a day!  Whether you are looking for a phone number, a location, online shopping, or to see if your favorite celebrity is still alive and how old they truly are!  In fact, 93% of all internet activity begins on a search engine.[1] Search engines act as a filter for the infinite amount of data that exists throughout the world wide web and deliver relevant and valuable results.  These search engine results are then delivered to the exact individual searching based on the question or phrase asked, past search history, location, and a host of other factors. This is great for finding what you’re looking for quickly, but what does this mean for your business?

We’ve all heard the terms – PPC, SEO, SEM, SERP – but what do all those letters stand for? And why, as a business owner, should you care? This may seem as complicated as learning a new language, but it is as simple to understand as it is crucial to your business, so let’s begin with some basic terminology.

SERP – Search Engine Results Page.  These are the online pages of results when you enter a word or phrase into search engines like, Google or Bing. These platforms deliver information in an order that best fits the query.

SEM – Search Engine Marketing.  SEM is utilizing search engine platforms either through paid or organic efforts, to appear higher in search engine results and thus drive traffic to your website.  Both will require an investment -either time or money. But we also know that when you apply both, the results for your organization are exponentially better. The closer your website is to the top, the higher the visibility of  your company, products, or services to interested individuals which increases the likelihood of a web visit, phone call, lead or sale.  Bringing your ranking up also gives you the ability to “push” competitors onto deeper pages.

PPC- Pay Per Click.  This is exactly what it sounds like.  This is the paid form of search engine marketing. It allows advertisers to bid for ad placement in a search engine’s sponsored links when someone searches on a keyword that is related to their business offering.

A lot goes into building a winning PPC campaign: from researching and selecting the right keywords, to organizing those keywords into well-organized campaigns and ad groups, to setting up PPC landing pages that are optimized for conversions. Search engines reward advertisers who can create relevant, intelligently targeted pay-per-click campaigns by charging them less for ad clicks. If your ads and landing pages are useful and satisfying to users, Google charges you less per click, leading to higher profits for your business. So if you want to start using PPC, it’s important to learn how to do it right.[2]

SEO – Search Engine Optimization. This is the organic approach to improving and essentially, optimizing your search engine ranking.  This is by no means “free-advertising”.  Optimizing your website is a long term commitment.  It is imperative that your content contain the key words and phrases your customers are searching online.  This includes everything from your product and service descriptions to blogs and links.  SEO involves correlating your content to your target audience’s needs.

Search engine marketing is one of, if not the lowest cost investment for lead generation. According to Google, 76% of people who use their their smartphone to perform a search for something nearby will also visit a business within one day. (28%of those searches for something nearby result in a purchase.) If your business is at the top of those results or even on the first page, there is a likely chance you’re getting those customers.  If your business is a few pages in, you may need to work on improving your SEO.

If your business needs any assistance in improving your search rankings, optimizing your website for search, or putting a pay-per-click ad campaign together, we are here to help you or answer any questions you may have. Our team of dedicated digital marketing specialists are creative problem solvers who are eager to help you grow your business!