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What is Search Marketing: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide

When you run a small business, it’s crucial to establish a strong presence online.

By ensuring prospective customers can find your business, you’re increasing the odds of making sales and generating leads. One of the best ways to boost your business on the web is through search marketing.

If you’re asking the question ‘what is search marketing?’, Bubblegum Search put together this guide to explain the basics. And remember, if you need a little extra support, the team at Bubblegum Search is always here to help.

Search Engine Marketing: The Basics

Search marketing is often referred to as search engine marketing or SEM. It’s a way of promoting your business website in search engines like Google.

With search marketing, you’re using paid and unpaid marketing channels to increase the chances of your web pages appearing as high as possible in the search engine results.

Search marketing utilizes two different digital marketing disciplines:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is the unpaid element of search engine marketing. It encompasses various strategies to boost the odds of your web pages appearing organically in Google. By organically, they mean results generated by the Google algorithm.

For example, search engine optimization can include:

  • Improving the mobile-friendliness of your website
  • Optimizing your pages for specific search terms
  • Getting other relevant websites to link to yours.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)

PPC is the paid element of search engine marketing. This is when you pay money for your web pages to rank as highly as possible in search engine results.

Google Ads is Google’s advertising program. Customers create online adverts and bid a certain amount of money for these ads to appear above the organic results.

Search Engine Marketing: Pros and Cons

It’s estimated that 93% of online visits start with a search engine. This means that taking the time to ensure your business ranks as high as possible will lead to additional website traffic and more inquiries.

With search engine marketing, you’re doubling down and using two different marketing disciplines to ensure this happens.

Here are some search marketing advantages and disadvantages, so you can see if it’s the right option for your business.

Pro: It starts working straight away and lasts for a long time

The paid aspect of search engine marketing (PPC) starts working immediately, so you can get up and running your campaign very quickly.

While the unpaid element (SEO) takes longer to take effect, the results are long-lasting, meaning you can continue to direct traffic to your site years after you’ve completed your campaign.

Pro: You can use it no matter the size of your business

Both large and small companies can take advantage of SEM to make more people aware of their business.

In fact, there is a branch of search engine marketing called ‘local search marketing’ that focuses on typically smaller businesses trying to rank as highly as possible in their local area.

Pro: It can help you get the most out of your online presence

Both PPC and SEO work together to help you optimize your website and search engine presence.

For example, it’s essential to maximize the conversion rate for your PPC campaign by making sure your website or landing pages load quickly and provide a great user experience.

Page speed and user experience are also positive ranking signals for SEO. This means you’re not only helping the paid element of your SEM strategy but the unpaid element too.

Con: It can get expensive

A high-quality SEM campaign can be costly, especially if you’re a large business with several competitors.

How much does search engine marketing cost?

There are several factors in play that determine how much search engine marketing can cost your business, including:

  • The size of your business. Generally, smaller businesses pay less as they have fewer search terms they need to rank for
  • The area your business covers. A business with a national or international presence will pay more for SEM than a business that covers a small region
  • How much competition do you have? If you have a lot of competitors in your industry, you will have to dedicate more time and money to search marketing to keep up. In their experience, the tourism, finance, and retail sectors are some of the most competitive.

If you choose to work with an agency, a high-quality agency like Bubblegum Search will tell you what your costs will be from the outset, so there are no nasty surprises.

Con: You need to get the balance right

The different elements of search engine marketing complement each other well. However, if one is out of balance with the other, it can affect your website rank significantly.

As mentioned above, SEO effectively generates organic clicks to your website, but it takes time to implement. It can take between 6 to 12 months to see results from an SEO campaign and often much longer to gain optimal results. Conversely, PPC brings results quickly, but you’ll lose your place in the rankings as soon as you stop paying for adverts.

How Do I Put Together a Search Marketing Strategy?

So far, they’ve looked at the question ‘what is search marketing?’ and some of the advantages and disadvantages of implementing it. The next step – is how to put a search engine marketing strategy together.

Planning ahead when it comes to search marketing is essential. You need to:

  • Understand your target audience. Who do you want to buy your products or services? Think about their hobbies, where they live, and what time they’re most likely to search for your site
  • Know what keywords you want to target. It’s better to focus on a handful of well-defined terms and phrases than hundreds of irrelevant ones
  • Acknowledge the intent behind these keywords. What’s the goal of the person searching for the keywords you want to target? Are they carrying out research, or are they ready to make a purchase? Knowing this will increase the odds of a successful on-site conversion

It’s essential to focus on the paid and unpaid elements of search marketing equally and at the same time. Many businesses fall into the trap of dedicating themselves to PPC in the early stages of their search marketing strategy and moving to SEO when they’re happy with how things are going.

The issue with this is that SEO takes a while to take effect, so by leaving it until last, you won’t see organic results come through for a long time.

Don’t forget to monitor your search marketing strategy and see how it’s performing. This will help you see what return on investment you are getting, and you can tweak your strategy to optimize your campaign.

Bubblegum Search hopes this guide has answered the question ‘what is search marketing?’ and has inspired you to create a search marketing strategy for your business. SEO and PPC complement each other well, so get the balance right, and you’re on to a winner.

And of course, if you need some help putting SEM in place for your business, read on…

Need Help With Your Search Marketing? Bubblegum Search Is Here to Support You

What is search marketing? It’s simple with them!

Their team of experts has years of experience in both search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising. This means if you need an agency to not only create a search marketing strategy but implement it too, they’re perfectly placed to help.

Get in touch today for your free marketing plan and take the first step towards growing your leads and sales.

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