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How to Design a SEM Strategy for Your Small Business

In the world of digital marketing, traffic is tops, always. Using a targeted search engine marketing or SEM strategy, you bring more traffic to your website. Primary among these techniques is paid advertising or PPC, but there’s more to this than meets the eye.

Are you a small business owner looking into how to build a SEM strategy? Wondering where to start? Join us today as we break down everything you’ll need to put digital marketing to use for you.


What Is A Search Engine Marketing Strategy?

Search engine marketing, or SEM, uses paid ads to help secure business placement on the search engine results pages (SERPs). Whether products or services, the point is to guarantee that specific keywords bring your business up in the top search results.

How it differs from SEO, specifically, is in the payment aspect. Search engine optimization uses targeted content creation to naturally boost a website to the front of the SERPs. It’s a longlasting technique, but also requires lengthy investment. SEM, meanwhile, is designed for quick results through paid advertising. It can, however, include SEO in certain cases.

So, SEM is popular with the world’s biggest search provider. It’s worth noting, though, that search engines besides Google have their own brand of marketing. 

Strategic Avenues

The value of a comprehensive search engine marketing strategy is in its potential to generate site traffic at a quick pace. But this is actually a much broader term than many people realize, and may include some of the following:

  • SEO, as mentioned
  • targeting of search results
  • site directory submissions
  • manage paid search engine listings
  • locked down marketing strategies
  • social media marketing

Search engine marketing strategies combine some or all of these activities. As we’ve covered, it is most well-known for pay-per-click advertising, but it is a holistic process. 

How To Build A SEM Strategy

For success in your search engine marketing strategy, you’ll have to start by creating an SEM plan. And the best way to jumpstart this process is to know what to look for when you’re getting started with your strategy:

Your Target Audience

It’s important to know who actually wants to visit your site before any sort of investigation or deliberation over what you should do. With a firm understanding of who you’re speaking to, you’ll always know what to say.

Clearly Defined Goals

Do you know what your goals actually are? Many people start their marketing plans with some nebulous concept in their minds. “I want to get my name out there”. “I want people to know my name”.

But what are your actual goals? And what would achieving them actually look like?

SEM Tools

When you buy professional keyword analysis tools, one of the first benefits is in having the resources to improve your keyword usage. For many small businesses, the initial investment might seem like a jump. But, with a little research, you can make keyword research and implementation a breeze.

Keyword Testing

Getting the best performance out of your keywords isn’t a foregone conclusion. There’s a certain amount of trial and error that has to go into it in order to get more traffic, more consistently. That trial and error comes in the form of keyword testing.

Split testing your SEM campaigns is crucial to developing a well-rounded SEM strategy. Split your budget between two strategic keywords in each of your early releases. With different release times and other factors in place, you can narrow down what works best for future search engine marketing.

Link Building Tech

Link building starts with inbound links back to your onsite blogs and forums, designed that increase your search rankings. Link building is about getting quality references back from authoritative sources. And affiliate programs, aggregators, and specialized tech all help to achieve that.

Promote Your Website

Give some thought to your brand and, by association, your website. Then take to some of the free options we all have online and get to promoting! Create videos on YouTube. Backlink from Instagram photos.

Even non-paid marketing can add to your overall performance. As they say: “Every little bit helps”. Add articles about your website site to popular submission sites in your niche, making sure to backlink to your site, every time.

Make sure to always remember your SEO, even if you aren’t running an SEO campaign, per se. Regular updates to your blog will keep your RSS feed refreshed. This, in turn, helping to encourage backlinks to your site through organic sources in your industry. As always, visibility is key, and this is a great way to stay visible.

Tracking Your Campaign’s Performance

It’s important to note that even good search engine marketing solutions are pointless without tracking.

There are a few metrics to track your SEM performance:

  • Ad Impressions: Referring to the number of times your ad is shown on any given search page, this number indicates your ad’s overall visibility.
  • Click Numbers: An important metric, the number of times your ad is clicked on by a consumer indicates that potential conversions further down the funnel. 
  • Keyword Performance: When certain keywords within your niche perform better than others, it’s a good idea to target those keywords, if possible. Keyword research is your key to that data.
  • Cost-per-Click: This refers to the cost of each click charged by the search engine, making it a good measurement of your ad’s overall value.
  • Engagement Events: How many of your pages did a visitor actually visit? This is the metric to find out.
  • Assisted Conversions: This is a representation of how many interactions your visitor will make before finally converting.
  • Calls and Form Fills: A valuable end-experience metric, this shows how many calls and forms were filled out as a result of a single click through one search engine ad.

SEM Strategy

In the world of digital marketing, we’re luckier than traditional marketers. When someone searches for something online, they’re almost always already on the hunt. With a comprehensive SEM strategy in place, it’s possible to put your branding in people who are looking for it, long before your competitors.


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