Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is like gambling. You bet your money on specific key-words or phrases to gain a higher ranking for searches that use those words. This may get you to the top of a page in the paid results for a particular phrase but the fact is that no one can promise you an organic #1 ranking on Google. The internet is dynamic with new sites and blogs constantly being added to its cyber-awesomeness.
Is paid search the only way?
Paid ads aren’t your only option and there is research that says search marketing is largely ineffective. As a small business your goal should be to go after local search intent and develop your traffic more organically.
- Develop word of mouth advertising by providing great customer service.
- Use your newsletter. Your subscribers are a core group of engaged people – don’t neglect them.
- Develop specific, relevant, unique content – and update your website every so often. Don’t pad your pages with a keyword (visible or invisible) or create dummy pages with your URL repeated ad infinitum. Attempting to exploit loopholes in different search-engines will only get your site bounced.
- Practice good linking: Blogs, social networking (Twitter, Facebook), self-promotion tools or listings (like Yelp!), joining professional groups (Chambers of Commerce, professional trade associations), exchanging links with similar pages – can all help generate “trust” for your domain and content.
- Listen to your customers: As a small business you are in a powerful position to talk to your customers face to face. You can adapt quickly to trends and relate to customer concerns as a neighbor and human being. In the long run, this is better than any advertising money can buy.