411 Blog

Understanding SEM and Why it’s Good For Small Business

SEM report

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a crucial part of any business’ online marketing success. If you’re struggling to get noticed, SEM is one of the most effective ways to promote your business online.

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What is SEM?

Simply put, SEM is the marketing of your business on search engines like Google and Bing. It utilizes SEO and paid advertising to promote your business website or product to the top of search engines. The most popular form of promotion is pay-per-click (PPC) advertising on Google through Google Adwords.

See Also: How Google Adwords Benefits Your Small Business

How it works is you pay search engines for certain keywords related to your company, and your website or product will appear when someone searches using those keywords. For example, if you were in the business of custom cakes and someone was looking to have one made for their birthday, the first thing they would do is search Google. With SEM advertising, you will be at the top of their Google search, meaning they see your company first.


SEM example

Notice how the two companies highlighted are right at the top of our Google search.


Another simple way to increase your search ranks is through online directories. Particularly with attracting local customers, business directories like 411.ca help with both your rank in Google and with customers directly using the directory instead of Google.


Why is it good for business?


If it isn’t obvious already, there are three main reasons why SEM is good for business:


Increased visibility

SEM, through paid advertising and SEO, gets your business to the top of Google search. With (stat on how many Googlers in Canada), it’s a no-brainer to advertise on. You’ll be getting a ton more eyeballs to your website.


Increased lead generation

Not only will you be getting more eyeballs to your website, you’ll be getting the right eyeballs. Through SEM your website will be visible to people searching relevant to your product. It’s targeted to customers instead of the general public. Let’s go back to cakes: if someone is searching for chainsaws on Google, what are the odds they’ll also be in the market for a custom cake? But if someone is searching birthday party ideas, potential customer.


Staying on top of the competition

A lot of small business owners tend to be in niche markets, which is good for things like Google search. It’s a much more economical way to advertise your brand and give you the edge over others in your niche. If you have a good product/service (you should), over time this will increase brand reputation and the ROI on SEM will increase dramatically.


Whether you’re thinking about going online or are online with a website already, SEM (through SEO and PPC advertising) is an excellent, literal boost to your company. Now that you have a basic understanding of what SEM is and why it’s good, give it a try!


Want to start building an online presence? See how we can help your business with a business website, Google AdWords plan, or advertising on 411.ca.

David is a Marketing Communications Coordinator here at 411.ca. He loves all things sports, technology, video games, and of course, helping small businesses grow.