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How do I approach SEM when I am a small business?

SEM is a powerful paid tool that, combined with an organic strategy, can lead to real results in the long term.

What do I need to know about SEM?

You want to optimize your SEO and now must choose between an organic or paid strategy or a combination of both.

It is essential to understand the differences between these two approaches to then define which one is the most appropriate for your company.  

SEO (search engine optimization) is the process of improving your search engine rankings using organic digital strategies and techniques such as internal linking. Although this technique is non-paying, the constant efforts in keyword research, creating quality content and identifying your target audience ultimately requires a significant investment in money and time! Since your site will be more easily found, you will see an increase in your conversion rate and traffic to your site.

Even if these results will not be felt immediately, you will gradually gain visibility and the results you obtain will be sustainable.

SEM (Search Engine Marketing), on the other hand, allows you to obtain quick results, but not lasting ones, because they stop once the budget is over. On Google, for example, paid advertisements generally appear above the organic search results. This type of SEO is effective because it presents ads in the right places, at the right times, to the right people. Through techniques such as “remarketing”, it is possible to present targeted ads to individuals who have already shown an interest in your product, thereby encouraging purchase.

To learn more about the differences between SEM and SEO, check out this article.

When should SEM be considered as an advertising tool?

Even if SEM is not necessary for many types of businesses, it should be taken into consideration, as it allows to increase the visibility of a company considerably and quickly. According to Semrush, 50% of SMEs spend less than $300 per month on online marketing. In a very competitive world, this tool becomes a way to get relevant results and give you the opportunity to stand out from your competitors. 

Is this strategy relevant for SMEs?

We believe that this strategy is very relevant for SMEs, because despite the popular idea that SEM requires a lot of monetary investment, it is possible to get real results with small amounts of money.

This strategy is adaptable to all types of budgets and its level of return on investment is high. It allows a precise targeting according to several factors such as the geographical area or the consumption habits.

Moreover, the work of an SEM specialist consists in going for a level of detail when programming SEM advertising content. Indeed, thanks to daily optimization, it is possible to better perform in order to adjust the ads according to the most interesting time periods.

For example, the Montreal Canadiens foundation does not necessarily have an interest in placing SEM ads during the hours of a field hockey game. The value of the keywords is likely to be 4 to 5 times more expensive and the clicks will undoubtedly show a very high bounce rate, which will lower the quality score. Instead, use less busy periods to use the budget at a better time to collect donations.

How to marry SEO and SEM together to gain efficiency?

When talking about SEO, it is often implied that you must choose between an organic or paid strategy. It is important to know that for optimal results, the combination of the two is an excellent strategy to adopt.  

SEM and SEO basically have the same goal: 

– Increasing traffic to your website. 

However, it is in the longevity of the results and the speed with which they are achieved that the two approaches differ.  

SEM provides almost instant results while successful SEO requires long and painstaking work.  

On the other hand, when the results of your organic strategy show up, your positioning will remain optimal, even without investment, which is not the case with the paid strategy. 

Using them in tandem is therefore the way to go, as each one complements the other perfectly and will help achieve the desired SEO goal.  

Questions to ask yourself

  • Do I need help reaching potential customers?  
  • What type of business do I have? Would SEM help me reach new prospects? 
  • Could I allocate a portion of my budget to this advertising tool?  
  • Do I have the means to verify the performance of my paid search? 

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    Weisbach, C. (2018, February 9). The Value Of SEO And SEM For Small Businesses. Forbes. Retrieved October 27, 2021. Online.

    La Presse. (2018, May 18). Petites entreprises | Ce qu’il faut savoir sur le SEM. Online.

    Actualite referencement. (2021, February 11). L’importance des stratégies SEE et SEM pour les entreprises. Actualite referencement | Just another WordPress site. Retrieved October 27, 2021. Online.

    Amici, O. (2020, August 10). SEO pour les petites entreprises : Guide du débutant pour vous lancer en 10 étapes. Semrush Blog. Retrieved October 27, 2021. Online.

    Zhukova, N. (2017, October 17). 50 faits incontournables sur les PME en 2017. Semrush Blog. Retrieved October 27, 2021. Online.

    Godin, C. (2021a, July 7).Quelle est la différence entre le SEM et le SEO?billy.socialRetrieved October 27, 2021. Online.

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    Caroline Godin

    Billy.Social Présidente et fondatrice

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