Online marketing has become imperative for success across all industries, not just for internet businesses and e-commerce brands.

As a business owner, your expertise lies in your core product or service and likely not in the world of search engines and website optimization, making the mere thought of putting together a complete internet marketing plan daunting. Attacking each aspect of online marketing one at a time can make the job much easier, and search engine marketing is a smart place to start for any small business owner. To help you get started, here are some common questions and answers regarding this powerful form of online marketing.

What Is Search Engine Marketing?

Search engine marketing is a broad term that refers to promoting your business by making it more prominent in search engine results. The visibility of your website in search results has a big impact on how many people encounter your business. Studies show that the top listing on Google receives about 33 percent of the traffic for any search term, while the second place result receives just 18 percent of clicks. The share of clicks rapidly decreases as you travel down the page with the 10th-place result receiving only 2.4 percent of traffic. So, if your business appears on the second or third page of Google searches, it’s unlikely that it is seen at all.

What is Google AdWords?

Google AdWords is an advertising program offered by Google that allows businesses to place targeted ads on the Google search results pages. If you’ve ever used Google to search for something, you’ve seen these ads before. Typically, one or two AdWords ads appear at the very top of the search results page. Additional ads are placed on the right side of the page.

What Are the Benefits of Search Engine Marketing with AdWords?

Investing in Google Adwords campaigns is a simple way to get started with search engine marketing and can produce a good return on investment when campaigns are executed properly. Paying for ads can increase the chances of your business appearing prominently in the search engine listings when people in your area are looking for businesses like yours. Many small business owners find that Adwords ads lead to faster increases in web traffic than search engine optimization, which doesn’t guarantee a prominent position on the page and can take time to produce results.

man working on SEO strategy

Do You Have to Be an Online Business to Benefit From Search Engine Marketing?

Brick-and-mortar retail store owners and restaurateurs often wonder if it’s really necessary for them to worry about their Google rankings at all, and the answer is undoubtedly, “Yes!” Research shows that as many as 97 percent of people now use the Internet to look up businesses before they visit. Google has taken the place of the yellow pages and become the number one way that people find places to eat and shop. If you want to continue attracting new customers or diners, you must concern yourself with how you’re appearing in search results.

What Are Keywords?

Keywords are the most important part of a Google AdWords campaign. A keyword is a term that people type in when they’re looking for a particular type of search result. The key to success with AdWords is identifying the keywords that are most likely to attract people who will actually come into your store or restaurant. To find great keywords, think about what your ideal customer would likely type in the search box to find you. Be as specific as possible. For example, if you own a Chinese restaurant, “Chinese restaurant” would be a much better term than simply “restaurant.”

How Does Google AdWords work?

When you create an AdWords campaign, you bid on keywords, telling Google how much you’re willing to pay to have your ad appear when someone types in a specific word or phrase. You also establish a maximum monthly budget for spending. Each time someone clicks your ad, your account is charged for the amount you bid. When your budget is completely spent, your ads will no longer appear until the next budgeting period.

Google offers a wealth of information about the AdWords program with many helpful guides available to help you succeed with search engine marketing, and signing up is simple. Consider trying a small campaign to see for yourself what the benefits are for your business.

About the Author

Paul Nugent is a small business advocate, and Head of Marketing at ShopKeep point of sale’s UK headquarters. Paul uses his background in the startup space, along with his POS system expertise, to allow small business owners to make informed decisions within their specific budgets.