Digital marketing has many layers. Combining multiple strategies can help small businesses put more muscle behind their marketing efforts — and ultimately drive revenue. A robust plan typically includes digital ads, web content, video content, social media, email and more. That’s where SEO and SEM come into play. When done right, they can help round out your overall digital marketing plan in a big way.
Search engines can be a powerful way to connect with your target demographic. You just have to know how to work with them. BrandMinded is an SEO and SEM firm Tampa can trust. We’ve been at this a long time and rely on data-driven solutions in all we do. Let’s unpack why SEO and SEM are essential to your digital marketing success.
What is SEO?
“Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the practice of improving your content and your website to boost your ranking, specifically on Google,” says Matthew Hall, Senior SEO/SEM Specialist at BrandMinded.
To get to the top of Google search results, businesses need to create content that helps searchers find what they’re looking for and have a positive search experience. This is the heart of Google’s recent helpful content update. It’s designed to prioritize people-first content — and devalue clickbait and unhelpful content.
“When we’re talking about SEO, we’re talking about making sure that the content and the website are up to par with Google standards so that it will rank higher,” says Hall. “By default, that usually helps the ranking on other platforms as well because other platforms, like Yahoo and Bing, largely model their algorithms off of the Google algorithm.”
What does SEO look like in practice? Instead of trying to manipulate your content and your Google ranking, SEO involves optimizing your website and blog posts so that they’re:
- Authentic and reflect the voice of the brand
- Original (not published elsewhere online)
- Helpful to your audience and tailored to their needs
What is SEM?
Advertising is a huge revenue source for Google. In 2021, the search giant brought in over $209 billion dollars in ad revenue. After typing in a search query, you’ve probably noticed advertised search results that pop up at the top of the results page.
“Depending on which search query you’re looking at now, someone could have the organic rank as number one, but you don’t even see them at the top of the page,” says Hall. “You actually have to scroll down to even get to them because there are ads on top of it.”
SEM, which stands for search engine marketing, leverages search result ads to your advantage. Google ads can also appear within the shopping tab, on Google Maps, or on Google search partner websites.
How SEO and SEM Work Together in Digital Marketing
While SEO is extremely important to improving your search ranking and getting organic traffic, SEM is equally valuable. The two work hand in hand. Hall says the goal is to strengthen SEO to the point where you can eventually decrease your advertising spend.
“The truth is that if anyone wants to get business immediately, they have to spend money on ads if they want any sort of rank or visibility on Google,” he says. “A lot of people want to be first organically, but that’s a lot longer of a strategy, especially to do it properly.”
The Google Ads platform can get you moving in the right direction in terms of generating leads. Consider it part of your overarching digital marketing plan. One side of the coin is growing your organic ranking — the other is SEM. With SEM, we can turn on the faucet tomorrow and get that traffic flowing while you build out your SEO strategy.
“As an agency, we have employees who are dedicated to analyzing the data we receive on a regular basis,” says Hall. “We are always checking campaigns. Without the right guidance, you could easily spend $1,000 in a day and get nothing for it if there’s even a small error in your configuration. There are lots of nuances, and BrandMinded understands them.”
Ready to take your digital marketing plan to the next level? Contact us today to get started.
With a fresh year ahead of us, small business owners are looking for ways to elevate their marketing game. Hitting your revenue goals is all about increasing brand awareness and generating new leads — and, of course, serving your customers well. Digital marketing is a powerful way to reach both potential and existing clients, but there are many ways to go about it (some more effective than others). We’re kicking off the year by rounding up the best marketing strategies for 2023.
“Video is just becoming so much more important, especially with the rising use of reels,” says Matthew Hall, Senior SEO/SEM Specialist at BrandMinded. “We’re going to be focusing on producing more video content for social media for our clients this year.”
Considering that 20% of all Instagram activity takes place on reels, it is critical to drive exposure so we can maximize our client’s reach potential. It’s no secret that short-form video is taking over social media, so in order to get in on the action we need to stay knowledgeable about the ever so changing algorithms of platforms such as Instagram.
“We’re seeing a lot of video content for sure, especially short-form video,” says Alyssa Drum, Digital Account Coordinator at BrandMinded. “With the rise of Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts, a lot of platforms are trying to get in on that. We have such a small window to capture our viewers’ attention right now.”
She suggests creating two versions of a video when working on any campaign; a 15- to 45-second one for social media, and a longer version for the brand’s YouTube channel or website.
Hall adds that Hulu is another platform worth exploring. “In the past, you’d need to have a media buying agency handle that, but now Hulu has opened it up to marketing agencies like us,” he says. “That’s something we’re exploring a lot as well because we think there’s a lot of value there.”
Digital marketing is continuing to evolve and change. What worked a couple of years ago isn’t necessarily resonating with audiences anymore, especially on social media.
“Authenticity is big,” says Drum. “In the photos we post, people want to see things that are organic-looking and natural, as opposed to a graphic style.”
In other words, social media users will likely scroll past a generic, static image. Instead, the focus right now is on storytelling, connection, and a sense of realness. In 2023, Drum plans to leverage social media takeovers to capture user attention. This is often an employee or someone relevant to the brand “taking over” the company’s social media channels. The result is a more face-to-face feel. It’s similar to doing a “Team Tuesday” on social media. This allows users to get to know a company, which helps humanize the brand.
“We usually get more engagement with those kinds of posts,” says Drum.
Partnering with Nano-Influencers
You might think that teaming up with a big social media star would be a great marketing strategy, but it can be hard to persuade these folks to work with small businesses. Drum says there’s another approach that’s proving to be very effective.
“Nano-influencers are becoming a big thing,” she says. “We’re moving away from big, A-list celebrities partnering with brands and going more toward social media users who have only a couple thousand followers.”
These influencers still have substantial reach, and they may be more likely to believe in your brand’s values. Drum says it’s a great way to promote a genuine feel and earn the trust of social media users.
Strategic Content Marketing
Google rewards helpful content. This is content that puts people first, instead of trending keywords. Brands that are focused on gaming search engine results could be penalized by Google and actually worsen their ranking. Strong content:
- Is well written and authentic (not generic)
- Is relevant to your target demographic
- Helps web visitors get information or solve a problem
- Establishes a sense of trust with the reader
- Demonstrates your brand’s values
When it comes to the best marketing strategies for 2023, BrandMinded understands that every small business is different. The strongest approach for your brand will depend on your goals, target demographic, and brand identity. We’re here to help you figure out what it all means — and create a game plan that works for you. Contact us today to get started.