Search marketing is a process of strategically implementing keywords and phrases to get your business to the top of the search engines so you are found when someone searches for your type of business online.

If you’re thinking, “that’s clear as mud,” you’re not alone. Most small businesses aren’t using search marketing because it seems too complicated or too technical.

Now, I’m not going to lie to you. It can get very complicated and very technical, but unless you’re Pepsi competing against Coke — with a team of marketers working for you — you don’t have to worry about going that far with your search marketing.

You can even get to the top of the SERPS without spending a dime, through SEO, and here’s how:

What is Search Marketing?

Search marketing is the process of optimizing your marketing efforts in order to get your webpage to move up in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).

Search Marketing strategies

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

SEM is a strategy that focuses on paid advertising to get your business at the top of the “ads” section of Google and other search engines.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is a strategy that focuses on implementing keywords and phrases into your content in order to organically move your website up in the SERPs.

Can small businesses really influence search results?

Absolutely! No matter how small your business, you have the power to climb Google rankings — just by taking a few key steps.

While you can be on the top of the SERPs in as soon as a few minutes through SEM, you have to pay for it.

SEO takes time before you start seeing the results. But it doesn’t cost anything to implement and it will make it easier for new customers to find you online. And it can turn online search into one of your most profitable marketing channels.

Did someone say profitable?

With 46 percent of website visits coming from online search and 18 percent of local mobile searches leading to a sale within one day, ignoring search is costing you business.

But that changes right now.

I’ll show you how search engine optimization (SEO) allows you to take control of Google rankings and show up online.

Here’s how to get started with search marketing:

1. Write quality content consistently.

There’s no way around this one. Getting search engine optimization right starts with writing content that directly addresses your customers’ problems, interests, and questions.

When someone searches for a solution to their problem, you want your business to show up with a helpful resource.

For example, at Constant Contact, we know the holidays are a busy time for small business owners. They’re looking for an easy way to reach their customers and get the word out about their special holiday promotions.

So, we created a blog post to help small business owners plan for the holidays using our new holiday email templates:

How to Get Started With Search Marketing -  write content that helps your readers
This article was written specifically to help our audience find holiday email templates.

What should you write about?  

The best way to come up with content ideas is to keep an ongoing list of questions your customers or prospects ask you.

Make note of what your audience is interested in and consistently write blog posts to answer these questions. Once every two weeks is a good starting point — more frequently is even better.

In addition to talking to your customers directly, you can come up with content ideas though:

  • Social media listening: Keep tabs on what people are talking about related to your business on sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
  • Competitive analysis: See what topics your competitors are covering on their sites. How can you put your own spin on these topics?
  • Online surveys: Ask your audience what topics they’d like to learn more about from you.
  • Keyword research: Look into popular search terms related to your business. (More on that in the next section.)

2. Optimize your content for search results.

Once you’ve written your post, look for opportunities to optimize your content for popular keywords. Use a tool like Google Keyword Planner (part of Google Ads) or Moz’s Keyword Explorer to research which search terms are popular, related to your content topic.

These keyword tools might even help you identify new topics to write about. If you see a related search term you haven’t targeted yet, jot it down for a future post.

The perfect keyword has high popularity and low competition. But most importantly, the keyword has to be relevant to your audience and your content.

For our holiday email blog post, we targeed the keyword phrase “holiday email templates.” At the time I pulled the report, my chosen phrase had about 100-1,000 average monthly searches and the competition for that key phrase was low.

How to Get Started With Search Marketing - Use Google's Keyword Planner

I also used Google Trends to see if the search popularity picked up during the holiday season. As anticipated, there are big spikes in search popularity for this term every year from October-December.

How to Get Started With Search Marketing - Use Google Trends

Include your keyword in your content.

Once you choose the right keyword, add it to your content:

  • Headline
  • Meta description
  • Subheadings
  • Body copy, and
  • URL

Tip: Read this post for a comprehensive look at 5 On-Page SEO Factors All Small Businesses Need to Focus On.

3. Drive traffic to your content.

Search engines prioritize quality content that has an active audience. Promote your new post to your email list and your social media following.

Then, look for opportunities to link to your post on other areas of your site. Internal linking will drive more traffic back to your post and help the post build authority. Blog posts that are linked to frequently have a better chance of ranking well on search engines.

We included our holiday email post in our newsletter, shared it on our social media channels, and added it to our Holiday Headquarters page.

We also linked to the post in some of our other holiday-themed content:

How to Get Started With Search Marketing - place internal links in other articles
Internal inks, like this one, help your website to move up in SERPs.

4. Update your content.

Search engines like relevant, up-to-date information. If some of your older content is starting to get out of date, make updates to retain accuracy.

You might even want to occasionally republish content to benefit from a fresher timestamp. For example, we tend to release new holiday templates every year. So, we update and republish our existing post, rather than publish something brand new.

This will ensure that we still benefit from the optimization we’ve already established.

If you’re considering republishing an older piece of content, simply make your updates and add an editor’s note describing your changes.

editors-note-example

Is all this really worth the effort?

In 2020, our holiday email template post drove 38 trial sign ups. That’s 38 new customers that we might have otherwise missed out on.

Most businesses haven’t even scratched the surface of what search marketing can do for them — don’t let your business be one of them.

Start implementing search marketing today, to get your website to the top of the search results tomorrow.