Since its invention, Search Engine Marketing (or SEM) has become a vital part of the advertising world. Used by companies and businesses to direct people towards their website, SEM can easily reach more people than any billboard, flyer, or commercial ever would. It does this primarily through search engine optimization—writing website content in order to rank your website higher in search engine results—and pay-per-click advertising. Both of these techniques have the potential to dramatically increase the number of people who stop by your site while surfing the web.

Higher numbers of visitors to your site might seem like the ultimate goal of search marketing. The more visitors your website attracts the more sales you’re likely to make, right? Maybe. SEM isn’t just about increasing your numbers; it’s about the bigger picture. To actually convert leads and make sales, you’ll need to attract the right kind of visitor. Search engine marketing can be invaluable in helping you do just that.

 

Quality Over Quantity

Getting traffic to your site is a vital part of capitalizing on internet commerce. However, your primary focus shouldn’t be on quantity of page views alone: you should also concentrate on the quality of those views.

For example, if a business specializes in exported cured meats, focusing on numbers alone might bring scores of visitors to the site who are vegetarian or vegan and who have no interest in the product. This is why it’s important to not only focus on traffic, but on the most relevant traffic. A solid SEM campaign should focus on drawing in people who are likely to buy your product or service; 10 quality leads beats 100 uninterested viewers every time.

 

Edging Out the Competition

Believe it or not, many businesses are still without a website. In fact, according to the Tampa Tribune, a 2013 survey conducted by Google found that 55 percent of small businesses don’t have an online presence.

Companies without a website aren’t able to use SEM marketing techniques; they have nowhere to direct their traffic. This is something companies with websites and a solid SEM strategy can capitalize on. If your competitors are still marketing like it’s 1989, make sure you’re using SEM like it’s 2015. If your competition isn’t capturing the target demographic for your products and services, that’s all the more reason to make sure you’re doing everything you can to capture it.

 

Every Page Counts

Just like it’s important to focus on the bigger picture of SEM, it’s also important to focus on the bigger picture of your website. Remember: every page counts.

When a visitor arrives to your site through SEO content found elsewhere, they might not land on your homepage. Thus, it’s important to make sure every page on your site is ready for visitors, and able to clearly communicate your products or services. SEM gives you a chance to make a call for action, no matter where on your site a visitor finds themselves.

 

Think Like a User

Looking at the number of visitors to your site doesn’t tell you everything; you might need to dig a little deeper to find out how to convert leads. One way to do this is to review which specific pages your users are landing on and look for patterns of behavior. If one particular landing page has a high bounce rate and a poor track record of converting visits to sales, then consider reworking it or having it mimic a landing page that has better conversion numbers. SEM allows you to hone your marketing efforts to reach your target audience, but you must be willing to look past the mere number of visitors and, instead, analyze their actions.

 

Remember that It’s Not About You

At the root of SEM is the knowledge that your website isn’t about you—it’s about your users. Sure, you want to make sales and earn money, but the only way to do that is by making certain the user experience is top notch. This is why, for instance, your content shouldn’t be all sales pitch or endless advertisements; it should be something the visitor can use.

For instance, if your website devotes most of its content to explaining why your product is better than every other product available, you might need to refocus. You must give viewers something that engages them, educates them, or inspires them to make a purchase. Instead of focusing on how your product is better than the rest, demonstrate how useful the product is on its own merits.

 

In the end, search engine marketing isn’t just about drawing a larger and larger pool of visitors to your website. The real goal is to grab the attention of the potential customers most likely to actually buy your product or services. Keeping the user in mind when writing your content, tracking your visitors’ behavior to develop more effective content and making every page on your site work for you are the best ways to get the quality traffic you need.