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Small Business Digest



Search Engine Marketing: The Yellow Pages Of The 21st Century

Richard Kahn

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) can be best described as the Yellow Pages of the 21st century.

Currently recognized as one of the highest performing marketing medium, SEM is an aggressive method to target prospective customers who are actively seeking a particular product or service.

Many industry experts argue that paid search is a necessary ingredient in any small business marketing model.

As Rich Kahn, CEO of eZanga argues, "paid search puts a company’s advertisement directly in front of the right audience, rather than relying on the search engine itself to decide how a company should rank on the organic listing."

He offers some tips for small businesses looking to increase exposure through SEM:

Tools and Reports: Whether a small business has someone in house or hired an outside SEM firm, make sure the right tools and reports are in place to monitor the campaign’s performance. Also, make sure the person in charge of your campaign knows how to interpret and use these tools.

Industry Experts: Along the same premise as above, it is important to have an SEM expert optimizing the campaign, considering the campaign will be competing against other industry professionals whose sole purpose is search engine marketing. Ensure there is enough experience, knowledge, and focus backing any online marketing effort.

Keyword Selection: When selecting keywords, remember to include words people would use to search for the product, including misspellings. The less competitive the keyword, the lower the cost per click.

Landing Page: What is the first thing a prospective customer sees when they click on a paid listing? Review the landing page where searchers are directed when the advertisement is clicked. Even if the homepage is rich with useful content, it may not convert well. A landing page should be focused and hook the searcher into wanting to learn more about the company and eventually lead to a conversion.

Phone Call Tracking: This is especially important for small businesses considering most conversions start with a call. Phone call tracking helps the SEM expert decide how the campaign should be optimized, and also gives the business owner the transparency to see performance, conversions, and a return on investment.

Kahn can be reached at

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