SEM: The Need to know

July 29, 2019 Kevin White


SEO, SEM, PPC…For many small business owners, these Internet acronyms might as well be a foreign language. “But they can become powerful sales tools at the hands of a small business,” says Anne Coqueugniot, SEM product manager for Yellow Pages.


What’s the difference between SEO and SEM?

“When someone uses a search engine, the results are organized according to relevance,” Coqueugniot explains. “Paid search (search engine marketing or SEM) makes it possible to appear near the top of the list.” The results that come next are known as organic, as they’re earned based on best practices (search engine optimization or SEO) embedded in the web design itself.


Even SEO isn’t free!

Even though you don’t pay directly for SEO, it comes at a price. “It takes a lot of time and effort to optimize a website,” Coqueugniot adds. “You pay for that time, whether it’s invested by an employee, an external partner or yourself. And you have to be patient before reaping the rewards of your work.”


Paid search offers quick results

Even though search engines have essentially replaced the good old telephone directory, the process remains the same for consumers: they’re searching for a product or supplier to fulfil a basic need. “Paid search makes it possible for companies to reach potential customers during their buying journey and to influence their decision,” Coqueugniot explains.


Since its inception, Yellow Pages has been working closely with local neighbourhood businesses. Our SEM service was developed to help support the needs of SMBs.


An advertising tool for small businesses

Mass media reaches a huge audience and so it’s more expensive; the cost is calculated based on the audience it can reach. “That’s why paid search is beneficial for small businesses,” Coqueugniot explains. “You can target based on a geographical area or specific research to reach a pool of potential customers at a lower cost.”


Google partner: Yellow Pages SEM campaigns are run by more than 50 managers, all proudly certified by Google AdWords. So you can count on the same expertise, no matter your budget!


A controlled investment

With paid search, you can control exactly how much money you invest without going over budget. “For example, a business owner could choose a limit of $10 per day,” Coqueugniot explains. “As soon as the budget limit has been reached, the ads are suspended until the next day. So you can see positive results even on a smaller budget and have SEO keep pace with sales.”


How do you know if SEM is working?

Before we can measure success, we have to define it – a paid search campaign’s performance depends on your objectives. “If the goal is to raise brand awareness, we measure impressions, which is the number of times an advertisement has been displayed,” Coqueugniot explains. To measure visits to a site, we track clicks, and for new clients, we measure conversions (phone calls, emails, forms, etc.).


How to know if SEM is right for you

If your business is already running at full speed and your team is always busy, there may be little benefit in investing in SEM. “But if you see potential for taking on additional orders, paid search can generate a lot of value, and quickly,” Coqueugniot shares.


Busy? Leave SEM to the pros

Time is a precious commodity for small business owners who often take on multiple roles at once. “Hiring professionals to manage paid search can allow you to focus on your business, knowing your company is in good hands,” Coqueugniot points out. This can also mean avoiding beginner mistakes!

Did you know Yellow Pages currently manages paid search campaigns for approximately 9,000 SMBs – more than any other company in the country?


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