Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is an absolutely essential service if you want your business to succeed online, but the initial selection process often poses several challenges for entrepreneurs and merchants who do not know what signs to look for in a SEM firm. This article will discuss some of the most common criteria for selecting the best SEM service provider for your website or company.
Goals: Even before you start looking through the endless list of possible candidates, you should make it clear for yourself just what your companies goals and priorities are. Once defined, this makes it much more likely that you will get exactly what you want. Don’t go into the evaluation process looking to get to the “first page on Google”. While it’s certainly a commendable effort, the first position on the natural search engine results pages itself carries no value to your business unless you know how to monetize your website.
Planning: The best goal is to focus on an optimal return on investment. Before you pay for any search engine marketing services, consider how you’re going to get that money back by turning a profit. For example, there’s a big difference between the way an e-commerce and subscription-based website should approach this problem. Spend plenty of time on predicting the outcome of your marketing campaign. Compare the value of each click made by new visitors to the money spent on SEM. Remember that search engine marketing is a long-term commitment and you need to consider the amount of time it would take for the services you purchased to take effect.
Customization: Don’t expect search engine marketing companies to provide you their services without any input from you. If you want to receive real value for your money, you need to be familiar with the processes involved in SEM and be able to guide the service providers toward the direction that best fits your business. An approach that takes the unique goals of your business into consideration will always fare better than ordering a generic “SEM package”, even if it’s sold by one of the most reputable providers online.
Transparency: Another benefit that comes with familiarity with search engine marketing is being able to discern what are the exact steps that a SEM company will take to benefit your business. If you feel that the service provider you’ve contacted is hiding something, you probably shouldn’t proceed with your order. After all, they shouldn’t have any problems with giving you a brief look into their SEM process if what they do is truly effective.
Experience: It’s not that important how many years any particular SEM firm has been online, and even the number of clients they’ve served is not always relevant. What you need to look into is what kind of clients they have worked with and the results they provided. Search engine marketers that claim to have operated for ten years, but only have one or two good examples to show for it shouldn’t be considered for your project. On the other hand, a SEM firm that is only a year old, but has worked with the same two clients for the last 6 months and already increased their profits can probably provide a quality service to your business as well.
Summary: Search Engine Marketing can prove beneficial to your company over the long term. SEM strategies take time to implement and they come with costs. However, a well executed SEM strategy will provide your business with a good return on its investment.