Search engine marketing on the Google platform has different facets: Google My Business as a digital business card, website optimization (SEO) or paid advertisements (Google Ads). With the right mix of measures, every company can win new customers through the “Google Search” channel.

Many companies would like to land in the first place on Google. But the competition is fierce, and Google is constantly updating its algorithm so that the order of the results keeps changing. But even small and medium-sized companies do not have to sit and watch as the big players take all of the top positions.

Search engine marketing, or SEM (Search Engine Marketing), is ultimately independent of the size of the company. Those who regularly invest some work in their search engine marketing can experience quick success. What is crucial, however, is a good plan and understanding of how a search engine works.

“Google has only one interest: to find the best result for the user and thus to answer all questions”, explains Alexander Sperber, managing director of the SEM agency UnitedAds.

Every entrepreneur who wants to improve his online marketing should therefore first ask himself: What does my target group want to know and how can I answer this question better than anyone else. Search engines use complicated and self-learning systems; but the customers are people who google to solve their problems. Regardless of whether you are looking for a nice restaurant or a complex B2B product. So if you know what your own customers are looking for, you have a clear advantage. With this knowledge, the entrepreneur can improve his site so that the potential customers can find the answers they are looking for.

Google My Business

Google My Business is a central service from Google that can be used to control all major Google services for companies and especially local companies. With a complete company entry on Google My Business, company information can be bundled and updated in the Google search, in Google Maps or on Google+.

In addition to all important information such as contact details and opening times, companies should also write a meaningful descriptive text. Use it to include terms that potential visitors from your area might search for.

There is also the possibility to write small entries with pictures. In this way you can draw attention to events or new products.

Analyze the statistics in your business account regularly. There you can see which search terms users used to find out about your company or which images were clicked on particularly often.

The Google competitors Apple Maps and Microsoft Bing Places also offer the possibility of entering company entries in their map services. Google has a market share of over 90 percent in Germany, but it still makes sense to use the other providers as well. The Apple map service is always preinstalled on iPhones and Microsoft Search on Windows computers. Registration is easy and the company profile can be created in a few minutes: mapsconnect.apple.com and bingplaces.com

Also google B2B customers

Whether machines, spare parts, consumables, tools, work materials – many companies have buyers who take care of the procurement of such goods. Often enough they still have to struggle through thick paper catalogs or search through Excel lists. It is much easier and faster with an optimized website.

“Even when you address B2B customers, you should always ask yourself: What is my target group looking for?” Explains search engine expert Alexander Sperber. Because Google always shows the most useful page on a topic at the top, you should design your website in such a way that it is particularly informative for your potential customers.

The success of search engine optimization (SEO) measures can also be analyzed quite easily. For example with the Google Search Console. In the Search Console, you can see which search queries people use to get to your website. You can analyze the impressions, clicks and the position of your website in the Google search results.

However, Alexander Sperber warns against viewing SEO as a one-off project. “A lot of customers think that you spend a couple of months working on it, then you’re number 1 and don’t have to worry about it for the next few years,” he says. But SEO is a cutthroat competition. “No matter what great things I’ve done, if my competitor does it better at that moment, he’ll pass me by,” says the SEO expert.

Search engine optimization (SEO)

Search engines like Google or Bing scour the Internet day and night and categorize all pages thematically. Search engine optimization therefore means helping Google & Co. to identify what a page is about as easily as possible.

Keywords

The keyword thing sometimes sounds confusing for SEO beginners. A keyword is actually just another word for a search term. Think about what words or phrases potential customers could google for. Use this on your side.

Look for keywords that are not used by every second online shop. What makes your offer special? It is unlikely that you will ever be at the top of the search term “women’s shoe”. “Nuremberg shoe store” would be more promising.

Attractive content

In the early days of Google, it was particularly important to have as many keywords as possible on the page. This sometimes resulted in nonsensical, barely legible texts. Search engines are much smarter today. Write clearly and comprehensively. Also use synonyms for the keyword. Also important: a meaningful structure. Include logical paragraphs and subheadings.

Backlinks

Google tries to suggest helpful and trustworthy websites to its users. Therefore, pages are rewarded that are linked, i.e. recommended, by a particularly large number of others. Basically: back references from related and influential pages are more relevant. By the way, buying links does absolutely nothing. Google now recognizes attempts at manipulation. Instead, ask customers, business partners or bloggers from your industry whether they can recommend your site to others.

technology

In addition to the content, there are numerous technical reasons that ensure a better Google ranking: fast loading times, secure data transmission (encryption) and the optimization of the website for mobile devices. That a website is technically flawless is the basic requirement in order to land in the top places. Make sure that your site complies with the latest technology standards.

Google Ads

In addition to SEO (Search Engine Optimization), i.e. optimization for normal search results, there is another discipline: SEA (Search Engine Advertising).

Search engine advertising is about paid ads in Google or the Microsoft search Bing. Here companies can buy advertising space and thus increase their visibility on the Internet. “But why should I spend money on online ads when I already have a website and a Google My Business listing?” The answer: The Google Ads ads are still displayed above the regular Google results. Entrepreneurs who only rely on SEO are therefore not always visible at first glance. You have to hope for internet users who keep scrolling down. It is different with advertisements – they are immediately present.

Google Ads for Small Business

SEA is a big field. Corporations invest five to six-figure sums a month. SEA agencies keep an eye on the accounts, improve the advertising texts, search for new keywords and adjust the advertising strategy.

A retailer cannot keep up with either budget or time. But how do you participate anyway? A sensible solution in many cases: Local SEA, i.e. local search engine advertising. With regional advertisements, costs and effort remain manageable. The strong geographical limitation to a city district, a postcode or a district as well as advertising texts with a strong local reference, which can even be written in dialect, enable entrepreneurs to lure customers into the shop on their doorstep.

With 500 euros, a company in the Local SEA can already win some new customers. With the ads you are directly present on Google, have maximum control over the content and receive immediate feedback on whether the content appeals to new customers or not.

Finding a suitable Google Ads agency is often not easy for small businesses.

For specialized Google Ads agencies, only projects with a four-digit advertising budget per month are often worthwhile. Recognizing the problem, Google is investing in developing automated ads for small businesses. If you use a profile on Google My Business, you will already be offered the machine-generated ads. The program writes the advertising texts based on the entered information about the company and switches the advertisements when relevant keywords and the city are searched for. The advantage: the time required for entrepreneurs is limited and they can also regulate the advertising budget on a monthly basis. If Google changes the specifications for the ads, they are automatically implemented. The disadvantages: loss of control and fewer opportunities to exploit the business niche and set yourself apart from the competition.

This is how Google Ads work

The ads at the search engine giant are called Google Ads. They are displayed above the normal search results. Advertisers pay for individual keywords, the keywords. If an Internet user searches for these words, the advertisements are shown to him.

The Google Ads auction

Companies do not pay a fixed amount for ads, only for the Internet users who actually clicked on the ad. When creating your ad, you’ll need to determine the maximum amount you want to spend. The prices are created through a sophisticated auction system. Depending on the keyword and industry, there are many competitors who all want to be found with their ads. Those who are willing to pay the most for a potential customer’s click land higher up. The amount per click can range from a few cents to several euros. But not only the price determines the position of the advertisement. The ads are also judged on the Google Quality Score

The quality factor

The quality score is a rating of the relevance of the keywords, ads and landing pages on a scale from 1 to 10, where 10 means very good. Google assesses various criteria for this:

1. The expected click-through rate, i.e. what percentage of all users to whom the ad is presented click on it.
2. Ad relevance, that is, the thematic correspondence of keywords, ad texts and content on the target page.
3. The quality of the landing page, for example very relevant content or fast loading times.

A high Quality Score ad costs less. The opposite applies: If an ad is clicked less than the competition, it loses quality and more and more money has to be offered for the keyword.

The elements of the Google Ads

For a high quality score, the Google Ads ad should be filled out as completely as possible. 30 characters are available for the heading and up to 90 for the description. Three different headings and two descriptive texts can be entered. Google Ads will then automatically test different combinations over time and determine which will produce the best results. Once you have found out which ad appeals to your customers, you can also use the text for the search engine optimization of your website.

Another tip: If the link to your target page is very long or cryptic, Google Ads offers to display a memorable and easily readable URL instead: www.beispielshop.de/laufschuhestatt www.beispielshop.de/?product=4878

Write good Google Ads ads

The texts should be formulated from the user’s position and answer the following, advises Deutschländer: Who am I? What am I offering? Who am I offering this to? Why is my offer better than the competition? Instead of just writing “lawyer”, it is better to specifically choose “specialist lawyer for labor law Berlin”. Adjectives can also be useful: “Trustworthy specialist lawyer for labor law in Munich, experience since 2001”. Google’s guidelines must be observed when writing. Ads with emojis or overly used symbols like “B * ü * c * h * e * r” or will not be approved at all. You can find an overview of the rules here.

Local targeting of Google Ads ads

If you want to target local customers, you have to use geotargeting in your Google Ads account. In the campaign settings you can choose between a proximity search, specific addresses and postcodes or very specific locations such as universities. If you don’t feel like going to the outskirts for a job, you can exclude places too. By default, an ad is shown when people google for the region but are not currently there. It is therefore advisable to activate the option ‘Users in my target regions’ under Settings and Advanced location options. This means that only people on site who can come to the store receive the advertisement. That saves valuable budget.

Constant change in Google Ads

Google is constantly changing the formats and ratings. Then the displays have to be adjusted. And a well-running ad can suddenly collapse because the competition is doing something better. You always have to be on your guard or rely on automated ads to reduce the workload.

Conclusion

Search engine marketing has different facets: Google My Business as a digital business card, website optimization (SEO) or paid advertisements (Google Ads).

By linking your Google Ads and Analytics accounts, you can make more informed business decisions. After you’ve linked the accounts, you can import user information into your Google Ads account and then associate the data with keywords or ads that brought people to your website. You can find out, among other things, how users interact with their content or which factors have an impact on conversion rates.