First, let’s assume that you have a website. (If you don’t, stop reading this and build yourself a website immediately.) Have you ever wondered how certain companies appear at the top of a Google search while others wind up on page 4 of the listings?
 
The answer is search engine marketing (SEM), which lets you influence your company’s positioning in web searches.  To build SEM for a company, marketers often look to services such as Yahoo! Search MarketingBing Ads and Google AdWords. In fact, in 2016, more than 70 percent of Google’s $80 billion in annual revenue came from GoogleAdWords, according to U.S. news.
 
The easiest way to ensure that your business will lead the search engine rankings is to pay the search engine company (Google, Bing, etc.) for a top spot. This is called “paid inclusion,” “paid placement,” or “sponsored listings,” and it may mean you’ll be bidding against others – and often forking over a pay per page or pay per click fee – for the privilege.
 
If that doesn’t appeal to you, then you can elevate your name in the rankings by using SEO. The most consistently successful tactic is to use “keywords” while delivering relevant, helpful content. You determine relevant and popular words and phrases for your category, and use them in website content that readers will engage with. Then when someone enters those keywords – let’s say, “Atlanta seafood restaurant” – the search engine looks for sites that users like and that also use those keywords. If your site is among them, you’ll place high in the listings.

Game Plan

Search engine marketing and optimization is an intricate science. Entire companies specialize in it. So it can’t possibly be covered sufficiently in the brief description above. Your best next move is to do a little research. You might want to start with these primers:
 
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