What is search engine marketing and how can it drive traffic to your website?

Search engine marketing, or SEM, is the process of gaining traffic and visibility from search engines through paid and unpaid search techniques. It is one of the most effective ways of driving website traffic. With 80 percent of people using search engines to find products and services, it’s more important than ever for your business to show up in search engine results.

There are two main types of search engine marketing:

Paid Search

Paid search marketing allows you to pay to put your content in front of people searching for businesses like yours. For example, when you use Google AdWords, your ad will display at the top or bottom of Google search results pages. The advantage of paid search is that – when executed properly -- you can have your website listed on the first page of search results. The other benefit is that you can easily control how much you spend. With pay-per-click (PPC) you pay when your ad is clicked; you can set an ad budget that works for you and the ad will stop running when your budget runs out.


Search Engine Optimization (SEO) uses techniques to increase your rankings on search engines through unpaid methods. Search engines want to do their jobs as well as possible by referring users to content that is relevant to what they are looking for. Here are some things you need to look at to improve your website’s SEO:

  • Content: The first thing that you need to make sure of is that you are providing valuable content to the people who view your website. Focus on the user experience.

  • Performance: Your website needs to be easy to navigate; it needs to load quickly; and it needs to perform well on desktop computers, tablets and mobile devices.

  • Meta descriptions and title tags: The meta description is a short paragraph of text that appears under your page’s URL in the search results. Title tags tell search engines what your site is about. Use a few accurate keywords describing your page and use your brand name. It’s also important to tag the images on your site.

  • Local SEO: Increasingly, Google is serving search results based on location. This is particularly important for local businesses. You should register your business with Google My Business to ensure that you will show up when people are searching in your area. 

Having a well-designed and optimized website, and showing up on search results, are essential to the success of any business in this tech-dominated environment.

Contact Union Leader to learn more about how to implement SEM for your business.

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Retail/Classified Advertising
Jim Normandin

Advertising Services Manager
National/Major Accounts
Robin Wilson

Digital Sales Manager
Chris Durant

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