Search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO) are both things you need to consider when developing your marketing strategy. The difference between them? Basically, when you google something, those top spots with the “Ad” box under them are delivered as a result of SEM, while the rest of the search results without the “Ad” box are generally delivered because of SEO. In other words, SEM refers to paying for ads that will appear in top spots on a search engine results page, while SEO refers to optimizing your website and other pages so that they appear organically when people are looking for your business or things related to it. Once broken down, both concepts are simple, and they play a key role in growing your dealership and/or business. Here’s why:
- Buyer Search
Consumers today browsing to buy just about anything will look to the internet for research. They’ll Google, searching for ideas, prices, comparisons, and promotions with the end goal of making an informed buying decision. The same goes for auto dealers, as “car buyers spend 59% of their time online researching” (Autotrader). If your website doesn’t come up in the results, then potential buyers won’t be able to see what you’re offering, which means less business.
- Competitor Advantage
We urge you to google your hometown as well the word “car.” What is extremely interesting about what you will likely find is that only one or two ads show up if any, and the rest of the more organically placed websites are all competing for top spots. Imagine if your dealership was bidding for those keywords! It would take up the top spot and become the first thing people see when researching those keywords giving you an advantage over your competitors. The possibilities are endless!
- Above the Fold
By optimizing your website and paying for search engine ads, your dealership or business has a better chance of appearing above the fold, or the portion of the page that does not require scrolling to see results (WhatIs). This is important as 67% of all clicks on the search engine results page go to the top five listings, and 95% of web traffic goes to results on the first page (Leverage Marketing). Don’t get lost in the shuffle and make sure you’re in the top spots!
Now that you know the difference between SEO and SEM as well as the reasons for their importance, you’re likely wondering how you go about implementing these strategies into your marketing plan. There are a ton of resources on Youtube and otherwise that you can watch and read to better understand how to go about changing your search results. Check them out and be proactive regarding search. Your dealership will thank you!