Search Engine Marketing – is it really worth it?

Blackboard showing current trends in website development and design features

I’ve worked with many a small business owner who was at a loss on how to market their business to successfully compete in today’s markets. Let’s face it, many small business owners simply don’t place enough value on an appropriate marketing budget, and by appropriate, I mean an acceptable percentage of annual profits allocated purely for future marketing strategies. It’s a tricky question but it has to be something that you are comfortable with at the end of the day. Don’t just throw a few bucks at it here and there and get shitty when you don’t see any returns, it’s a little bit more complicated than that and I know because that’s exactly what I did (repeatedly) when I first started out in business 20 years ago.


So, what’s the go with Search Engine Marketing? Or is it SEO? And is it worth spending some of my marketing bucks on this strategy? If you’re a bit confused, a simple way to explain it is that SEM is paid advertising on search engines to gain website traffic and SEO is optimising your site for organic (unpaid) searches.
Here’s a few pros and cons when considering Search Engine Marketing (paid advertising):

Advantages of Search Engine Marketing
  • Specific targeting of your market at the right moment results in a higher ROI. Analytics and clever campaigning can essentially take your prospective client by the hand and lead them right to your front door.
  • The ability to set specific and targeted reports (Google Analytics) makes analysing visitor behaviours more specific, helping immensely to understand the current state of a campaign.
  • Cost control is in your hands. You can choose different paid strategies such as Pay Per Click with daily or monthly budgets. You can also choose maximum bids so you don’t blow a budget too soon.
Disadvantages of Search Engine Marketing
  • You really need to know what you’re talking about here, it’s not like hitting the ‘boost’ button on FB and hoping for the best. These are targeted campaigns and generally require some analytical skills, which is precisely what we do at Digital Marketing Hub.
  • The most successful key words are very competitive, but you can spread your dollar further by skirting the edges of the money pits if your budget is small.
  • It’s very time consuming to set up a campaign and it takes a lot of monitoring to produce truly successful results. Some of this can be done by emerging AI tools, but I still prefer to keep my ‘hands on the wheel’ of my business.

So that’s just three examples of pros and cons, there are literally a heap more, but this post is simply to provide you with a very broad overview of SEM should you be considering using it as part of your digital marketing strategy.
Is it worth it? Hell yeah, but I would really recommend some assistance if you’re not up to speed on how to use Google Analytics and Google Ads.


Cam Dempster

Cam Dempster is an experienced web designer and search engine optimisation (SEO) specialist who has been developing websites since 2008. With over a decade of experience, Cameron has developed a wealth of knowledge and expertise in creating visually appealing and user-friendly websites that rank well on search engines.