Google’s number one priority is to ensure that people can find information easily on its search engine.

SEO and SEM can seem confusing to time-poor businesses like yourself but this article aims to make the ambiguous crystal-clear and easy to understand.

QUESTION 1 – Will SEM benefit my SEO?

To combat this myth, it’s vital to understand there are two very different questions involved in this.

Is there a direct benefit of SEM towards SEO?

No… But it’s important to know that Google treats the clicks from search marketing campaigns as separate from the results you get from your search engine optimisation activity.

In fact on a number of occasions, Google has warned against people who claim there is a direct relationship, so it’s important for small businesses not to be misled.

More information can be found at “what to watch out for” section at this link. Google has said that the two calculations are separate (in relation to AdWords) and they even have an internal separation between their Organic Search and AdWords teams to avoid manipulation.

Is there any benefit of SEM towards SEO?

Yes – Published studies have shown that any clicks to websites which improve click through rates, bounce rates and time spent on your website can improve your ranking on search engines like Google.

However, Google avoids talking about SEO ranking factors to ensure people don’t manipulate them.

Did you know that Google has hundreds of ranking factors that it can and will tweak throughout the year. Google’s number one priority is to ensure that people can find information easily on its search engine.

Where can I read more?

Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO [2015] 
Search – Ranking Factors [2015] 

QUESTION 2 – What’s the go with Sensis and Google?

Sensis is a Google Partner but what does this mean for Australian small businesses like you?

Firstly, any Partner status with Google has no benefit to SEO. Google takes this very seriously and will act on misrepresentation. Sensis currently holds Google Partner status as an SEM Provider, so while this does not get us any preferential treatment, it is a badge we are proud of.

To qualify for Google Partner status a business must have the following:

  • Regular new sales – This shows that Sensis is not a new startup or backyard web shop.
  • At least one Qualified Partner – Sensis has more than this, and we ensure all our experts remain up to date with their training.
  • Quality control ‘Best Practice’ metrics – Google looks at Sensis’ performance, and if we have errors, they can take away our right to use the badge.

It is important to note that there are lots of Google Partners in Australia, but there are also a lot of people who sell SEM who are not. For businesses like you, it’s important to know you’re getting SEM services from a reputable company.

Why is this such a big deal?

We hear all the time from small businesses that they are frequently targeted by SEO and SEM providers who can be misleading.

As a reputable provider of SEM services, it’s hugely important for us to give our customers high quality solutions.

Google recently filed a “false advertising” lawsuit in the US against Local Lighthouse which is a company which provides SEO.

Google claimed that the business rang small business owners via automated telemarketing calls, telling them they needed to update their Google listings… this was fine, but the problem is they identified themselves as “Google representatives”.

It’s no surprise that Google does not like this and has since launched an online complaint centre. This is a great step forward and is a sign that Google is wanting to ensure that businesses are getting quality services from reputable providers.

More information

Google help: Avoid and report Google scams
Google’s online complaint centre

Cam Pegg is Group Manager, Media Products at Sensis

Michael Watkins is Continuous Improvement Manager at Sensis




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