Amy Swartz of GoogleGoogle’s Amy Swartz answered your questions about search advertising for local business in a one-hour, free webinar on Thursday, August 25, sponsored by Dex Media. She walked through Google’s AdWords program, showed how to create effective ads, and talked about where web search is heading (hint: mobile, mobile and mobile).

Listen to the archived version of the webinar. Register now

A veteran of local sales and marketing, Amy is on Google’s Sales Strategy and Enablement team, working with Premier SMB Partners, companies like Dex Media that Google certifies to handle all aspects of search advertising for small business clients (more about that here).

We sat down with Amy before the webinar for a preview:

What will attendees take away from the webinar?

They’ll have a better understanding about the digital space today and what’s happening with search: Why it’s important to just be there and show up. Also, some key insights on the difference between search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM). And we’re going to talk about mobile: It’s a mobile-first world today.

What are the most common questions you hear from local businesses?

They want to know what’s the difference between SEO and SEM: If I show up on organic search, isn’t that enough? Do people really click on the ads? How do I get started? And I get asked this a lot: How much is it going to cost? You can’t just say ‘it’s $300 a month’. It’s complicated. That’s why it’s so important to work with a trusted digital partner.

So how can they understand the results of search advertising?

Even before understanding the results, you have to know what you are going to advertise for. So it’s important to look at your website and make sure you are advertising for where you want to bring people in.

Every page of your website is a door to your business. Some you want to close and some you want to open. Your focus may be on air conditioning repair in the summer but fall is coming so you’ll want to switch the focus to getting the furnace looked at. Once a partner understands the needs then they can recommend the best program.

Do you have a success story that shows what you’re talking about?

I worked with a DUI attorney who was only doing SEO, tried for 18 months and was not able to get on the first page. Now, getting on page one for an attorney, I would never promise because it’s so competitive. He added a search advertising program – including mobile search – and was immediately able to maximize the situation so he could get new clients. He had a call to action on his ad that he was on call 24/7, and he increased his budget on the weekend and later at night so when events were happening, he could be there in search.

The important thing to understand is that digital is in the moment, we can make modifications as we go. If we have the right information at set up, we can keep homing in on that.

What do local businesses need to know about mobile?

That the way it converts is different. We consume media differently in different situations so it’s important to be mobile optimized. I know that all sounds like gobbledygook but think of this: If I want to order pizza or find a locksmith, I just want to make a call. If I’m in the store looking at a couch, I’m going to check competitive prices on the phone—then when I go home and want to show it to my family, I go on the desktop computer. For cars, nobody calls a car dealership—if I see a car I like, I’m going to my phone for information, then I’ll go directly to the dealership.

So success in mobile is about the importance of the mobile website and how to integrate with a cross device approach.

Recently, Google expanded the size of text ads and removed the ads on the right side of the page. What’s the thinking behind that?

We removed the right rail so we could increase the text size. The thinking behind that is to have a better advertising experience for the end user. It’s always about the end user and we also want advertisers to have a better experience, particularly on mobile. Because, these days, we don’t go to our phones, we live on our phones.

Hasn’t that made search advertising more competitive?

No, we haven’t found that: We’ve been checking the conversions and it has not hurt the advertisers. That’s why I’m saying it’s a better experience for the advertisers because they can get a clearer and more specific message out.

Listen to the archived version of the webinar.  Register here.

Learn about Dex Media’s search engine marketing (SEM) services for local businesses.