Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization are commonly confused. Although they may seem similar, fundamentally, they are two different things. If you can’t tell the difference, don’t worry, you are not the only one. In this article, I will explain everything you need to know about Search Engine Marketing or SEM in short. So, grab a cup of coffee and enjoy the read.
What Is Search Engine Marketing?
Any approach used to boost a brand’s search visibility or make a brand appear more often in search results is named search marketing. This approach can either be SEM or SEO, or both. SEO uses long-term practices to gain an organic place in a search engine results page. However, SEM uses paid strategies to appear in search results. If we were to define SEM by a single sentence, this is how it would be; SEM is a type of internet marketing that entails improving the visibility of websites in search engine results pages (SERPs) mainly through paid advertising. It aims at getting your business to the top of the page in search engines like Google, Bing, and Yandex. In short, the end goal is to increase the amount of traffic to a website which the businesses can ultimately convert.
Pay-per-Click (PPC) Marketing
While explaining what SEM is, you will come across a term called Pay-per-Click or PPC. PPC is a digital internet marketing approach in which advertisers are charged a fee each time a user clicks on one of their ads. When PPC ads are used in search results, it is considered SEM. But companies can use PPC ads and strategies on other channels as well. These channels can be social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, or they can be banner ads on a simple website. But when brands or companies use PPC on different channels, it does not fall under the SEM category. So, while we can say PPC is an SEM strategy, it can also be a part of social or display ad marketing.
How Does SEM work?
A search engine like Google uses complex algorithms to ensure that the most relevant results are returned for each search. These include location and other relevant information. Let’s assume a hypothetical situation in which you’re a customer looking for a product or a service on the internet. You enter your search terms (aka keywords) into a search engine. You’ll see various ads on your search results page whose keywords match the words you searched for. These ads, along with the other search listings that match your keywords, appear in eye-catching positions on the page. Because the paid listings are highly relevant to your search, you are more likely to click on them.
Why Use Search Engine Marketing?
You might be wondering why you should employ Search Engine Marketing. SEM generates high-quality traffic to your desired website without the long and drawn-out SEO process. Contrary to a long-term SEO campaign, you can see the results of SEM much faster. On top of this, users coming to your website will be guaranteed to be interested in your products or services. This is because they searched for specific keywords that led them to your site.
Why Is Search Engine Marketing Important?
The common goal of any digital marketing campaign is to improve business results. SEM is perfect for this because it puts your site at the top of the search results page. By creating well-optimized landing pages for your users, you can subsequently improve your conversion rates.
What Can You Get from Search Engine Marketing?
At this point, you have a basic understanding of what SEM is, how it works and why you should use it. But what else can you get from SEM? There is a misconception that SEM is only for larger companies, brands, and businesses. This is not true. You can start your investment in SEM at relatively affordable prices. And as your business gains traction, you can invest further according to your needs to preserve your momentum. Apart from affordable and adaptable prices, SEM also comes with tools to measure and fine-tune your results. One of these tools is Google Ads which provides a number of various metrics for you to adjust your SEM campaign. This makes it easier for you to get the most out of your marketing budget.
Search Engine Marketing Process, Campaign, and Strategies
Time needed: 7 days.
Even though SEM is faster and requires less hustle than SEO, it still needs a well-defined path. To help you understand, here are a few universal steps to take in SEM.
- Determining an Effective Approach
When starting an SEM strategy, you should analyze your competition, choose your audience, learn their intent and adjust your business accordingly.
- Identifying Correct Keywords
Keywords might be the most important step here. Even if you have the best product out of your competition, you will not get the expected conversion. You can catch more about SEM and keywords later in this article.
- Measure and Manage
Like every other digital marketing, SEM is not a do and forget. You need to keep a close eye on your metrics and make changes as necessary along the way.
Ad Auction in Search Engine Marketing?
Ad auction is an inseparable part of Search Engine Marketing. This is where you will have to make precise decisions on how to manage your budget. At first look, the whole process may seem overcomplicated, but it is relatively straightforward. Every ad goes through this process. Here I will explain how this process works in Google Ads. Google Ads uses a super-fast ad auction to choose which ads should appear when someone searches on Google or visits a website displaying ads. By setting your bid, you’re telling Google Ads how much you’re willing to spend for a click on your ad. In addition, Google Ads considers how relevant and beneficial your ad and the page it links to are to the person who will view it. All of this combines into how effectively you manage your budget and how much of it you’re getting back.
Search Engine Marketing and Keywords
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It is safe to say keywords are an essential part of Search Engine Marketing. Search engine algorithms use keywords to match search queries and results. Therefore, it is crucial that you choose and bid on the right keywords to bring in users. Researching your keywords beforehand and laying down the groundwork is just as important. You can utilize a free or paid keyword tool to achieve this. After you decide on a tool, you can pin down keywords highly relevant to your company. Beyond that, you can even exclude keywords that are not related to your business or product. For example, imagine if you were selling cake or pie; in such a case, you would want to exclude the keyword “cake recipes.” As the users looking for cake recipes are highly unlikely to be searching for your product.
Final Thoughts on Search Engine Marketing
Now you have everything that you need to start using SEM. You can get immediate results with it, unlike SEO. Furthermore, whatever your budget is for advertising, you can start from somewhere with SEM. And if you follow the basic steps in this article, you can quickly improve your business in no time. I hope this article has proven itself useful for you. If you want to learn more about online marketing, you can check out our Online Marketing Guide.