What is search engine marketing?
Search engine marketing, or SEM, is an online marketing strategy used to bolster the visibility of a website in search engine results pages (SERPs). Typically, this is based on keywords your customers are searching for in search engines.
SEO, or search engine optimization, used to be the broad term that both organic and paid search activities fell under. These days, SEO, typically refers to organic search results and SEM refers to paid advertising in search results.
Search Engine Marketing
SEO, or search engine optimization, used to be the broad term that both organic and paid search activities fell under. These days, SEO, typically refers to organic search results and SEM refers to paid advertising in search results. Another term for paid search is “pay per click”, or PPC.
Search engine marketing is one of the most effective ways to grow your business and increase online visibility. Traditional SEO can take a while to see results, so if you have a business that is ready to sell goods and services, SEM and PPC can get you in front of the audience you are looking for.
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Is SEM important?
The short answer is, yes, extremely. As each year goes by, more and more people use search engines as their starting point, whether they are doing research, shopping, looking for restaurants, etc. Shopping online has also been normalized thanks to amazon, shopify, and other e-commerce platforms. The behavior has shifted from going out to malls and stores, to using search engines to research and buy products and services online.
In search engine marketing, the advertisers can select the keywords and search phrases that they want their website to be found for. Advertisers can also select the days and times these paid ads are shown. Essentially, this allows advertisers to pay for impressions that result in visitors to their website. If the ad shows in front of someone and they click through to the website, that marginal cost will be added to the campaign cost. When someone clicks through to the website, it also improves website ranking in organic search results, which will help long term SEO goals.
How SEM works
Search engines, like Google, Bing, and Yahoo, use complicated algorithms to make sure search results are relevant based on keywords and location. With SEM, or PPC, the paid ads appear at the top and side of the search engine results. The idea here is to get the paid ads in positions of prominence, to gain more visibility, and ultimately to get more clicks than organic search results.
The first step to take with SEM is to determine your budget and goals, and begin setting up a campaign. The parameters of the campaign will help you achieve your goals. This is where having an expert at the helm can make a big difference in terms of getting clicks and keeping your costs down. The first step is to determine the keywords and phrases relevant to your website and/or products and services. The next step is to determine the physical location that your ads will run. The third step is to determine the message you want to be promoting, and make sure you have an easy to read, text-based ad. The final step is to define your bidding parameters, meaning the price you are willing to pay for each click. In terms of the amount of money your company spends, search engine marketing is thought to be one of the most efficient means of spending marketing money. With that in mind, don’t be afraid to spend a good percentage of marketing dollars on SEM and PPC. Especially if you are running a solid business with good reviews online.
The two primary search engines used by businesses for search engine marketing are Google Ads and Bing Ads. While Google is the largest network, with nearly double the size of Bing, ads are often cheaper on Bing. Even though Google has a larger audience, you might be able to rank higher on Bing for a lower price. And because there is less competition on Bing, a lot of companies find click through rates with Bing are higher than Google.
Keywords are foundational to your search engine marketing strategy. Before running any PPC campaigns, we suggest doing some extensive research to determine the keywords you will use. You want to identify keywords that are relevant to your business, as well as keywords that customers are likely to search for. For example, in the pool business “power vacuum” is a very popular service, but the majority of people who search for this service usually type “pool vacuum” and “power wash pool”. You want to make sure you have all angles covered with your keywords. Another thing to consider is distinguishing your keywords from popular searches.
For example, if you are an auto shop, you wouldn’t want to use keywords like “how to fix a toyota camry” as many DIY car repair folks will be making those searches, and it will essentially waste your advertising budget. There are also a number of tools, both free and paid, that can help you with determining the keywords you use as well as the keywords your competitors are using. Keywords are also extremely important in social media advertising and social media marketing. AMG can help you with all of it, so rest easy.