Search Engine Marketing (SEM) encompasses a bunch of practices that are used by marketers to boost the results of your business’ website showing up on search engines.
SEM used to include both paid search methods and SEO (Search Engine Optimization). As the marketing industry grew, digital experts changed to use the term SEM to simply mean paid Search Engine Marketing or any type of paid search.
What is Paid Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?
SEM is any type of paid marketing, such as Google Ads or display ads on a search engine. SEM is different than organic search improvements like SEO or CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) strategies. SEO and CRO can still be a part of SEM practices and marketing company’s services, but they don’t apply to the actual paid search engine ads.
If you’re wanting to know all about SEM, here are some of the terms to get familiar with. The following practices are all a part of paid Search Engine Marketing:
- CPC (cost per click)
- PPC (pay-per-click)
- Paid search engine Advertising
- CPM (cost per mile, AKA cost per every 1,000 site impressions)
- CPA (cost per acquisition or action)
- Sponsored Listing (the little Ad search results that shows up at the top of your search page, such as Google)
Are SEM and PPC the Same Thing?
Technically, PPC is a type of paid Search Engine Marketing activity. But SEM does not always include PPC ads.
Search marketing can include other forms of paid methods. But it’s important to know that usually, PPC (pay per click) advertising is the most common form of paid search advertising.
Now that you know some of the most frequently used terminology, let’s explain some of the basic benefits of SEM and the ad types that go along with its process. Let us know in the comments if you want more of a detailed expert blog post explaining more tips and terms of paid SEM!
How to Have Awesome SEM Practices
First thing to note: the whole point of setting up internet ads is to increase the likelihood of an internet user taking a desired action on your website. For example, a landing page exists to encourage site visitors to buy a product or subscribe to an email list. Paid search campaigns are a great way to boost the number of ideal site visitors that show up to your page when they’re looking for products or services similar to yours.
Know Your Audience
Because of this, it’s crucial to spend advertising money wisely on audiences and people who are most likely to do the desired action on your site! That’s why knowing and having the right audience is the first point to setting up awesome SEM campaigns.
You can establish your best audience by:
- Frequently visited websites (yes, this is a thing… data is key)
Decide Your Ads Budget Ahead of Time
Paid Search Engine Marketing, especially PPC, is extremely trackable which is a huge benefit to this method of marketing. You (as the advertiser) can view analytics on how many clicks your ads receive, how many people stayed on a certain web page, which leads came from ad clicks, and more.
With this helpful info, you can make an educated decision on how much your ads are worth. Setting a budget that’s balanced between your end goal and maintaining an ROI is adjustable when you can see what your ads are actually doing!
This budgeting goal is also where ad bids come in. With paid search engine ads, keywords can be bid on. Search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo often charge less than most bids unless a keyword is outrageously competitive.
Be Aware of Rip Offs
If you’re someone who’s paying an agency to run paid search ads for you, don’t get ripped off. Some agencies will sell package deals claiming they’ll use your money to getn “guaranteed” results, such as getting you to the very top of the SERP (search engine results page) or getting a million website visits by X date.
But this isn’t how SEM ad rank works. It takes smart, goal-oriented advertisers to be realistic while still offering desired results. Don’t buy impressions or too-good-to-be-true packages– sometimes they will use cheap, useless site visit accumulation through unreliable traffic, foriegn countries who are completely irrelevant to your niche, or even bots.
Main thing to remember: determine your ads success by company growth, ROI, and quality score, not just some confusing numbers a distant marketer shows you and takes all your money.
Remember Cost Per Click (CPC) Ads Work for You & The Search Engine
PPC or CPC ads can feel intimidating at first, and this is another reason it’s crucial to know your goals and budget first! But remember, paid search ads benefit both your business and the search engine you’re using to run ads on. If your ads don’t get clicked, the engine isn’t getting any money either. Defining the best search terms relevant to your target audience is the meat and potatoes of SEM ads.
What Are the Benefits of Paid Search Engine Marketing?
Maybe you know this already, but if not, surprise! Over 90% of internet ventures begin with user searches. Imagine all the times you get sucked into a rabbit hole of research, online shopping, or entertainment– it all starts with a search on Google (or some other lame web browser nobody cares about.. But let’s be honest you’re probably searching on Google).
As soon as someone types in a search, such as “best Nike’s for sale near me”, a list of results appears on the search results pages. Top of list are sponsored (or SEM paid) ads. Do you know how many users report that the ads at the top of the page make it easier to find what they are looking for? An estimated 75%.
Paid Ads are Reliable
If your business or brand isn’t showing up on a SERP, how the heck can people find you? It’s only obvious that being visible on the results page of the internet is crucial to your site traffic and company growth. Using organic SEO techniques to improve this can help over the long-term, but for quicker results, paid SEM is the best way to go so you can get found.
Paid Ads Can Be Low-Cost
Along with measuring progress and areas to improve, you can have control on what you spend with paid Search Engine Marketing. Instead of spending money on a super generalized ad that’s just thrown into the internet, you can go deeper into the areas of the internet where people are actively searching for your niche. And you can offer what only you can offer to the specific people you know will respond. Overall, this save you time and money, since PPC costs vary, you can get a 2:1 ROI in some cases– depending on how good you are at setting up ads!
Paid Ads Can Target Specifics
Showing up on the results page isn’t the only important factor… You need to be showing up to the right audience. You want to be available to the internet users who are looking for YOUR goods and services that can help them. With paid ads you can adjust to target keywords, exclude certain keywords, target your location, and so much more.
Take it from us, we’ve seen some amazing results happen for companies with the use of paid SEM ads. If you want to get in on these benefits, schedule a chat with us and learn more! How can paid Search Engine Marketing help your business?