What Is Search Engine Marketing and Why Your Business Should Be Doing It
Have you ever Googled something and noticed that usually the first two results that appear are ads? Those ads are there from the magic of Search Engine Marketing. Search Engine Marketing, also known as SEM, PPC, or paid search (yes, it has many names), is one of the most important channels in advertising for generating conversions and quality website traffic. SEM produces fast results by reaching an audience that is actively searching for the product, information or service your business has to offer.
What Is SEM?
SEM leverages the power of search engines, such as Google and Bing, to reach potential customers. When you are running an SEM campaign, you are buying keywords or phrases that people are searching for, which will make your business’ ads appear. For example, if you were to search “advertising agencies in San Antonio,” the businesses that are buying those keywords would show up in the “ad” results. If you click on the business' ad, that will cost them. If you don’t click on it, then it does not affect the spend of the campaign, hence why it is called pay-per-click.
SEM campaigns should never just be set up and left alone, and it’s important to frequently optimize your campaigns. Some key metrics to look at when reviewing SEM campaigns are:
- Clicks — how many people clicked on your ad.
- CPC (cost-per-click) — how much you’re paying when someone clicks on your ad.
- CTR (click through rate) — the ratio of users who click on your ad to the number of total users who saw your ad.
- Conversions — how many people who clicked on your ad took the steps to follow through with the KPI (key performance indicator) you set up.
- Average position — where your ads are appearing in the search engine.
- Impressions — how many times your ad was visible on a screen (it’s important to note that it doesn’t actually mean the person saw it).
By looking at these metrics, you are able to make the proper optimizations to get the best bang for your buck.
What Is the Difference Between SEM and SEO?
Many people often think SEM and SEO are the same, but they are not. Blame it on the similar appearance of the terms. However, it’s not exactly SEM vs. SEO either. SEM goes hand-in-hand with SEO, and helps put your business on the top of Google. And who doesn’t want to be there? A good way to remember the difference between the two is that SEM is paid and SEO is organic. With SEM, you’re purchasing competitive keywords or phrases to show up in top paid results, and with SEO, you’re taking certain steps to help your website appear higher in the organic search results in the search engine. At Texas Creative, we like to think of SEM as a faucet where results can be turned off and on. SEO, on the other hand, is a long-term play and takes months to see results. However, these results are long lasting and don’t just end when you stop your SEO efforts.
Why Should Your Business Be Utilizing SEM?
There are many reasons to be using paid search, but here are five reasons why your business should be running SEM campaigns:
- SEM reaches your prime target — 3.5 billion Google searches are made every day and 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine. Being visible in search results means being where the customers are. It’s also the perfect time to earn a new customer. People use search engines because they’re looking for something. By purchasing specific keyword phrases, you are able to reach your target audience and get more qualified leads.
- SEM brings more qualified leads — By doing research on your target audience, you are able to tailor your campaigns to get the right people to click on your ads and convert. Not all traffic is good traffic, afterall. Using negative keywords can also help filter users coming to your site through your ads, further improving your odds of converting.
- SEM is conversion-focused — SEM is an important conversion driver for campaigns of any type because paid ads are commonly linked to conversion-focused landing pages. Organic results aren’t typically linked to landing pages
- SEM increases brand-awareness — SEM positions your business at the top or bottom of a page. A business that may not organically rank high in the search results can instantly get some attention from running SEM campaigns. Investing in SEM will guarantee that your business’ information will appear at the right time in the right place.
- SEM is great for local marketing — SEM is an important tool for driving website visits and getting more conversions on almost any budget, but it’s even more important if you’re a local business. Local marketing aims to connect regional businesses with the surrounding community that it services.
SEM vs Social Media Advertising
At Texas Creative, we sometimes see clients confuse different digital advertising tactics, such as SEM and social media, but we're here to help distinguish the differences and when you should use each one. For example, with social media advertising, ads are served to consumers based upon data that the social media platform has collected about that individual. This allows you to target people based on specific interests, locations, behaviors and more. SEM, on the other hand, relies on keyword phrases to target people when they’re searching for specific things in places like Google. Social media is often used more for generating brand awareness and keeping your brand top of mind in the cluttered and competitive landscape. As discussed, SEM is most valuable for conversions because you are able to target people based on a need they are actively searching to resolve.
SEM provides a variety of flexible options for your campaigns and is great for mobile users and local marketing strategies. If your business needs help creating successful search ad campaigns for long-term results, contact our Google Ads certified team today!