Search Engine Marketing (SEM) 101

Incorporating SEM into your Digital Strategy

Search Engine Marketing, also known as SEM, is the process of online marketing that uses paid advertisements to boost rankings, gain exposure for your business and draw in new customers. Search Engine Results Pages, or SERPs, have a lot of power and visibility, but limited space. Appearing on the front page of a search engine such as Google can mean a boost in business and SEM can help to get you there.

Getting to Know Search Engine Marketing

Many people have heard of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), but SEM often flies under the radar. Like any platform, online advertisements come in many forms, the most common of which is PPC, or pay-per-click. The SEM process is made up of many moving parts. In order to get the very most out of your online presence, it is important to know exactly what is going into your ads and what makes a marketing campaign successful.

While SEO is designed to focus on organic traffic and growth, SEM uses paid ads to encourage visitors and the chance for conversion. Any successful business knows that these two practices have to work together, marrying exposure with relevant information. SEM picks up where SEO leaves off, driving conversion and growing your business.

In today’s age, it is impossible to visit a website, check social media or even drive down the street without seeing advertisements. The best performing ad campaigns are memorable and engaging. It is important to consider all aspects of a campaign:

  • Keywords: search engines thrive on keywords. These are the words or phrases most used to search out certain products or services. In order to best put these keywords to use, there has to be thorough research. There are keyword research tools out there, however it is always best to consult a professional before putting all of your focus on an online tool. The right search can not only provide the right keywords but can help to weed out negative keywords as well, which are those with an unlikely conversion rate.
  • Split Campaigns: SEM allows users to choose which keywords they would like to show up for. Bidding on your desired keywords allows uses to feel in control and can even split services and features into different campaigns. For instance, if you own a company that offers graffiti removal services. Instead of focusing solely on a popular keyword like graffiti removal, this can be split into two campaigns for a) graffiti removal; and b) pressure washing.
  • Audience: SEM allows users to identify their target audiences more easily than with other market research techniques. Popular search engines put a lot of time and money into data collections and this data is then used to create more relevant search results. This will weed out advertisements based on location, budget and demographics.
  • Content: Just like any ad, it is important to feature as much information as possible in an easily digestible and visually attractive way. Users are able to choose campaign types and load in necessary information to gain the attention of a wider online audience.
  • Budget: Once campaigns are created, it is time to commence the bidding! A bidding strategy can be designed based on your desired keywords and your budget. Depending on your industry and product, this process can get competitive, so it is always better to have good council before making any large commitments.

With all of this in mind, the SEM process can greatly benefit any business or online service. If you are serious about growing your business, search engine marketing is one of the most effective ways to get the job done.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) 101