Search engine marketing, or SEM, represents the process of gaining traffic from search engines. Often called paid search ads, it’s an extremely effective form of digital marketing. Have you ever looked up a product or a service and seen an ad for a brand at the top of the search page? That’s a result of SEM.
Why is SEM important?
In a market that is becoming more and more competitive every day, it is hard to gain visibility next to other brands and earn loyal customers. And not only that, but online shopping is rapidly gaining in popularity, so reaching people through the internet is an important part of marketing.
How does SEM work?
If you opt for search engine marketing, you will have to:
- Set up the keywords related to the site or product
- Come up with a short text ad that will be displayed along with your website
- Select the geographic area where the ad will be displayed
- Bid on a price that you are willing to pay for each ad click
After this, your ad will appear on top of the first page of a search engine as one of the most relevant options related to the search.
One of the many reasons why SEM is a good marketing strategy is that you only pay for impressions that result in visitors, so no money goes to waste.
Advantages of search engine marketing
1. Your ad is guaranteed to be seen
According to research, 71% of searches end on the first page of Google, while the first five results get 67% of clicks. With SEM, your ad is not only guaranteed to be seen, but clicked on as well.
2. SEM is quick to implement
SEM campaigns are easy to make and the ads include a text for your product or service, which are the easiest type of ad to make. Additionally, you won’t have to hire a graphic designer to create an ad for you.
3. You can see the results
Search engine marketing has detailed analyses that can show you how many clicks you’re receiving, how much money you’re spending, the keywords that you’re using and should be using.
With these statistics, you can tell exactly how much you’re investing and receiving, which is the most important information when it comes to marketing.
4. Search Engine Marketing helps build your brand
Along with SEO, search engine marketing not only creates traffic but also increases brand awareness.
With your brand on the first page of a search engine, more people are likely to see your website, visit it and then even maybe become your loyal customers.
SEM and SEO
Often confused (and rightfully so, the acronyms are fairly similar), search engine optimization and search engine marketing mean different things, but work well together.
While search engine marketing refers to earning traffic through paid ads, SEO, or search engine optimization, refers to earning traffic by not paying for ads and using SEO strategies to place yourself on the front page of a search engine.
SEO strategies include having a website with proper titles and fitting descriptions, good use of headings, grammar, and links.
What is black hat search engine optimization?
While looking up how to improve your website’s rank on search pages, you’ve probably come across so-called black hat search engine optimization. The name comes from western movies where the villains wore black hats. Today, it is the name for hackers and virus creators.
Black hat search optimization presents a combination of techniques used to rank a website on the front page of a search engine, often by breaking the rules of a search engine. They include:
- Keyword stuffing – repeating the same word or phrase over and over and using synonyms in an unnatural way
- Cloaking – showing different content to users and the search engine as an attempt to rank for multiple terms
- Improper redirection – redirecting the search engine to one page while linking the users to another one
- Invisible keywords – putting text on the page that is the same color as the background
- Paid links – paying sites to link to your content
- Comment spamming – putting links in comments posted on blogs and forums
These techniques violate Google’s guidelines and can result in a website ban. Keep in mind that black hat SEO is most often used for fast results, and not by businesses that intend to grow.
Search engine marketing strategy
Here are some useful tips that will be helpful if you are starting up an SEM campaign:
1. Know your target audience and competitors
Before setting up any ad campaign, you should always identify your target audience first. Learn their average age, class and interests. Not everyone will be interested in your product, and you need to know who will.
2. Use the suitable keywords
Keywords are how your product is found in a search engine.
Select relevant words and phrases that new customers can find you through. This is why knowing your target audience matters, it is important to know who they are and the way they think.
A great idea for coming up with words and phrases would be to ask your friends what comes to mind when they think of your brand.
3. Keep your website updated – important SEM strategy
4. Link building
Link building refers to having links from your website on other websites that your target audience visits. The more links you have on other sites, the more popular your site looks in the eyes of search engines.
But what can you do to have content that is link worthy?
You can always write about trends popular in the industry, create tutorials and explain complex terms and common misconceptions.
5. Google My Business
Free and quick to set up, a Google My Business profile is one of Google’s most useful services. There, you can set up a picture related to your business, a phone number customers can reach you with, opening hours, a location, a link to your website and a short description of your business.
Customers can call you directly through this profile, which saves them the time. They can also leave reviews and read other people’s experiences with your product.
6. YouTube videos – One Of The Search Engine Marketing Strategy techniques
Video is the most engaging and most popular way to advertise because it can contain images, text, music and links.
Even if you end up with only two or three videos on YouTube, you’re still spreading your brand awareness, and you can even use them on your website.
Advertising – Google Ads, Yahoo! and Bing Search Marketing
Google Ads (formerly Google Adwords) allows you to advertise your product on the Google search engine.
As previously mentioned, all you have to do is set up a short text for your ad, select the geographic location, choose keywords related to your product and then bid on said keywords.
Back in 2009, Microsoft announced that Bing would power Yahoo! Search, and to this day it still powers it largely. It is the third largest search engine, behind Google and Baidu.
Marketing on Bing works similarly to Google, and has a few advantages: the ads can reach people who do not use Google and are cheaper than Google Ads because of a smaller competition.
Now that you are familiar with what search engine marketing is and how it works, it’s time to put your business out there. Make sure that you set up the correct keywords and that, when people click your ad, your website delivers with an attractive and engaging appearance.