What is Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is the practice of an online marketing strategy using paid advertising. The main aim of using SEM is to increase your online visibility on relevant search engine results pages (SERPs).
This method gives your website a higher ranking in searches as it is above organic search results. A common SEM practice is using pay-per-click (PPC) advertising through search engines like Google and Bing.
SEM and SEO are similar as you need a strategy for your efforts to be effective. You can include information like your keywords and target audience by using your existing SEO strategy. This ensures that you are also targeting your key audience in searches that they are already interested in.
It is essential to use SEM as it ensures that your target the right audience with content that is relevant. SEM also helps increase your brand awareness and allows you to compete above the organic space.
How SEM Marketing Works?
In today’s digital environment, SEO and SEM should be fundamental aspects of your online marketing strategy. As search engine algorithms become more refined, SEM is necessary for maintaining high rankings from relevant traffic to your website.
Search engine marketing is paid through impressions, clicks, or conversions. The most common SEM method is through clicks, hence the pay-per-click name. They aim to reach users with the most relevant information to their search. Search engines analyse your campaign landing page, budget and decide in milliseconds whether to display your ad or not.
Using tools like SEMrush and other tracking platforms also help monitor your competitors to gain insights into how to optimise your campaigns.
By having a solid SEM strategy, you can attract high-quality traffic to your website.
How to Build an Effective SEM Strategy
Here are some overview steps to build an effective SEM strategy:
- Perform comprehensive keyword research
- Make a list of keywords that are relevant for your business and audience intent
- Set up a Google Ads campaign
- Create a campaign with your selected keywords
- Start an Ad that will be displayed in Search Engine Results Pages
- Choose a bidding strategy and start your campaign
- Optimise your campaign based on the information from your Ad
You can simply place an ad in front of users that are in the right phase of the marketing funnel by using this strategy. You can also narrow or broaden your ad to make sure you target customers at different buying stages.
Google Ads Best Practices
If you are new to Google Ads you may be tempted to start your ad and start gaining traffic. However, starting your ad without the optimal keyword could lead to an underperforming campaign. This is why we will cover some common best practices for Google Ads.
#1 Use a PPC planning template.
If you don’t take the time to prepare your campaign, you may get poor results from using Google Ads. I would strongly recommend using a planner before you even start using Google Ads. To get a template you can google “PPC planning template” or use HubSpot’s ultimate PPC kit.
#2 Narrow down your keyword terms.
Keywords are the driver of your ad, so you want to make sure you get it right. When you start you may think that a board term will be best for your campaign, and while you may get traffic, you may also miss out on leads and potential clients.
You risk having your ad being placed in front of the wrong audience if your keyword is too broad. Most likely you won’t get the right mix the first time but be sure to review what’s working and optimise your campaign.
#3 Improve your Quality Score.
Your Quality Score is calculated by Google and this score determines when your ad is displayed. If you have a high-quality rank, then your ad will be given better placements. The lower the quality score, the fewer ad placements you will have.
Higher quality scores also mean that your ad will cost less, and it might mean you will outcompete lower quality score ads with a high cost per click bid.
In conclusion, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a key conversion driver for your online presence. If you are looking for a way to drive relevant traffic to your website, SEM is a great way to get to the top of search results.
Contact us if you need help with your SEM Strategy or Google Search campaigns.