First Look into Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Written by Emma Natasha
February 3, 2022
First Look into Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

When in doubt, Google it.

First introduced in 1997, Google Search has since dominated the worldwide market share of search engines. As the most frequently used search engine, Google is so powerful that it becomes a verb. With 70,000 searches each second – that’s almost 227 million an hour and about 5.4 billion per day, Google is often the first place people go to search for anything. When they are curious about something, simply type the keyword, and voila, they will find thousands of search results. 

Now, imagine if your business pops up on the first page of SERPs (search engine results pages) when people type in keywords related to your business. How compelling would it be? With Search Engine Marketing (SEM), you can significantly boost your business’ presence on the Internet. SEM is the practice of employing paid advertising to improve your site’s visibility and ranking in search engine result pages (SERPs). If you have little to no idea about SEM, you are definitely on the right page here!

SEM at a Glance

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) refers to paid advertisements that appear on SERPs. SEM is when you pay a search engine to appear on their results page. SEM principles include using a search engine such as Google to direct visitors to your company’s website or social media sites. In general, there are two basic SEM strategies, including pay-per-click (PPC) and search engine optimization (SEO). 

Pay Per Click and Search Engine Optimization

Pay-per-click (PPC) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) are both important in SEM, but the two are not the same.

Pay-per-click or PPC is a form of advertising in which a company pays a specific amount for ads for their website link to appear at the top of a search engine results page. The charge is determined by the number of hits the link will receive. This is a highly focused and powerful marketing strategy, but in order to understand how this is functioning, you need to record certain data and understand specific calculations to calculate the real worth of your PPC efforts. Cost per click and return on investment are two of the most important metrics to understand,

Search Engine Optimization or SEO is the practice of enhancing the visibility and rating of your company in organic search results. Higher rankings can lead to more visitors, higher conversions, and a better ROI. SEO best practices are continually evolving as Google modifies its algorithm, but at its core, SEO consists of a few conventional tactics. One of the most effective SEO strategies is to organically include certain keywords into title tags, header tags, meta descriptions, and alt text. In short, there are three vital components of SEO: on-page, off-page, and technical SEO.

SEM is a comprehensive approach that includes both paid ads and SEO strategies. On the other hand, PPC is one where you create an ad but do not optimize it or the website to which it connects. However, if you optimize your ad content with relevant keywords from your SEO strategy and pay to have it appear in SERPs, you are employing SEM to build efficient PPC advertising.

How SEM Works

SEM is then integrated by the business owners or the marketing team. Some enterprises may ask the help of a search engine marketing service. As a stakeholder in a business, it is critical for everyone to grasp the basic processes on how to apply SEM on a daily basis, regardless of who is implementing the SEM. Here is how SEM works in four primary steps.

1 . Marketing Campaign

SEM starts from a set of content that helps promote your brand. The aim of this campaign usually focuses on one thing at a time, such as promoting a single product or service. In creating a marketing campaign, consider how to convey your brand’s message, including which platforms to showcase on, what type of graphics to use, the mood of the copywriting, and other supporting details.

2 . Keyword Auction

One essential part of developing your strategy in SEM is deciding on keywords to focus your content on. Following this step, the search engine will request that you bid for the privilege to use that keyword in your descriptions and titles. When you bid for ad space, you should also bid on frequently searched keywords related to your industry. In deciding on keywords and campaigns, it is a good idea to conduct some research to see what you can pay and whether it fits within your budget. Higher bids would be required to secure the most sought-after and highly searched-for keywords.

3 . Creating Ads

Creating ads is a lengthy creative process that requires practice to excel. Good SEM advertising may communicate essential information in as few words as possible. This should include a link to your brand’s website and an appealing call to action. Ideally, your presented ad should be intriguing and grab attention with innovative copy and content.

4 . Conversion Tracking

SEM may look like a fully-automated ad catering, but you still need to keep an eye on the progress of your SEM process. Conversion tracking is a useful feature in Google Ads that helps to identify how efficiently your ad campaign is producing leads, purchases, downloads, email sign-ups, and other significant business activities. Conversion tracking data helps you see which aspects of your campaign are working and which are not, allowing you to adjust your bid, ad content, and keywords effectively. The information from tracking this can be regarded as feedback. This will typically contain the demographics and location of people visiting, which can benefit you in selecting better keywords for future SEM ads.

Instead of relying only on one marketing strategy, many companies believe that the right mix of SEO and SEM actually generates the best results; SEM in the short term and SEO in the long run. If you still find it difficult to decide whether to employ SEM or if your brand’s SEM strategies are appropriately crafted, let us be of help. Contact us and we can sort things out together, so your business can grow better!