Search Engine Marketing (SEM):
How to get the Best Bang for your Buck!
If you have a new product or service to market or want to supplement your organic marketing, SEM (AKA PPC marketing) can help increase your leads and visibility. SEM can jumpstart your sales or brand visibility or allow you to take advantage of an opportunity. For example, one of our customers is a roofing company in Tucson, AZ, and they are running ads to capture leads due to a severe storm that damaged many roofs.
Note, in this article, we will use the term SEM to cover classic Google Ad campaigns, as well as Bing and Yahoo search, social media post promotion, etc. Many of the benefits discussed from a Google Ads standpoint also apply to the other programs.
If you have been disappointed by your lack of organic search traffic, supplementing your content targeting with PPC can buy you the time you need to adjust your content marketing strategy. Are you struggling to keep your head above the competition? Then Search Engine Marketing (SEM) may be the solution to jumpstart your digital marketing strategy.
Paid search marketing can be a powerful tool for businesses of all sizes and types, whether you have a physical store, an online business, or are a large corporation. Incorporating Google or Bing search advertising (or other paid search or post-promotion networks) into your digital marketing strategy can be an affordable and effective way to boost brand recognition.
SEM or other PPC or post-promotion digital marketing enhances your business’s visibility on search engines or other content networks such as social media. It also allows you to connect with a specific and highly targeted audience in ways that organic search cannot. Unlike traditional advertising methods, search engine marketing provides a direct pathway to reaching your ideal customer base.
Let us help you learn if search engine marketing will work for your organization. Here we break down what search engine marketing is all about and how it can become a valuable part of your digital marketing strategy. Interested in learning more about SEM? Why not contact us today?
Table of Contents
- ^What is Search Engine Marketing?
- ^What is Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Marketing?
- ^Is SEM different than SEO?
- ^Characteristics of SEO
- ^Characteristics of SEM
- ^What is SEM Strategy?
- ^What are the other SEM Platforms?
- ^Why do you need Search Marketing?
- ^Why choose Us to head your Search Engine marketing campaigns?
- ^Contact Us
What is Search Engine Marketing?
Search engine marketing (SEM) is a proven way to promote your business using paid advertising to appear on search engine results pages (SERPs) or other locations. Here’s how it works: advertisers compete for keywords that potential customers might use on Google or Bing. By doing so, they get the chance to have their ad displayed alongside relevant search results.
These ads, also called pay-per-click (PPC) ads, can take various forms. Some are simple text ads, while others are product listing ads (PLAs) with eye-catching visuals that let shoppers quickly see key details like price and reviews. The ads may also appear as banners on participating websites along side of related content, or popular sites to build visability.
SEM can enhance your digital marketing by using the most relevant keywords in your ad content. While we always recommend starting your digital marketing with effective organic search optimization, SEM will quickly get you noticed. We will help you determine if PPC advertising will be profitable before we recommend setting up your SEM campaigns.
What is Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Marketing?
PPC ads come in various formats – text, images, videos, or a blend of media – and can be found on search engines, websites, social media platforms, and other platforms.
It pays to see if SEM pays for you. Therefore, whenever one of our clients asks about search engine marketing, we first look at the financial effectiveness of Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising for their situation. If your goal in using PPC ads is to build sales, then you should first have the answers to the following questions:
- How many products does a new customer buy on average during their first year?
- How much profit does each customer contribute per year?
- What percent of search visitors become customers?
Having answers to these questions will guide our paid ad auctions so your PPC will make a profit. We will then use our tools to identify search terms with a PPC cost below your chosen budget. Then, if there are PPC opportunities, we will kick off your PPC campaigns.
Is SEM different than SEO?
In online marketing, it’s crucial to distinguish between SEO and SEM – two powerful strategies we use daily with our clients at Invite Them Home.
While they may sound similar, SEO and SEM are two distinct approaches to achieving visibility on search engine result pages (SERPs).
SEO: This approach uses organic methods to appear in search results.
SEM: This approach relies on paid methods to appear in search results or content feeds.
Characteristics of SEO
(Search Engine Optimization)
- $It is a part of SEM
- $Results take time, but are longer-lasting
- $Lower cost
- $Higher click-through-rate (CTR)
- $Traffic potential is unlimited
- $Improves the visibility of your website
- $Less competition due to the requirement for organic content
- $A key piece of content marketing
Characteristics of SEM
(Search Engine Marketing)
- $It is used to enhance SEO traffic generation
- $Faster results, but results end when the campaign ends
- $It can be more expensive
- $Lower Click-Through-Rate (CTR)
- $Traffic potential is limited depending on your budget
- $Higher competition in target areas
- $Utilizes Google ads and other paid promotion
SEM encompasses search advertising tactics, while SEO is specifically related to organic search results.
Our team at ITH can help you understand the difference between SEO and SEM and how to use their respective strengths to fire up your online visibility and stay ahead in the competitive digital landscape.
What is SEM Strategy?
Developing a successful SEM strategy involves optimizing paid search ads with a clear objective in mind. When building an effective SEM strategy, it is essential to understand how paid ads platforms work and effectively manage variables that impact performance, including keywords, budget, and copy.
Here are some of the steps we use to increase your search engine rankings with SEM:
The first step in a pay-per-click (PPC) strategy is choosing the right keywords to bid on. This requires conducting research to determine which keywords will trigger your ads and drive relevant traffic. We begin by brainstorming brand terms, words that describe your product, and even terms related to your competitors.
Our professional tools and expert assistance allow us to discover the perfect keywords for your campaign. We analyze search and click volumes to determine your customers’ and competitors’ most commonly used terms.
Conversely, we watch the search phrases your searchers click on to weed out low-value clicks. We do this to find negative keywords that prevent your ad from showing in low-value search term results pages. Again, this saves you both ad spend dollars and wasted time you would use to follow up on poor-quality leads.
If you have a limited budget, focus on bidding on keywords that demonstrate buying intent. However, if your budget allows, consider bidding on keywords that target earlier stages of the buyer’s journey or loosely relate to your product.
Selecting Keywords Based on Cost and Competition
It’s crucial to find a balance when selecting keywords. While keywords with high search volume may attract more competition and lose relevancy, low-competition, high-volume keywords are ideal. However, these can be challenging to find. Finding the right mix of demand (volume) and budget (competition) is essential.
We use our professional tools to research keywords and phrases that provide the best opportunity for increased sales. This is done by selecting search terms that indicate buyer interest. Our expert team will help you choose the optimal keywords, set a suitable budget and cost-per-click bid, and strategically target high-potential geographic areas. You will see significant business growth by reaching buyers who are actively searching for your product or service. We also research the PPC keywords used by your competitors. Ideally, you want your content to appear any time theirs does.
Effective budgeting is an important part of keyword selection. Your ads’ number of appearances (impression coverage) is determined by the bid you place on the keyword, your ad budget, and what Google defines as your quality score. Higher bids and budgets and better quality ads yield better ad placement. Therefore, highly competitive keywords tend to be more expensive. Bidding too low may result in your ad not being shown, so it’s crucial to assess the level of competition for each keyword and ensure competitiveness. ITH will help you make the most of this balance.
Manage Ad Groups and Campaigns
While it may be tempting to combine all your keywords and display one ad, this approach can deplete your budget due to high-volume keywords. It can also negatively impact your quality score. Properly structuring your Google Ads account is vital to maximize results.
We will help you enhance your SEM strategy with a well-planned PPC approach, focusing on relevant keywords, strategic bidding, and account structure.
To ensure the ongoing effectiveness of your campaigns, it’s crucial to actively manage them. Regularly reviewing your account activity is a strong indicator of success. By diligently monitoring your Google ads account, we will continuously add relevant PPC keywords to broaden the scope of your campaigns.
We will also add non-converting terms as negative keywords to increase relevancy and reduce unnecessary costs, and identify expensive, underperforming keywords and turn them off if needed.
If needed, we will break up your ad groups into smaller, more focused groups to create more targeted ad text and landing pages. This will enhance your CTR and Quality Score.
By implementing these strategies, you’ll manage your campaigns effectively and maximize their impact. Does this sound like a lot of work? It is! That’s why companies nationwide leave it to Invite Them Home to manage their ad campaigns.
The best SEM offence is a good SEM defense
The digital marketing landscape is not a friendly place. In addition to managing your ads, we also watch your back. For example, if we see indications of click fraud, such as the repeated use of specific search terms buy a single searcher in quick succession, we have tools such as ClickCease that will prevent most types of abuse and save you from paying for fraudulent clicks.
In the same way we can block users using a VPN to get around your location targeting. We recently saw users in Africa applying for loans from a customer in Florida; not only was this costing them ad dollars, it was wasting their time in weeding thru false leads. We were able to shut those down with ad VPN blocking.
Integrating SEM with SEO
In an increasingly competitive marketplace, combining our expertise in SEO, content marketing, and SEM will positively impact your website’s quality and online traffic. By implementing the right paid advertisements and optimizing your website content effectively, you can enhance your brand and generate greater awareness of your company’s products. Both SEO and SEM act as the tip of the spear, reaching out and capturing your prospects’ attention and enticing them to delve deeper into what you have to offer.
By appearing in both paid and organic search results, you significantly increase your chances of attracting potential customers. Your website and business will be seen more frequently, giving you a higher chance of being contacted by interested parties.
SEM data can help guide your SEO efforts more effectively. The data collected from paid results, such as conversion rates and target keywords, can give us better direction for your content marketing strategy.
Additionally, retargeting is an effective tool in your arsenal. With SEM campaigns, you can target your organic website visitors, ensuring that your brand stays at the forefront of their minds and increasing the likelihood of conversion.
Google SEM Campaigns
Google Ads is Google’s pay-per-click (PPC) platform that allows businesses to gain visibility across various Google platforms. The most common type of ad is the search ad, which appears on the search engine results page (SERP) for relevant searches. But that’s not all – businesses can also run display ads, shopping ads, and YouTube ads using Google Ads.
Drive results with Google Ads by appearing above or below the nonpaid or organic results. You can extend your reach even further by running display campaigns on the Google Display Network – a vast collection of third-party websites that have partnered with Google. You can reach your audience with text, image, video, or rich media formats, and target them precisely using audience and remarketing strategies.
Our team at Invite Them Home is well-versed in Google Ad campaigns. We do more than help you buy ads on Google. We handle all aspects of your campaign, including:
• Choosing the appropriate keywords to target
• Setting up and managing search ad campaigns and ad groups
• Integrating with other online promotional efforts
• Reporting campaign performance for analysis and tracking ROI
• Determining the maximum bid strategy that will get you results
Other SEM Platforms
While Google dominates the world of search, comprehensive SEM strategies often require expanding beyond Google Ads. Invite Them Home will help you set up an account with Google Adwords, LinkedIn, Facebook Ads, Bing Ads, and Yahoo Search Marketing, and other platforms frequented by your target audience as determined by your specific needs.
The accounts will be yours, which we feel is essential to give you long-term control over your digital marketing. Therefore we are not marking up your ad spend. While you maintain ownership of your accounts, we offer continued support throughout your campaigns.
Why do I need Search Marketing?
If the benefits of search engine marketing aren’t obvious, take a look at these statistics:
Online shoppers are 80% more likely to visit a physical store location if they first view their inventory online (Marketing Evolution, 2021).
75% of users said paid search ads aid them in their online shopping with a search engine (SMA Marketing, 2021).
45.5% of users could not tell the difference between ads and organic search results if there were no ads shown in the right column (SMA Marketing, 2021).
49% of companies average an increase of 1,000 search views of their Google My Business listing monthly, and 33% gain 1,000+ Maps views when they utilize SEM (SMA Marketing, 2021).
The average ROI for Google Ads spending is $2 for each $1 spent (SMA Marketing, 2021).
Why choose Invite Them Home to head your Search Engine marketing campaigns?
Competing in the digital world requires time, effort, and expertise. We provide a free no-obligation Zoom session to examine your potential ROI from running a PPC campaign. Most of our clients choose to have bi-weekly or monthly Zoom meetings. During these meetings, we discuss your ad performance and suggest changes to optimize the coming month’s search ad campaign.
Choosing Invite Them Home means choosing the best SEM services you will find. With us, you get:
The best SEM tools
We subscribe to the best professional tools to conduct keyword research, analyze Google trends, and popular search queries in your industry. Not only do we have access to these tools, but we are also well-trained to get the most out of these resources. This information is critical for a successful online marketing strategy, but it is usually too costly and complex for the average business to navigate independently.
The best expertise
The best SEM services
We understand if you’re not ready to commit to a comprehensive SEM strategy – that’s why we offer a risk-free, no-obligation SEO audit and a Zoom meeting to get your questions answered before you make any commitment.