Search Engine Marketing
Search engine marketing, or SEM, is a type of Internet marketing which involves purchasing web traffic through paid search activities. While it shares a number of similarities with SEO, the two should not be confused. With search engine marketing you can pay online search platforms directly to reach a much wider audience, whereas with SEO, you rely on improving your organic (unpaid) search rankings within the search engine’s search algorithm. If you are unfamiliar with paid search marketing, take a moment and Google the word “computer”. You’ll notice that the top results are all advertisements; these top spots are all paid for in an effort to generate traffic.
The great thing about search engine marketing is that your advertisements are only seen by people searching for keywords relevant to your business. For example, if you are a landscaper living in Miami, FL, you can attach your ads to relevant search keywords like: Landscaper Florida, Landscaper, Miami, etc.
Now, If you have any doubts about the effectiveness of SEM, know that in the first half of 2015 total online ad revenues were estimated to be $27.5 billion, with paid search advertising accounted for 50% of this total. Business owners use SEM because it works.
How SEM Can Help Your Business.
SEM Let’s You Buy a Top Search Ranking
If your business is already established, you might be able to reach new customers through positive word-of-mouth. Newer businesses, however, have to generate traffic to their website quickly. SEM lets you bypass the competition and jump strait to the top of the search rankings, increasing your chances of finding new clients. A great place to start is Google AdWords. Google processes over 3.5 billion searches every day, that’s over 68% of total online searches. Buying a top spot on Google will put more eyes on your website, leading to more clicks and more business.
SEM Increases Your Websites Visibility Beyond SEO
While search engine optimization is a great way to improve your non-paid search ranking, it can be a rather slow process, and generally won’t bring immediate results. Even then, it will only be effective with the keywords you specifically target. SEM methods, such as pay-per-click advertising, are immediate and can be targeted to reach a much broader audience. Both organic search and paid search offer businesses’ the chance to grow their reach and generate leads, and the best marketers will use a combination of the two to maintain visibility in the various search engines.
SEM Lets You Test the Effectiveness of Your Marketing Campaign
One severely overlooked advantage of using paid search marketing is the opportunity to track and test your company’s marketing campaign. Paid search advertising platforms provide marketers with the data and tools needed to see just how effective their various advertisements are.
With a service like Google AdWords, you can design and run an advertisement for 30 days, then check the data to see how often the ad was clicked, what times of day it was most clicked, and where in the country the clicks took place. Even the internet marketing firms that don’t believe in SEM will still use it to determine the key phrases that achieve the best return on investment.
SEM Lets You Target Your Ads to a Specific Area
A great feature that all of the best paid search marketing platforms provide to marketers is the ability to geo-target ads. Geo-targeting lets advertisers choose specific locations from across the globe to display their advertisements to. For example, If you are an estate attorney based out of Austin, TX, it doesn’t make much sense to advertise your services to Google users living in Barcelona, Spain. By choosing exactly where your advertisements are displayed you can stretch your marketing budget much further.
SEM Lets You Schedule Your Ads
Ad scheduling lets you choose the specific days and times you run your ads. If you know when your target audience is most likely to be active online, you can avoid wasting money on ineffective ad placements. You can also choose to run ads only when your business is open, or when you are available to speak with customers. Scheduling your ads is another way to get the most bang for your marketing buck.