Search engine marketing (SEM)
If you need quick online visibility on search engines for the key terms customers are using to find products and services in your area, SEM is the digital marketing channel for you. Read on to find out about how SEM can make your business more successful online.
Here is everything you need to know about SEM
What is SEM? What does SEM stand for?
SEM, (short for Search Engine Marketing), also known as SEA (short for Search Engine Advertising), is a form of paid digital marketing commonly found on all major search engines. Because Google is used for the vast majority of searches. The classic example of SEM is a Google Search Ad.
What is a Google Search Ad
With Google Search Ads, the digital marketer agrees to pay a fee to Google for being listed prominently in the search engine results for the terms being targeted. The fee for this ad is paid every time a searcher completes an action that has been pre-agreed between the marketer and the search engine — for instance clicking on the ad.
With Google Ads, providing the marketer pays the fee and enough searchers complete the action, the marketer is guaranteed a prime position in the search results. This allows marketers to solely focus on getting searchers to click on their ads. In terms of attracting clicks from the user, this gives Search Ads a big advantage over regular search results, because the owners of sites that have regular unpaid listings in the results cannot directly control what Google displays, and risks losing their rankings by making changes to the wording of content.
Why Paid Search Ads are effective
Paid advertising with SEM is based on the idea that if a user is searching for something on search engines, it's very likely that they will be interested in adverts that are strongly linked to this search term. This combination of search data and the ability to achieve quick visibility makes SEM an extremely effective way of precision targeting ads at the best possible audience and bringing many new customers to your business quickly.
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Example of SEM Ads
A standard Google Ad looks very similar to search result on the Google ranking page, except it has the words Ad written by it.
By paying the required fee for a Google Ad the digital marketer guarantees a prime position in the search results they are targeting. They only need to focus on making their listed ad as clickable as possible.
Marketers also have the option of different ads layouts that contain more information and can be more engaging than regular results. All these advantages make Google Ads and SEM a much quicker and easier way to attract many news customers to your site from search engines.
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Ads from SEM, especially Google Ads, can appear in other places beyond the search results in the form of banner ads on the extended search network of sites associated with search engines.This is why you often find adverts on the sites you are browsing for things you have recently searched on search engines.
What is PPC? What does PPC stand For?
PPC is a major part of SEM: it is the most commonly known method of payment for SEM activities. PPC stands for Pay-Per-Click. It is an auction based model of SEM in which spots for ads are given to the winner of a virtual auction. This virtual auction process occurs every time someone completes a search which includes terms being targeted for ads. With PPC, unlike in the classic auctions we all know from the movies, the top bid doesn’t always win with PPC, because Google only receives payment when users click on an ad, Google factors this Click-Through Rate (CTR) into its process for determining the best bid. As a lower bid that gets many clicks may pay more money overall because more people click on it. This is why optimizing PPC activities to maximize clicks is so crucial.
PPC Ads on Google are the most popular and well known form of SEM. It’s important to note that PPC is not the only type of SEM. Other forms of SEM include:
- Search campaigns: simple text ads in the search results.
- Display ads: target customers with visual advertising on websites affiliated with Google.
- Video ads: Ads shown between video content on Youtube, or recommended.
- Google shopping campaigns: Promote specific products and services with appealing ads that focus their most appealing features and encourage targeted searchers to click on them.
- App campaigns: promote your mobile apps on many channels.
- Local campaigns: these are great for store and restaurant owners who want to attract potential customers searching in the local area. Especially if your business is on Google Business Profile and Google Maps.
- Smart campaigns: highlight key selling points of your business and attract customers
So which option is right for you? If you are a small business owner, your first focus should be getting traffic to your website using classic Google Ads on the SERP. To maximize the profits you need to create professionally worded Ads.
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What is the benefit of SEM?
SEM is unlike any other digital marketing channel, allowing you to get your ads on the front page of Google’ Search Engine Results Page (SERP), in front of people searching for the products and services you offer, within hours. This makes SEM an ideal marketing technique for anyone selling products in high demand, with a short shelf life, or that are only available at certain times of the year. SEM guarantees visibility on the SERP, and if you set up the right kinds of ads, it guarantees more traffic and customers.
SEM is also a great marketing activity to be done in combination with more long term oriented digital marketing strategies such as SEO which can take weeks and even months to have to take full effect. Websites starting out often struggle to get traffic organically. SEM can be a great way to boost a site’s presence in those early stages.
Getting the best value out your SEM is all about maximizing the conversions you get from your ad spend. It’s to remember that ads can bring the right customers to our website but they won’t buy from it if it isn’t appealing to the user. Be sure to also work on your site’s UX for your site and maxmize conversions by optimizing your CTAs.
Google search results for Thomas Steakhouse before and after optimisation