Online Marketing: What Is SEM?
Search engine marketing – SEM – is a form of internet marketing in which an online business purchases ads on a search engine such as Google, Yahoo, or Bing, with the goal of increasing traffic to its company website. SEM can be a highly effective and valuable strategy in support of a company’s digital marketing efforts because SEM lets advertisers place their marketing message directly in front of their target audience.
The real power behind SEM is that a company’s ad appears in front of their target customer at the very moment the customer is the most motivated to buy – when they have just performed a search for whatever it is the company is selling or promoting. SEM can also be highly effective when used in conjunction with social media outlets such as Facebook, YouTube, and other online apps.
SEM Paid Advertising
SEM is also known as paid advertising, pay-per-click advertising, keyword advertising, and targeted advertising. The advertiser bids on specific keywords that an internet user – the advertiser’s target customer – might enter when performing a search for a particular product or service. Then, when a search query is performed using those keywords, the advertiser has the opportunity for their ad to appear on the search engine results page (SERP) along with the search engine’s other results.
These paid or sponsored ads can be text-based or they can be more visual and provide potential consumers with information they likely find most useful upfront, such as customer reviews and price. Ads appear alongside other search results on a SERP and are identified as such. Sponsored ads can appear above the list of search results at the top of the page, or they can be located along the right side of the page.
SEM works in combination with search engine optimization (SEO), which involves managing a website’s content and behind-the-scenes site architecture with the objective of improving the website’s ranking and visibility in search engines and on SERPs. Understanding SEO and applying it correctly and wisely is critical to the success of any SEM campaign, since success is determined by how well you, or your web developer, selected and bid on keywords to be used in the paid ads.
Different search engines refer to their paid advertising programs differently. For example, Google’s service is called Google AdWords and also Pay Per Click (PPC), and Bing’s service is called Bing Ads. Google is, by far, the most widely used search engine, but the benefits derived from paid ads through any available search engine are generally the same.
Benefits of SEM
Through search engine marketing, businesses can:
- Gain new website traffic and improve click-through rates, as paid ads help attract more potential customers – Well-managed ad campaigns rank well in search engine results, which means a company’s ads can appear directly in front of their target consumer at the moment they are searching for the company’s products or services.
- Trust that the web traffic they receive from paid advertising will be highly qualified – Consumers who click on a company’s ads are looking specifically for what they offer.
- Set their advertising budget, then pay only when a consumer clicks on the ad.
- Reach mobile customers anywhere, anytime – Ads appear when customers are out searching (that is, shopping) for the very products or service a company offers.
- Paid ad campaigns are flexible and can be customized – Target consumers by: geography, gender, remarketing, age, day, whatever aligns with the advertiser’s needs and budget.
SEM requires close attention to know what is, or is not, working. Web developers continually test, monitor, and adjust ads to ensure each ad investment returns the maximum results. They track keyword performance and make real-time adjustments if something is not performing as well as expected.
Web Development SEM Support
Web developers and digital marketing experts should work with businesses to ensure the SEM services they provide will generate results. Web developers should:
- Consult with and analyze the business – And the competition, and fully understand the business’s target market.
- Gather the business’s detailed requirements – In terms of the goals for each ad campaign, the maximum budget, and the expected results.
- Research keywords – With proper analysis, a developer can come up with a list of optimum keywords the company’s target audience might use to search online for the products and services they offer.
- Properly align budget with each ad campaign – Advertisers often have multiple bid strategies with different amounts of ad spend for each.
- Place ads and monitor results – Ad testing, monitoring, and adjusting is mandatory to ensure the best results and maximum return on each ad investment.
The goal of SEM is to increase and enhance a company’s visibility and relevance to targeted users – both customers and potential customers – with the purpose of increasing web traffic, improving conversions, gaining additional qualified leads, and ultimately growing profits. Perfexion, Inc. provides search engine marketing services including establishing and managing pay-per-click campaigns. They specialize in online marketing and understand what is needed for SEM to perform at optimum levels and provide a positive return on every client’s PPC investment. We are a Philadelphia based Search Engine Marketing, web design and development company located in Plymouth Meeting just outside King of Prussia.