Search engine marketing, also known as SEM, is one of the most effective strategies you can implement to grow your business and to establish brand recognition online. Search engine marketing allows you to choose the most critical keywords for your business to elevate your website and increase your online visibility and ranking among competitors.
Search engine marketing along with other digital forms of marketing is a very competitive space. New businesses and brands are being created and put online each day. Those who quickly and consistently implement SEM strategies will always rank higher on search engines and generate the most traffic that converts.
What is Search Engine Marketing?
Search engine marketing is making use of paid advertisements that appear on search engine results pages, also referred to as SERPs, to promote a business, brand, product, or service. Advertisers bid on highly searched for keywords and the pay-per-click ads appear alongside search results. These ads can be text-based ads, video-based ads, or shop now based ads.
Search engine marketing is effective because it allows it places advertisers like you right where your target audience is at the moment of interest and intent. SEM used to be an overarching term for all forms of search marketing and SEO, but there has since been a distinction made between it and other marketing services.
Why Search Engine Marketing is Important
Focus on Conversions
Marketing campaigns often have several objectives such as gaining new subscribers and newsletter signups as two examples. But the main opportunity is for a user to convert – buy the product, subscribe to the services, or have a conversation with the sales team. Search engine marketing is a critical driver for conversions because paid ads are typically linked to sales pages that drive traffic through the typical sales funnel.
For a business with any size budget, SEM is a great opportunity especially for local marketing. Customers often look for solutions to their problems within their local community. For example, users will search for “food delivery near me” and if your business offers food delivery, it could be a missed opportunity if you don’t show up. Local marketing allows you to focus on and connect your business to the potential customers within your surrounding area.
SEM can be a very important analytics factor when trying to define the search intent of users. Once you have run several campaigns consistently for your business, you can begin to see patterns in your PPC search data. You will look at things such as which ads receive the most clicks, which pages led to the most conversions and so forth. Once you identify these search trends, you can then optimize your ads for higher click-throughs and better engagement.
Let’s face it, the majority of the global population is on the go and searching for what they need from a smartphone or other mobile device. A large part of growth within your business will hinge on search data and search advertisements being leveraged to deliver relevant mobile ad experiences based on user intent.
KPIs to Track SEM Performance
Page views – This can quickly show you which content is attracting the most visitors to your website or landing page. Identifying brand new users can also show you how well an awareness campaign is working. And when visitors stay long enough to actually read the content, you can optimize for improvement by looking at the time on page.
Organic traffic volume – Looking at this metric can help you see where your website lands on a SERP. Organic traffic measures the number of people who found you by typing in a keyword and clicking through to a search result. Typically, the majority of searchers don’t go past the first page, and at that, the first 3-5 results. Try to land in that range and see your strategy pay off.
Keyword ranking – Keywords are not everything, but they are very critical to being found online. Look at how your content ranks for specific keywords and how well those keywords are incorporated into your content. There are several tools out there that can be useful in monitoring the competition.
Click-through rate – What users see on your ad should excite people enough to follow through to your website, sales page, or landing page. When they do, this is known as the CTR. You can use A/B testing to gain critical information to help adjust your SEM campaign for better results.
What is not to like about search engine marketing?
Search engine marketing can help you to ensure your online presence to front and center on search engines. Your potential customers are looking for what you have to offer and crafting an SEM strategy that works for your business can result in amazing things such as brand awareness, boosted ROI, and consistent conversions of visitors into customers.