Search engine marketing is a method of promotion and advertising that helps companies’ content rank higher among search engine traffic. Like search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing helps companies improve the way search engines rank content.
SEM helps companies bring their products and services to the attention of audiences through paid search engine advertising. SEM is an online marketing strategy in which organizations buy targeted advertising space at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs). This approach is different from SEO, which focuses on optimizing content for search engine algorithms so that content ranks higher on SERPs.
SEM | Search Engine Marketing
SEM (Search Engine Marketing) primarily focuses on using paid advertising to drive traffic through services such as Google Ads or Bing Ads. Following are the major aspects of SEM:
- It is based on keyword analysis. Marketing departments identify keyword terms that can attract users to a webpage. Like SEO practitioners, search engine marketers use keyword research analysis and tools to identify keyword phrases that audiences are searching for. They then buy ad space from a search engine provider for the search terms they want to target.
- SEM paid search results go to the top of SERP.
- SEM benefits from webpages that are easy for web crawlers to scan and include trust signals such as linking to other websites.
How Search Engine Marketing works?
Search engine marketers first identify keywords with large search volume and then buy advertising space on SERPs for those keywords. These campaigns are pay per click (PPC), which means that the marketer pays the search engine provider every time a user clicks on their ad. For organizations selling products and services, the revenue generated from customers purchasing those products through SEM advertising must exceed the cost of PPC.
SEM ads are placed at the top of the SERP, above the organic results generated by SEO. They appear similar to organic results and include the following features:
- title or title tag;
- a summary of the webpage content, known as a meta description;
- call-to-action, i.e. text that prompts visitors to take a certain action, such as purchasing a product or subscribing to a service; And
- URL hyperlinks.
Importance of Search Engine Marketing | Benefits of SEM
- Digital Marketing: Online shopping is one of the most popular ways for customers to shop. SEM campaigns attempt to expand the reach of digital marketing by identifying and using keywords that will attract the people most likely to be interested in the marketer’s product or service. Essentially, SEM campaigns target the most profitable keywords.
- Higher Conversion Rates: One of the biggest benefits of SEM marketing efforts is that they put an organization’s product in front of customers when they are ready to make a purchase. For example, by purchasing an ad for a product keyword — “food processor”, for example — customers looking to buy a food processor online will first see the company’s product ad. With SEM, there is a good chance that visitors who click on an ad will go on to make a purchase, increasing an organization’s customer conversion rates and optimizing customer purchase intent.
- Speed: An SEM strategy often drives traffic more quickly than SEO, which can require longer periods of time to analyze keywords and shape content for SEO research. SEM puts products and services in front of customers instantly at the top of SERPs.
- PPC Model: The PPC model, which is similar to the cost per engagement model, is a cost-effective strategy that enables organizations to pay only when their ads are clicked. Organizations can also control how much they spend by setting a maximum cost per click (CPC) and daily budget.
- Increase in organic rankings and trust signals: Increased traffic to a page through paid ads ultimately increases the overall traffic of the page and increases the trust signals that Google is ranked against. If a product performs well enough through an SEM campaign, it can rank organically higher on SERPs, eliminating the need for SEM.
- Segmentation: In addition to keywords, SEM campaigns can control the geographic location, language, and online behavior they target, ensuring that they only reach users who are interested in their product or services.
- Deeper Insights: Tools like Google Analytics give organizations highly detailed reports on the status and growth of their SEM campaigns in real time. It provides useful information about how SEM campaign ads are performing, helping organizations analyze how they can improve their campaigns.
Drawbacks of Search Engine Marketing | Disadvantages of SEM
- Cost: Even with cost-effective models like PPC, SEM can become costly over time, as organizations have to pay each time their ad is clicked. With SEO, there are no click- and ranking-related costs.
- Competition: Depending on the target audience of the campaign, buying ads and ensuring top positions at the top of SERPs can be challenging and costly. CPC and associated costs are rising due to the increase in companies competing for the top ad spot.
- Customer trust and ad blockers: Many customers do not enjoy or trust ads and block them with ad blockers. Ads can be viewed as disruptive and less trustworthy than inbound marketing techniques that generate organic search results.