Introducing The World of SEM
There are two main types of SEM strategy: Organic Search (SEO) and Paid Search (PPC), both of which have their advantages and disadvantages. However, when possible, we recommend businesses use both of these online marketing strategies simultaneously to achieve the best results.
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What is SEM?
SEM is an acronym for Search Engine Marketing. It is a form of internet marketing that involves the use of paid advertising to achieve higher rankings on search engines. There are two main types of SEM: Paid Search and Organic Search.
The organic approach is also known as SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation. The other is paid advertising on search engine platforms like Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Baidoo. This is also known as PPC (when someone clicks on an ad, the platform starts charging the brand money).
The advantage of the first strategy, besides there being no need to pay for advertising, is that it also helps build long-term credibility for your business. This strategy requires the use of various SEM techniques that rely on specialist knowledge. It also requires you to play the long game as it takes quite a while to see results. And even when a website does finally make it to the first page of Google, it needs to be optimised regularly to maintain its ranking.
Paid media, also known as PPC advertising, is the other type of search engine marketing. The appeal is that it’s fast-paced; your website will appear on the top page of Google for relevant keywords once your campaign has launched. However, just because you have money to spend, it doesn’t mean you can launch lots of ads, as Google has rules that need to be considered in order for your SEM strategy to be compliant.
Where Should the SEM Process Begin?
Similar to any other marketing process, it starts with planning.
- Set goals and objectives
To create an SEM strategy, you must first define the purpose of your campaign, whether that’s brand awareness, PR, distribution, or to increase the sales of goods or services. This aim should be established early on since it may influence your keyword selection and content creation.
- Study the market
You might start by searching for keywords related to your business. Once you find a relevant website, take a look at how they advertise. How do they write their descriptions? What kind of landing page shows when you click on their pages? This way you’ll see what your competitors are doing and how you can use better SEM techniques.
- Set a budget
This is very important so that the budget doesn’t escalate, because when doing SEM you will have to pay every time someone clicks on your link. So, determining a budget will allow you to control costs. If you feel you’re spending too much, you’re able to stop your campaign at any time. If you work with a digital marketing agency, they will set your budget limits for each campaign.
- Prepare your website
Before starting an SEM campaign, check that your website is ready to receive customers. This includes your website as a whole and the pages customers will land on when they click on your ads. For example, suppose your SEM campaign is communicating a special promotion for online customers, and you want the customers to complete a form before they receive that promotion. In that case, you need to see if the form looks correct. Is it detailed and easy to understand?Google uses a Quality Score, which determines a website’s credibility. If your website has a low Quality Score (due to poor website performance, slow loading, out-of-date data, unresponsiveness, or inefficient usability), your advertising costs will be more compared to a business with a website with a high Quality Score.
- Start the SEM process
SEM is a little different from organic search or SEO in that it doesn’t require as much time or specialised techniques, but several parts are the same. It’s crucial to understand each step and why it can’t be skipped.
Begin the process of SEM
Once you have a plan and are ready to start doing SEM, you will need to create an advertising campaign using the steps below:
- Keyword Research
The process of doing SEM might already be familiar to you. This process is the same for SEO, where you need to find keywords to use for your campaign so that when people search for that term, your ad will show up. This step is important because no one wants to spend their clicks on non-business-related searches.Another benefit of keyword research is knowing which keywords are very popular, which might not always be good because more people = more competitors. However, it’s not forbidden to use these words because most of them are basic keywords that people tend to pick from their searches. But what you should do in parallel is search for other words that may be less used but still an easy way for you to be found. This process can be done through tools like Google Keyword Planner.
- Keyword Auctions
Once you’ve found your keywords, the next important step is the keyword auction. As mentioned above, Paid Media SEM methods are billed as Pay Per Click, and the cost you pay per click can be customised in an auction format. Google usually chooses the ad of the person who bids the highest; however, this is not always the case.As we’ve mentioned, the Quality Score is an essential criterion for Google when choosing which ad to display. The reason for this is that Google has to maintain its standards of credibility as the most trusted and used search engine platform in the world. Therefore, if your website is ineffective, Google’s credibility will also be compromised.
This also means that even if you put in a lower bid than your competitors, if your website has a higher Quality Score (seamless performance, people click and spend time on your website), there is a chance that your ad will be shown before your competitor’s.
What do you accomplish once you know how to do SEM?
Having a clear idea of what you want to achieve with your SEM strategy will help produce results, whether that’s increased sales, a larger customer base, or better brand awareness. Remember, it’s important not to just go for Paid Search and ignore SEO because, with Paid Search, your ads will immediately stop once you stop paying. Although it takes more time, SEO will produce better results in many respects in the long run.