What Is Search Engine Marketing?
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is essentially a pay-per-click function of search engines such as Google. As Google is such as dominant player, we will refer to Google search engine as the default for the purpose of our discussions.
In the case of Google, the SEM is also called Google Adwords.
In an earlier post Google Adwords vs Facebook Ads, I assumed the readers are familiar with both forms of ads. Today I will go into some details of how Google Adwords is performed and why businesses should consider using it.
You would need to get a free account with Google Adwords, or this is really the same thing as the Google Keyword Planner I have mentioned in How To Do SEO.
Adwords has the following structure. Those familiar with Facebook ads will notice the very similar hierarchy where you have Campaign, Ad Sets and Ads.
Rather than explaining the above, please watch this short video which is a great introduction to Google Adwords.
Why Should You Do SEM?
You will agree with me that we still use search engines a lot.
Google is our very good friend when we want to find out information, research a subject, shop for a product, find a service provider (think flat battery, punctured car tyre, lost keys etc) and compare prices for goods.
What should be noted is that, when we search on Google, we are finding a solution! Which means, whether through SEM or SEO, the audience landing on our website already has a need for something.
Compare this to Facebook ads which is more of a push ad and the audience may not even want your products or services, though you can refine and have a narrower target audience who may be set thinking about your offering when they see the ads.
You do have to set aside marketing budget for SEM and certain keywords which you might want to target may be competitive and expensive to bid for.
Ideally, you want to be able to derive free organic traffic through SEO but SEO takes time and effort to develop. I always recommend that SEM and SEO should be used concurrently till you are happy your SEO is powerful enough. Still, if the investment on SEM achieves a certain ROI, it should be a part of your marketing effort.
The other thing to note is that SEM immediately allows you to target specific keywords across countries, so long as you have the right marketing budget. To rank well for SEO in multiple countries is even harder.
SEM Contributes To SEO Ranking
It is also worth noting that SEM not only directly brings you paid traffic and leads, but it improves your SEO ranking as a result of the traffic coming to your website. In a way, you are paying to improve your SEO ranking.
When I was learning affiliate marketing. I had this website learnaffiliatemarketingbasics.net set up. I didn’t do much SEO work on it but relied on SEM to generate leads. However, today the website also ranks for a number of keywords on page 1 because of all the SEM traffic!
SEM click through data is also good analytics data for you to further refine your website SEO keywords list.
For example, I see many clicks through the keyword Make Money Online. If I can rank for this keyword, I know it will generate me good traffic.
Holistic Digital Marketing Plan
To me, SEM, SEO, Facebook Ads (or more generally social media ads) are specific tools within the tool-box a digital marketer has access to. Different tools perform different functions and you should use them wisely.
Some situations are quite obvious which tool is required and which tool will not work. But sometimes, it is a matter of some trial and error to find out what works better.
You can contact us at Anspire Consulting and we can assist with a number of digital marketing services including Search Engine Marketing services, even for one-off campaigns.