Getting Started With Search Engine Marketing

Let’s take a dive into SEM (search engine marketing), a form of website promotion which increases website visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) through paid advertising.

The Skinny On SEMs

 Search engines dominate the way people find products or services. Or the way products and services find them. Before internet search engines like Google, advertisers relied on word of mouth, radio ads, print ads in magazines and newspapers, TV ads, or even the backs of cereal boxes. Those analogue media days are over. Ok, maybe not TV ads but even that is changing with subscription services like Netflix.

It’s telling that more than a third of product searches start on Google, and the average search lasts no more than a minute. So, you need SEM to differentiate yourself from your competitors. It’s the most powerful medium to influence your audience’s uptake of your goods and services, through sponsored advertising.

A SEM campaign makes or breaks the success of a company. It’s a seamless and non-intrusive form of advertising used by SMEs and corporations to present themselves and their offerings at the same time that potential consumers are actively looking for those goods or services.

Because you can target and measure SEM campaigns, it makes good financial sense to have one. And because you only pay each time someone clicks your ad, it’s economical too. Any company or individual who provides something someone else is going to want to have stands to benefit from SEM.

You might get confused by newfangled but similar sounding online marketing words, like SEM and SEO. But that easy to clear up. SEM refers to the practice of paying for ads on search engines. Search engine optimisation (SEO) means boosting website traffic from search engines in an organic way.

Now that we’ve gotten that out the way, we can talk about the many advantages you get with SEM for your business.

How To Leverage SEM’s Monetising Opportunities

SEMs are driven by intent. Instead of that old and obvious ad trick of trying to “con”vince someone they “need” this or that, you encounter potential customers at the same time they are looking for a solution to a need or something they already want.

This kind of marketing is called low-funnel because you’re driving purchase among shoppers who show potential to buy. You’re nudging them closer towards buying your product or service – not ramming them with it head-on.

Starting your own business? In a me-too product and service saturated world, targeted SEM helps you to stand out from your competitors. Visible and fast, SEM elevates you from the crowd by leveraging what’s already out there and putting your unique take on it.

SEM lets you see the number of people clicking on your ads versus your actual buyers, so you can make instant adjustments depending on what’s working. If your aim is to drum up more website sales by making blog content that targets key market segments, say, or installing a live chatbox, SEM shows you which mechanism is working the best, so you can allocate you time, money and energy in that direction.  

Your campaign can be micro-targeted to your visitors by their location, device, clock and time of year – granulated data which drives your SEM return on keyword ad spend, without having to bank on cookies or increasing ad spend.

The Economics Of SEM

There is no blanket cost when it comes to SEM, ballpark estimates are wide-ranging. SEM lets you adjust your budget by refining which keywords provide the best ROI. Because SEM is measurable from the ground up, the emphasis is on adjustability.

Find out the cost per click (CPC) rates in planning keywords and forecasting search tools to estimate your competition’s SEM expenses. You might want to spend a bit more than them to up your ranking. If you bid too low your ad might not be shown. Higher bids and higher quality ads get to the top of SERPs.

Components Of An SEM Ad

The sum of the parts makes up the whole. We dive deeper below:

  1. The headline goes at the top, is usually hyperlinked and has a maximum of 35 characters.
  2. A description (90 characters max) goes underneath the headline.
  3. Extensions are optional but present a number of potential actions a visitor may take on an ad, such as being shown a number of links by clicking on a single ad.
  4. This brings us to the all-important landing page, your website’s square one, where you send customers to when they click on your ad.

But how exactly do you make a paid ad for a search engine – a SEM? Easy peasy, here’s how:

  • So search ads focus on the keywords that potential conversions (customers) are looking for. You need to research the keywords or phrases people use when they’re seeking out your product/service. Striking the balance between high-volume and low-competition keywords is crucial – so is weighing up demand (volume) versus budget (competition).
  • We’re talking about keyword intent Ask yourself the question: what queries do you want your ad to show up for?
  • When you’ve chosen the keywords you want to rank for, you need to look at the expense. The general rule of thumb is that the more competitive the keyword, the more it’ll cost. Once you’re ready to put your ad in a search engine, it’s time to enter an ad auction. All the Google ads you will ever see get run through an ad auction before showing up in SERPs.
  • But we can’t forget quality score, ad rank and click-through rate. The quality score of your ad is about the relevance and usefulness your ad is to the keywords you’re using. Your quality score is ranked on a 1 to 10 scale. The more relevant the ad, the higher the quality score and the lower the
  • When all is said and done, you’ve chosen your keywords and structured your account, the final step is to earn your visitor’s click by writing a compelling ad. Words still have the key to the SERP city.

Our Pick Of SEM Tools

  1. HubSpot's Ad Tracking Software

HubSpot Ads software transcends click and traffic counts to help you determine just how ads persuade contacts to be where they are in the sales funnel. Perfect for creating leads and generating business revenue. The HubSpot Ad tool lets you know which ads are working validates your use of SEM, and incorporates your ad efforts within your marketing strategy.

  1. SEMrush

Semrush is an all-inclusive digital SEM marketing tool. It lets you carry out far-reaching keyword research, keyword rank tracking, site audits, traffic analysis and that’s not all. SEMrush is particularly adept at locating opportunities for long-tail keyword organic ranking.

The tool shows you your paying competitors’ focused keywords, how their ads are composed and breaks down their presence by region. SEMrush also lets you know which keywords rank the highest and which ones are the hardest to rank for. This guides your expense and your out-ranking strategy.

  1. Google Ads Keyword Planner

You want your ads to show up on Google, right? This is the way to do it, and this tool researches the most effective keywords for your organisation, keeping track of how searches for specific keywords vary over a period of time.

It even gives you options of bid amounts for the keywords you want for your budget. Critically, when you’re optimised to execute your ad campaign, you can do it all in the keyword planner.

  1. Google Trends

Free to use, Google Trends tracks search volume for a specific term on Google over time, region and language. It finds trending search terms and queries based on your keywords, giving you inspiration for your advert. Trends helps you customise your ad for a specific country, maximising regional business potential.

  1. SpyFu

SpyFu lets you know the exact keywords your competition’s buying on Google, as well as the ad tests they’re running. Just by searching a domain, you’ll clock each keyword the business has purchased on Google Ads, every ad iteration they’ve had in the last 12 years, and each organic keyword for which they are ranked. Also, this tool monitors your SEO and paid rankings on Google, Bing and Yahoo.

  1. WordStream

A great ad management system that aids you in researching, measuring and optimising your ads’ performance. WordStream boasts advanced reporting features for data analysis, peak performance workflow tools for crafting perfect ads, and packs a punch with its alert function.

  1. io

Keywordtool’s stellar feature makes it stand out from the rest: its knack for tapping into Google, YouTube, the App Store, Instagram, Twitter, Amazon and Bing. This empowers you to best position your SEM strategy and segment your keyword research through those channels. What’s more, generates word and phrase variations of your base keyword, allowing you to create a catalogue of optional keywords to use in a sponsored ad.

The free version generates a maximum of 750 long-tail keywords and suggestions for each search item, by using Google Autocomplete to deliver the most applicable keywords for your campaign. Use the tool to explore Google search trends to ensure that your keywords remain trending and have staying power over the long term. 



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