SEM or Search Engine Marketing involves promoting websites on search engine results pages. This is a balance of cultivated organic search ranking work (SEO) alongside managed paid campaigns (PPC).
Paid Ads for SEM
Given that Google own near 75% of the global search marketing spend, we'll be looking here to begin with.
Google processes 1 billion searches a day. Each of those searches sees what is called a search engine results page (SERP).
Depending on the search, there may be between 0 and 7 ads on that page, along with 10 organic search results. The number of ads on the page typically show how competitive that particular search query is.
Your SEM Agency can help you to find the least competitive terms in your industry as they may yield the greatest return.
On the most competitive SERP, 4 ads show above the 10 organic search results and 3 below. This can continue for a number of pages.
"investing in stocks" for example, is a very competitive search query, with 7 ads on the front page and second page, 6 on the third page (3 above and 3 below organic results) and then 3 on the fourth page (below organic results only).
Over 4 pages that results in a total of 40 organic search results (4*10) and 23 ads (7+7+6+3).
This means that for every 2 organic search results you see, you'll see at least one ad (for competitive terms).
CLICK THROUGH RATE (CTR), CONVERSION RATES AND BUDGET
The SEM agencies working for the companies who advertise on Google SERPs will study their click through and conversion rates for different wording on their adverts.
A good SEM agency will also work with you to identify the search queries you should aim your advertising spend at. They should also advise you that it is worth keeping in mind your budget, and an upper limit for spend. It is very easy to spend money on search engine marketing.
You need to make sure you're getting a return!
BRANDED VS UNBRANDED SEARCH MARKETING
Typically SEM agencies will run tests to find out whether it is worthwhile paying for ads when someone is searching for your brand. You will have a high organic rank for branded search queries anyway, so the people who click your ads might have come to your website without you paying for their click.
ORGANIC VS PAID SEARCH MARKETING
Organic rankings are a surefire way to get consistent high quality traffic to the right pages on your website. However, organic SEO doesn't come free, nor does it come quickly.
Over the long-term organic search marketing work will result in a higher return on your investment when compared to the pay per click approach.
ORGANIC SEO AND PAY PER CLICK COMBINED
There are some benefits to having a budget large enough to combine both methods of search marketing.
PPC focuses the mind and forces you to optimise your content. The cost of your clicks and the number of conversions you see from your ads will change as you tweak your PPC landing pages.
Once you have optimised the content, you can expand upon it and share the link to that page with your audience via email and sites like reddit, facebook, instagram, linkedin and pinterest.
You can then whittle down your pay per click spend as your page climbs the organic rankings!
STEP UP YOUR SEARCH ENGINE MARKETING
If you're looking to engage with an SEM Agency to discuss how to take your digital marketing to the next level, do take advantage of our unprofitable habit of giving free advice.
We can charge on deliverables or by the hour.