Search Engine Marketing, abbreviated as SEM, is a catch-all term that refers to a slew of online marketing efforts geared towards increasing the visibility of a business and getting targeted traffic. These efforts comprise SEO, paid advertising, keyword research, and web analytics.
In paid advertising, advertisers bid on keywords that many users of Google, Bing, Yahoo services enter whenever they are looking for services or products.
By using the same keywords, the advertiser gets the coveted opportunity for his ads to appear next to the results of the search queries.
The ads, popularly known as pay-per-click ads, often come in various forms. While others are small and text-based, others are visual and permit potential customers to glean all the important information at once.
For example, by just looking at the ad, a consumer can tell how much the product or service will cost, and what reviewers say about it. To place the pay-per-click ads, the advertisers have to pay.
What is SEO?
On the other hand there is SEO. SEO is meant to drive organic traffic. Search Engine Optimization is often only concerned with the optimization of a site’s content so that it may rank higher up in the search engines results pages.
It is important since a large number of potential customers do not search beyond the first page in search results.
Therefore, optimizing your site and its content to rank high in the search engine results pages will obviously increase the exposure of your business and, consequently, attract potential customers to your site.
At the core of any search engine marketing effort is keyword research and keywords are undoubtedly the foundation of search engine marketing. That is because users enter keywords into search engines when they’re looking for a particular service or a particular product.
Before choosing which keywords to use in a search marketing campaign, it is important to perform a comprehensive keyword research.
This is so that you can identify keywords which are apt for your business and that potential customers are most likely to use when they are scouring the net for services and products.
Thankfully, if you are stuck on finding the right keywords for your niche, there are a number of tools online that can give you keywords suggestions based on what potential customers type into search engines when looking for particular products or services.
Besides helping you to find the appropriate keywords, keyword research can also help you to identify inappropriate keywords.
Inappropriate keywords, or negative keywords, are keywords that you should not use in your search engine marketing campaign for the simple reason that they are irrelevant and are unlikely to result in any conversions.
What is Web Analytics ?
An integral part to search engine marketing is web analytics. Web analytics refers to the studying of the impact that your site had on the users.
Successful e-commerce companies and website publishers often employ web analytics software to gauge the performance of a search engine marketing campaign.
For example, web analytics can help to determine how many people visited your site; how many of them were new or unique; how they found the site; what keywords they used; what amount of time they spent on the site; how long they stayed on a particular page; what links they might have clicked on; and at what time they left the site.
This information can be useful in your future search engine marketing campaigns.
As you can already deduce, search engine marketing is the in-thing in any modern online marketing mix. And business should take advantage of the method to increase their sales.
Not convinced? Here is why you should employ search engine marketing as a sales strategy in your business:
1.Direct Response Marketing
Search engine marketing, like the more traditional sales channels such as mail order or informercials, prods the audience to take an immediate action.
It does not matter what the objective of the search engine marketing campaign is: be it lead generation or traffic generation- whatever it is, it clearly requires people to perform an action.
Search engine marketing gives you and your business the opportunity to directly target people based on what they search online and, thus, place your name and brand right in front of them, in the process increasing your site’s exposure, generating awareness, and drawing web traffic to your site. Since this is qualified traffic, it is most likely to convert.
2. Search Intent
Search engine marketing gives your business the opportunity to target people based on their search intent. That is because what people search for can sometimes give you an accurate clue on how close they are to completing their goal.
Therefore, it is important to understand how people search so that you can adjust your messaging, landing pages, and calls to action accordingly.
3. Search Engine Marketing Boosts your Online Visibility
There are so many sites and businesses online vying for the same eyeballs. The internet is one clustered place: a jammed market where every Tom, Dick and Harry is striving to sell their product or service.
Therefore, it is cardinally important for potential customers to be able to find your website. And that is where search engine marketing- both search engine optimization and paid advertising- come in handy.
They will undoubtedly boost your site’s online visibility so that customers can easily find it as it will be high up in search engine results pages. But most importantly, search engine marketing will draw qualified traffic.
Through search engine marketing, your site will be visible on the search engine results pages for a certain set of keywords which are meaningful and relevant to your business.
The fact is that if your business does not rank well on the search engines when potential customers search using certain keywords, then you lose hordes of customers to your business competitors.
Most likely one or more of your competitors are appearing high up on SERP and are drawing customers away from you.
You can also bet that the huge fraction of searches that do not apply to your business, even if they were to come to your site, they will not translate into sales.
Therefore it means that for you to find the right traffic, you must target them through search marketing. Search marketing will draw to your business people who are interested in what you have to offer.
Besides, there are many other targeting settings which you can rely on to maximize the Search Engine Marketing Performance.
For example, there is geo-targeting, device-targeting, and ad scheduling. In geo-targeting, the search engine marketing campaign targets people who are in the area where the business ordinarily operates.
Device targeting is designed for those who would want to target people who use a certain device, in case such precision is important. For example, you may target tablet users, desktop users, or smartphone users.
Ad scheduling is meant to target people at particular times of week or days of the week. There are so many other ways you can target the right people through search engine marketing.
It is noteworthy that most of these targeting settings aren’t available through other ad channels, thus, giving an edge to paid search.
It is important for any business to understand search engine marketing so as to take advantage of it to increase sales. Even if your business is not online-based, you need to have a presence online.
Why? It has been proven that nowadays, more than three-quarters of potential customers go online first to scour for reviews about a particular business before they make a purchase or use a service.