Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is essential to maximizing your brand’s online visibility. Think about any successful company, and they’ve likely participated in this type of digital marketing.
Search engine marketing is one of the most powerful tools your brand can have access to online. It’s an incredibly cost-effective way to boost traffic to your site and improve your conversions.
In this post, we’ll walk you through the basics of search engine marketing, including the types of SEM tools available and what to look out for when you implement an SEM strategy for your brand.
What Is Search Engine Marketing?
Search engine marketing describes a range of tools you can use to drive traffic to your brand’s website by working with search engines.
SEM isn’t just about search engine optimization (SEO). While SEO is about improving the visibility of your website on search engine results pages, SEM is primarily about improving the visibility of online ads.
SEM accounts for common search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing, but it also involves other media platforms, including social media sites and external sites that enhance your business’s credibility. An SEM strategy has to take into account both the keywords and approach necessary to reach the right audiences, but also those used by other brands who rank highly in Google, Yahoo, and Bing results.+
If you want to improve brand visibility, SEM does the job. 51% of website traffic comes from organic searches. So, not having the right SEM strategy could result in a considerable loss to your business in unrealized traffic and sales.
What Forms of Search Engine Marketing Can I Choose From?
There’s a wide range of innovative SEM tools available to help strengthen your online brand. Here are just three examples:
1. Search Ads
When you create ads, they can appear at the top of search results if you implemented the proper keywords and met other criteria. For example, users who search for your specific brand, industry, or product type may be rewarded with one of your strategically created ads.
You can budget search ads on a per-click basis, meaning you’re only charged for search ads when a user clicks through to your website from the link in the ad.
2. Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) is all about trying to naturally improve the visibility of your website on search engines such as Google or Bing. When your landing page ranks higher in a search result, your website will receive more traffic, and your brand will gain more attention.
SEO analyzes the algorithms in search engines to maximize the chances of your site appearing in search results. This tactic allows you to position your brand with the right keywords on its website and improve customer traffic.
3. Authority Websites
Authority websites are websites such as wikis, online magazines, blogs, or journals that users and search engines consider to be trusted sites. You can integrate these websites into your brand marketing plan to help drive traffic to your company’s site.
For example, you could commission a review of your brand by an authoritative blogger, who will publish a blog that encourages readers to click through to your website. This strategy may strengthen the position of your website in search results. It can also promote your brand to new readers who might not otherwise search for your website. These readers will be more likely to trust your brand by virtue of its appearance on external sites.
Why Does My Brand Need Search Engine Marketing?
If you don’t participate in SEM, you’ll likely fall behind your competitors. US companies spent nearly $58 on search advertising to boost their brands’ visibility in 2020, so you can clearly see this method’s popularity in full swing.
Curious as to other benefits of search engine marketing? Check out the advantages of this digital marketing strategy below:
- Accuracy: SEM allows you to target the audiences you are most likely to convert. You can research keywords and calls to action to figure out what will attract potential customers most effectively. This way, you won’t have to waste hundreds or thousands of dollars in ad spend on lackluster strategies.
- Measurability: With SEM, you know exactly how many clicks and conversions your ad is driving. And, you can compare this data with other ads and keywords you’re running. As a result, you can track the return on your spending and budget your digital marketing campaign accordingly.
- Strategy Alignment: You might have a sound business strategy, including a high-quality product that correctly identifies customer needs. But by incorporating an SEM strategy alongside this, you ensure that your customer search intent is aligned with your business strategy.
How Can I Optimize My SEM Strategy?
SEM can be a seriously effective tool for your brand – but done wrong, it can be a waste of money. To reap the benefits of SEM, you need to have a clear plan for what kind of audience you want your ads to reach and the keywords you need to reach them. Keep these points in mind when you plan your brand marketing strategy:
- Practice split testing:Unless you know exactly which keywords to target and which landing page to send users, it’s worth experimenting with different combinations. Take your results and allocate portions of your budget accordingly until you settle on a mix that is most effective.
- Know your goal: An ad is only effective if it meets your business’s objectives, whether it’s to drive sales, increase site traffic, reach new audiences, or just grow brand visibility in general. Before you launch your ad and commit money to it, make sure you’re certain which of these objectives you want to prioritize.
- Understand your budget: SEM strategy is not just about targeting the right audiences with keywords. It’s about knowing which keywords are most cost-effective and which audiences drive the most conversions. Make sure your SEM strategy uses your budget most efficiently. You can begin by calculating your return on investment and choosing the ads which deliver the highest ROI.
- Ask what your landing pages are signaling: Wen users arrive on your site by clicking through an ad, what message are they receiving? Is your brand making a good impression? Make sure the landing page relates to the ad in a meaningful way. Add visual cues with the right images to solidify the delivery of the ad. You can also create messaging that builds trust and authority by adding external certification.
Is Search Engine Marketing Right for You?
If you own a company that wants to make money, the answer is yes! Search engine marketing should be an integral part of any brand’s digital marketing strategy. It helps create a strong online foundation for your brand. However, don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s as easy as conjuring a few keywords and putting them in an online ad.
To have an effective brand marketing campaign, you need to plan carefully around who you want to reach, what you want your ad to look like, and what keywords and search engine ads deliver the best return on your money.
Pay attention to the brand marketing strategy used by your competitors to see if you can emulate the SEM approach they take. But above all, take the time to experiment and research different keywords and the respective audience profiles they attract. The results of an effective brand marketing strategy will likely be an improved brand presence, more website traffic, and higher conversion rates.