Looking to improve your website or content traffic but don’t have a huge budget for it? It may be worth considering implementing a search engine marketing (SEM) strategy.
SEM has become an essential element for the modern marketer and is considered one of the most effective ways to grow a business.
In this article, we’ll discuss the following:
Search engine marketing is the process of using various techniques to improve a website’s visibility and organic search results on Google and other global search engines. SEM can involve optimizing a website for specific keywords, creating paid search advertising campaigns, and developing link-building and social media strategies.
One of the most significant benefits of SEM is that its primary purpose is to put your products or services in front of the right people at the right time. And when’s the right time? Well, when they are actively searching for your products or services online.
A proper SEM strategy will help you gain prime real estate on top of search engine results pages (SERPs), leading to more clicks and sales.
Many people use search engine optimization (SEO) and SEM interchangeably; however, they have some core differences.
SEO is a long-term, organic strategy to improve a website’s visibility in SERPs. This can be done through optimizing website content, improving user experience, and building authority.
On the other hand, SEM is a paid strategy that helps improve a website’s visibility in SERPs immediately. The most common SEM tactic is pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, where businesses create ad campaigns and bid on specific keywords. When a searcher clicks on the ad, they are directed to the advertiser’s website.
For example, in this image for the search terms “buy custom eyeglasses,” the first four results are all ads. These are the results of an SEM strategy by those particular brands.
If you scroll down, you’ll start to see the next image, which shows content that doesn’t have “Ad” next to it. These are examples of SEO marketing.
Many businesses should practice both digital marketing strategies; however, SEM strategies are built to gain traction quickly and boost your overall SEO strategy.
To get started in SEM, a business needs to develop a Google Ads account and enter into an ad auction. To do this, you’ll need to identify a group of keywords that you want to bid on and the amount of money you’re willing to spend per click on those keywords.
As users put those words into their search engine bars, Google will put your bid up against others who bid on the same keywords.
But it’s not as simple as the highest bidder getting the top spot. Instead, there are two factors that Google will consider:
- Your max bid
- Your ad’s quality score
Your ad’s quality score is determined by the keywords you chose, the quality of your ad creative, and the pages the ad takes the user to.
Let’s talk about each of these separately in the next section.
Creating a good SEM strategy comes down to understanding how paid search ads work. You need to be able to manage the different variables that can affect performance like keywords, budget, and copy.
Implement Relevant Keywords
One might think, “Hey, why don’t I just put all the keywords possible into my auction so that I can rank for everything?” In reality, this is unproductive and can do more harm than good.
When practicing a targeted SEM strategy, you must use keywords that pertain to your product or services. Google penalizes you for trying to “hack” their system by using many random keywords. The days of putting hundreds of keywords on your site to rank your content higher than everyone else’s are over, so your keywords need to stay relevant.
You want to build out a well-thought-out keyword list for your SEM campaign because of the cost of those keywords. High-demand keywords are more expensive than low-demand ones; therefore, you should find and use words potential buyers might be using.
For example, if you’re selling office chairs, your keywords could be:
- Home office equipment
- Office chairs
- Best office chairs
- Most comfortable office chairs
- Chairs for a small office
It’s easy to see how big your keyword list can get in a short amount of time. And, it’s easy to see how some keywords will be more or less relevant to others. When deciding on your keywords, it’s essential to use terminology a potential customer may type into the search engine bar.
Take Advantage of Popular Keyword Tools
Several keyword and SEM tools are available, each with different benefits and prices. Keyword-finding tools are essential for helping you choose the right keywords for your SEM ads. Here are some popular keyword tools for you to consider:
HubSpot’s Ad Tracking Software
You’re paying for ads because you want to make money. HubSpot Ads helps you see how ads are affecting customers. You can see which ads work and which ones don’t. You can also see how ads are related to the other parts of your marketing.
Semrush is an excellent tool for finding out what keywords you can rank for. You can also use it to track how your website is doing, how much traffic you get, and more. For example, you can use Semrush to determine where your competitors are marketing their products and services. You can also look at how present they are in different parts of the country to decide how much money you want to put into specific keywords.
Semrush can help you find your main paid search competitors. It can also show you the keywords they are bidding on and the ads they are using. This information is essential when creating your own paid search strategy to outrank other businesses on the search engine results pages.
Google Trends allows you to track how often people are searching for a particular keyword. You can use this information to determine if people are still interested in that keyword. If the interest goes down, you don’t want to spend money on ads for that keyword.
It’s also a powerful tool to know if people are interested in your product or service in a particular area. This way, you can focus your paid advertising in that area and save money in the long run.
One of the best things about Keyword Tool is that it helps you research keywords through various channels like Google, Bing, YouTube, Amazon, Instagram, Twitter, and the App Store. This way, you can better target your efforts. The tool also gives you variations of words and phrases related to your base keyword.
Keyword Tool is a free online resource that helps you find long-tail keywords for your website. You can enter a keyword, and the tool will provide you with a list of related keywords and how popular those keywords are on Google. This can help you choose the right keywords for your website and ensure they are viable long-term.
Do you want to know what keywords your competitors are buying on Google? What ads are they testing? With SpyFu, you can see all that information. You can see which keywords they have bought on Google Ads, what organic keywords they have ranked for, and all of their ad variations from the last 12 years. Plus, you can monitor your SEO rankings across multiple search engines.
Practice Ad Creative
SEM ads include four parts:
- Display URL
- Description 1
- Description 2
So, when your ad is served up, it’s vital that the copy used to develop it is creative and makes sense to the searcher and the search engine.
Make and Use Landing Pages
Landing pages are essential for catching the eye of potential buyers and keeping their attention on your brand. With a landing page, users should understand what you want them to do with the information provided. Additionally, it should relate to what they’re looking for. The ultimate goal of a landing page should be to gather their contact information so your sales reps can reach out and explore how your business can provide relief to their pain points.
As you build and publish your ad and landing page, it must work fast and properly without error. If your landing page is slow to load for users, your SEM efforts go to waste because there will likely be a high bounce rate.
Getting started with an SEM strategy is simple but takes time and planning to do well. However, the best thing about SEM is that once the work is done, you can see right away whether or not it’s effective for you and your business. Budgets can be (and should be) adjusted, and new keywords or creative concepts can be developed.
If you’re unsure how to start an SEM strategy, the digital marketing experts at Abstrakt Marketing Group are here to help. We provide clients with proven SEM solutions that work together and help you grow your business. When you’re ready to maximize business growth through an advanced SEM strategy, contact the experts at Abstrakt!