In an era where media and information is so easily accessible, the power of Search Engine Marketing (SEM) or paid search advertising is becoming more apparent. Companies and businesses that want to harness the power of the vast information network and stay relevant in the competitive online landscape should definitely consider SEM or search advertising.
What is Search Engine Marketing?
Search Engine Marketing, or SEM for short, is the process of using paid advertising on the internet to display a website on an SERP (Search Engine Results Page).
SEM ads appear at the top and bottom of the search results page and would have the word “Ad” indicated right next to the URL links to distinguish them from organic search results. These ads are only targeted at users who have searched for certain terms on the search engine or targeted keywords.
According to Business 2 Community, 75% of individuals say that paid ads made it easier for them to find what they were searching for on websites. In addition, businesses make $3 on average for each $1.60 spent on SEM.
Based on these numbers, it is simple to see why SEM is important if businesses want to increase their returns-on-investments (ROI).
But the question would be, how does SEM actually work? Let us dive into it and find out more.
Components of SEM
SEM is a multi-faceted approach that involves more than just simply throwing a bunch of ads at prospective customers and users. Here is the breakdown of those components.
Keywords form the foundation/backbone of SEM, as users search for specific keywords when looking for products or services online. Therefore, one of the ways to build a good SEM strategy would be to execute research on search keywords. Keyword Research can be split into the following steps:
First and foremost, when you create an SEM campaign, you would need to identify the targeted keywords. Finding keywords that are related to your business is essential, as they are the gateway to users seeing your ads.
For example, if you are a digital marketing agency, you would target keywords that are related to digital marketing, social media marketing, internet marketing, facebook ads or google ads, as these keywords are generally part of the services that you would offer.
However, simply targeting keywords that are too short like “digital marketing” would not be effective as the search term is too generic. Thus, by specifying long-tailed keywords such as “digital marketing services singapore”, it would help narrow the field and improve results.
Targeting field-specific keywords such as “social media marketing” or “search engine marketing” would also be useful, especially if your niche is not too broad.
Using tools such as Wordstream or Google Adword Planner is a viable option, as they allow you to analyse the competitiveness of keywords and how frequently users search for them online.
To further improve your SEM strategy, negative keywords should also be filtered out. For instance, someone searching for “ipad repair” would not be looking to buy a new iPad, so as a retailer, that is an example of a negative keyword.
Analysis of keywords involves comparing frequency of searches within a given time frame, Cost-per-click (CPC) and competitiveness, factors which are essential to successfully converting potential customers.
A higher frequency or volume of searches could be related to a high demand or elevated user interest, while competitiveness refers to how difficult it is to rank on SERPs. Evaluation of these factors would allow one to close in on the appropriate keywords that have potential to get clicks and conversions.