It’s fair to say that digital marketing isn’t always as simple as it should be.
There are countless channels out there that are difficult to understand, and phrases that you might not be able to identify. For instance, do you know the difference between search engine marketing and search engine optimization? How much have you learned about the recent algorithm changes?
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the confusing components of search engine marketing, then you’ve come to the right place. Here, we’re going to cover the basics of small business SEM, and what it should mean to you.
What Does Search Engine Marketing (SEO) Mean?
Let’s start with the basics – what is search engine marketing?
SEM or search engine marketing is the act of gaining visibility on the search engine through paid advertisements. The process of SEM can include using search engine optimization to get organic traffic, but it’s not necessarily the same as SEO.
Although both SEM and SEO involve using search engines to get attention to your website, SEM is more frequently used to describe the search engine strategies that today’s companies pay to use – like PPC.
What Happens in SEM?
Now that you know what search engine marketing is, it’s worth figuring out how it works. In the US, there are various search engines that offer SEM, including Bing, Yahoo, and the big dog: Google. Google AdWords is easily the most popular platform for paid search online, followed by Bing Ads.
If you’re interested in taking your SEM strategy even further, there are also other 2nd-tier platforms on the market that can give you access to pay-per-click advertising strategies or take a good training course like parallel profits. These technologies are difficult to define because their offerings can differ depending on where you choose to spend your money.
When you work with an SEM company, they’ll often help you to take advantage of both the bigger search engine advertising solutions with engines like Google and the 2nd tier platforms too. You could end up getting your ads placed on sites like the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times. While you wouldn’t be able to get onto these platforms by yourself, your SEM company will give you access to solutions you can’t get anywhere else.
How Will SEM Work for Your Business?
If you’re wondering how SEM works to get you the traffic and engagement that you need, then you’re not alone. The easiest way to answer that question is this: it all comes down to keywords. You choose keywords that your customers are looking for and bid to appear for them on the search engines of your choice. When you use these keywords in your campaigns correctly, you improve your chances of getting the attention you need from customers who are interested in your brand, product or service.
If you decide to outsource your SEM, then you will get a dedicated account manager who is responsible for helping you to choose the best keywords for your campaign. This account manager may also help you to make your campaigns more effective, by tracking your progress in certain search engines and giving you insights into what your customers are looking for online.
The paid ads that you buy as part of SEM are known as PPC or pay per click advertisements. The idea is that you pay the price every time someone clicks on the link that you’ve placed on Google or another search engine. The price you pay will depend on the competitiveness of the keyword that you’ve chosen. The key to success with SEM is often choosing a keyword that has a high volume of traffic, but a low level of competition.
It’s worth noting that the PPC model for advertising isn’t something that’s limited to search engine marketing. Plenty of other websites use this model too, particularly when it comes to advertising banner or visual content.
Remember to Have a Goal for your Campaigns
If you think that SEM might be the best way to start your next marketing campaign, make sure that you don’t launch your strategy without establishing a goal. A lot of people jump into SEM and then realize that they don’t have a clear idea of what success should look like to them when the time comes to track their results.
There are a lot of different things that you can achieve with SEM. Some people just want to improve traffic to their website, while others want to increase the number of sign-ups to their newsletter. When you set a clear goal at the beginning of your campaign, you make it easier to measure your success and determine your ROI – something you can learn in the parallel profits training.
Remember, set up goals on things like Google AdWords for every target you want to reach. This will help you to honestly keep a close eye on everything that’s happening in your marketing campaigns.
Know How to Target Your Keywords
Finally, remember that the key to success with most SEM strategies is understanding how to use your keywords – both positive and negative. Negative keywords are the terms that reduce your resources by appealing to people who aren’t looking for whatever it is you’re selling. For instance, if you’re a company that sells luxury shoes, the keyword “cheap shoes” might be a negative keyword.
To make sure that you’re targeting your keywords correctly, it’s a good idea to align the terms you choose with your goals as a company. Think about how your target audiences would realistically search for your business if they were looking for you online. On the other hand, if you have user personas, consider stepping into their shoes for a while and thinking about how you would search for your business on Google.
One of the great things about using Google AdWords is that you’ll be able to manage many campaigns at once using different keywords. Since every term has it’s own purpose; you’ll be able to measure your results more accurately.
Small Business and Online Advertising
Small business SEM will allow you to begin reaching your preferred audience faster, without having to wait for the organic traffic power of SEO. The best thing you can do is make sure that you understand what you’re getting into, and that you have the right team to help you make the most out of your investment cash!