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Search Engine Marketing

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Do you really need Search Engine Marketing? 

Consider this: 

Your business finally decides to use a website so you can get noticed online by your target market. But even if it’s up, spreading the word about your brand and getting the reach that you want doesn’t happen overnight. The good news is that you can leverage Search Engine Marketing (SEM), which is a faster way to increase brand awareness. In this article, we’ll delve into what SEM is, how to use it, and some tips to find the best SEM company. 

What is SEM?

How a Business benefits from SEM?

How Search Engine Marketing Works

What To Expect When Working With an SEM provider 

SEM Glossary

To further your knowledge and understanding of this topic, we’ve gathered a list of important search engine marketing terms. 

Ad – is the promotion of a brand, product, or service to attract an audience’s interest that eventually leads to engagement and sales. 

Ad Group – is part of a marketing campaign that has one or more ads sharing similar targets. 

Ad Platform – is a tool for managing and controlling advertising campaigns that can also monetize online traffic. 

Ad Viewability – is a measure of whether or not an ad can be seen by someone who searches online. 

Campaign – in marketing, is an organised series of steps that promotes and sells a product or service. 

Click – is a metric that counts the number of times users have clicked on an ad. 

CLV (Customer Lifetime Value) – is a prediction of the value a business’s relationship with a customer can bring to your business.

Conversion – is when a user completes a desired action on your ad or website.

Conversion Rate – is the percentage of users who take the desired action (e.g. buying a product, clicking a link etc.).

Cost Per Action (CPA) – also known as cost per acquisition, is the cost divided by the actions being measured. This shows the average amount you spent to acquire a conversion from your ad.

CTR (Click-Through Rate) – is the number of clicks that your ad receives divided by the number of times your ad is shown. This tells you what works when trying to reach your target audience. 

Customer Engagement – is the interaction that existing customers do online.

Google Ads – is an advertising system Google developed that helps businesses reach their online target markets through its search engine platforms and partner sites.

Impressions is when a user sees an advertisement.

Impression share – shows you how your ads performed compared to the performance of other ads. 

Intent-based marketing – is the practice of using the audience or potential customers’ intent to make a purchase decision based on their actions. 

Keyword – is a word or group of words an online user uses to search in a search engine. 

Keyword cost – also known as Cost-per-click (CPC),  is the amount of money an advertiser pays the search engine every time someone clicks on their ads.  

Keyword intent – is what represents the user’s purpose for searching something. It can be for commercial, transactional, informational, or navigational purposes. 

Keyword volume – is the amount of volume (or number) of searches for a keyword in a given time period. 

KPI (Key Performance Indicator) – also known as Metric, is a measurable item of performance over time for a specific objective. 

Organic marketing – is marketing focused on content that provides education, entertainment, better search results, and building customer loyalty. The cost of this marketing is in the creation of content and optimisation of websites. 

Paid marketing – is where businesses pay a publisher (whether it’s a search engine or website) each time someone clicks or views their ads in a search result. 

PPC (Pay-per-click) – is where an advertiser pays a publisher (can be a search engine, social network, or website) every time an advertisement link is clicked. 

Quality Score – is a diagnostic tool meant to give you a sense of how well your ad quality compares to other advertisers. 

Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) – is the amount of revenue that is earned for every monetary cost (usually in dollars) spent on a campaign.

Return On Investment (ROI) – is the money value of the investment versus the cost. This can be calculated by subtracting the cost from the final gross profit. 

Search Engine – is a software program that helps people find information online using keywords or phrases. Among the popular examples are Google, Bing and Yahoo. 

SEM (Search Engine Marketing) – is a combination of organic and paid efforts to get more traffic visibility for websites in SERPs.

SEM Campaign – is the entire advertising strategy that uses organic and paid efforts. 

SEM Positioning – is the paid method used to quickly gain search engine positioning to attract new visitors and generate quality traffic to a website. 

SEM Provider – is a third-party business that provides services related to Search Engine Marketing. 

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) – is the process used to optimise a website’s content and technical setup so it can easily be found in search engines. 

SERP (Search Engine Results Page) – is the list of results that search engines provide in response to a specific keyword or phrase which includes organic and paid results. 

Traffic – are the number of visitors to your website.

Understanding Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

SEM is a digital marketing strategy that helps businesses and their products or services become more visible on search engine results pages. 

This marketing approach helps your business gradually become the first thing that comes to your target market’s mind that will eventually lead to leads, sales, and retention of loyal customers. 

Here’s a more detailed discussion of the differences and similarities between SEM and SEO. 

An Overview of SEM and SEO 

SEO and SEM might seem to have huge differences, but they are interconnected and help businesses to appear at the top of a SERP. 

SEM helps a website gain traffic and higher visibility on search engines using both paid and organic search. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising is a  part of its arsenal; it’s a strategy that allows companies to appear above the SERPs by paying a fee when the ad is clicked.  

A good example of this is Google’s version of PPC called Google Ads.  Marketers target a specific keyword on Google and make bids on the keyword. Bids made are “maximum bids” – or the maximum the business is willing to pay for an ad. 

If Google determines that the PPC is equal to your bid, then you have ad placement. Otherwise, if it is lower than what Google determines, then you don’t have ad placement. 

Google has the resources to house massive amounts of data. Also, using Google Ads, you have the advantage of Google helping you improve your ads over time. 

SEO, on the other hand, helps in getting a website to rank high on SERPs (especially Google) through organic search. It’s a long-term strategy that involves optimising the website and content to drive organic site traffic.

In the end, SEO became an important subset of SEM. 

Check out the table below for a quick summary of SEM and SEO.

SEO, SEM, similarities and differences, search, arrow, extension

How Your Business Benefits from SEM

Search engine marketing helps businesses reach out to their specific audiences based on their search intentions. It provides several benefits, including: 

1. Captures Audience Attention

People already have a good idea of what they’re searching for when they type keywords in a search engine. 

This means that you’re sharing the content and ads you created to a highly engaged audience who are actively looking for what you have to offer – all this at a lower cost and without imposing on them.

2. Increasing Brand Awareness

Brand awareness keeps you a top choice for your audience. The more people know about your business and speak about your product or service, the higher chances of increasing sales and revenue. 

Over time, you’ll see that the keywords used by your prospects are becoming more and more related to your brand and business. SEM brings this about by bringing you closer to the top searches. 

3. Easier and Faster to Implement 

Setting up SEM campaigns is relatively easier and quicker than SEO campaigns. There might be some time before the full impact comes to fruition. But you have the power and flexibility to adapt in a span of a few hours through easy-to-use platforms. 

You can change parameters, like budget and performance goals or metrics, as you go. Also, you will be able to tailor your website content, keywords, and spending to match the behaviour of your target audience.

4. Measurable

Business thrives on efficiency. The best way to do that is to be able to optimise the efforts and resources you have at your disposal. This is where SEM excels. You can precisely track and analyse every step of the way.

Of course, there are specific benefits that businesses can take advantage of when they use SEM including the following:

  • Reach your audience quickly 

  • Create location-specific search ads that target the right audience using optimised ads 

  • Increase more website visitors through ad viewability 

  • Save costs through pay-per-action activity 

How Search Engine Marketing Works

SEM is created on the cycle of planning, execution, review, and optimisation.

SEM agencies and practitioners go through a series of steps, including planning the right strategies, using the right keywords and tools, reviewing the results, and optimising the website and content to ensure brands stay on top of search results.  

Here’s a step-by-step guide to creating an SEM campaign:  

Key SEM Metrics You Should Track

Like search engine optimisation, search engine marketing requires consistent monitoring and tracking. It relies on essential KPIs that give you the most insight into your campaigns.

What is an SEM Agency or Company

SEM agencies are experts in attracting consumers through relevant paid campaigns. They help brands achieve their goals–be they ignite visibility, bolster awareness, generate leads, or increase sales. 

But here’s the thing, not all SEM agencies are built the same. They can either be full-service agencies or only provide partial service to clients. 

Full-service agencies give the most comprehensive support. This could include SEO, SEM, social media, content marketing, and a host of other activities that promote your online presence. 

They usually provide a service package or let clients choose the services they want, which consultation services are one.

Aside from that, they have a dedicated team of SEO and SEM specialists, content marketers, copywriters, visual designers, and web developers to provide the most rounded help possible. 

Partial Service SEM agencies or providers, on the other hand, offer a limited amount of help. 

More often than not, they provide singular services and consultations. Also, they have a small group in their team or even only one person doing the job. 

Whatever your choice is, you have to know what goals you have when it comes to your SEM needs. We would recommend a full-service SEM agency for that. 

What to Expect from an SEM Company

Can you do search engine marketing by yourself? The short answer is yes. 

While you can learn how SEM works, you must realise that it costs you time, effort, and money that you can instead spend on more important matters.

Here are three reasons to hire an SEM agency:

1. Focus More on Your Business 

Your primary goal as a business owner or leader is to optimise your business so that it produces more profit and becomes more efficient. 

Outsourcing the complicated task of SEM and digital marketing optimisation can give you the freedom to focus more on other business-related activities like product creation, customer fulfilment, finances, and logistics. 

2. Save Time and Resources

As mentioned, anyone can learn how to do SEM and all related activities. The challenge, however, is that you will learn everything from scratch. 

When you hire an SEM agency, you won’t have to worry about spending days or weeks learning the entire process and wasting your money on ads that don’t deliver results. 

3. Grow Your Profits 

Every business is looking out for more profit. The Internet has made it possible for virtually anyone to harness it for that. 

With an SEM agency at the helm, you don’t only strengthen your online presence, but also can get more of the following: 

 a. Leads. When the traffic that visits your website becomes part of an email list, they become leads that you can potentially sell to.

 b. Sales. When the people in your email list finally buy your product or service for the first time, they become a sale. 

 c. Retentions. Are the customers who repeatedly buy from your business.

Checklist for Choosing the Right SEM Agency

It’s not enough to search for an SEM agency to hire. You should be able to find one that fits your needs and budget. 

Here are five considerations when choosing an SEM company:

1. Knowledge

Check whether they’re competent enough to help boost your business’  online presence.

This means they should possess extensive knowledge and skills to help you launch performance-driven search engine marketing campaigns. 

They also have access to reliable tools that they use for their SEM and digital marketing efforts. Here are some of what they use:

Questions to answer before hiring the prospective SEM agency: 

  • Are they updated with the latest developments in their field?

  • Do they have continuous training related to this field?

2. Team  

The best thing about hiring an SEM agency is that they can help you align your SEM efforts with other digital marketing disciplines, such as SEO, content marketing and more.

We recommend partnering with a full-service digital marketing agency with varied specialisations that can help in your unique business marketing situation.

You must make sure that they have the manpower and expertise to handle all your needs. This means that you need individuals within their teams who are experts in: 

  • SEO

  • SEM 

  • Social Media 

  • Content Marketing

  • Copywriting

  • Web Development and Maintenance 

Question to answer before hiring the prospective SEM agency: 

  • Does the agency house a team of proven experts or specialists?   

3. Performance and Results 

Make sure that the SEM agency you hire will help you reach the goals you want. One of the best ways to validate that is through performance and results that they have done on previous clientele. 

Questions to answer before hiring the prospective SEM agency: 

  • Do they have relevant reviews and testimonials on the work they produced or case studies showcasing their work? 

4. Pricing 

Working with an SEM agency means you have to stay within a specific marketing budget. This means that you have to consider if you’re hiring someone worth the financial resources you shell out. 

Questions to answer before hiring the prospective SEM agency: 

  • Does this fit the budget of my business? 

  • Does the cost of hiring give me a good potential profit?

5. Customer Service 

Performance and results are important, however, your working relationship with your prospective SEM agency is also essential. 

Questions to answer before hiring the prospective SEM agency: 

  • How do they treat their clients and customers?  

Key Takeaways

No doubt you want your business to get a good foothold online through your website. If that’s the case, you should harness the power of SEM. 

Hiring an SEM company helps you improve your site’s visibility and search rankings. This leads to increased engagement that will turn into more leads and profit.  

As a business owner, you must understand some concepts of SEM so you can choose the right SEM agency to partner with. 

This is where 2Stallions can help you. As a full-service digital marketing and SEM agency, we offer a complete suite of services that will take your SEM or other digital marketing endeavours to greater heights.
Get to know more about our award-winning team and services here.

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