What Is Search Engine Marketing?
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a strategy used to increase a websites visibility in the search engine results page (SERP). Search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing are used billions of times a day by people looking for information, entertainment, products to purchase, etc. Since Google continues to be the most used search engine this article will focus on Google as the main search engine.
There are two basic ways to make your website appear higher in the SERP. One way is by Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and the other is through Search Engine Marketing (SEM).
SEO focuses on improving a website to increase ranking in the results page. This can be done by placing certain keywords throughout the website, getting links to your site from other websites (link building), and, basically, having relevant content for the given keyword search. SEM on the other hand is basically paying to show up higher on the SERP for keywords you are targeting. SEM is also known as pay-per-click (PPC) or paid search ads.
Currently, if you were to do a search for “engagement rings” on Google.com you’ll likely see the first few results have a box with the word “Ad” next to the listing. This indicates that someone is paying to have their website listing show up higher in the results. The first listing without the word “Ad” is the first organic result. This page earned that position without paying for the placement.
SEO vs SEM, which is better?
While both strategies work and several sites rely on both paid and organic traffic to run their business, they are very different and don’t have to work independent of each other. Trying to show up for the top organic position on a SERP is not easy and can take several months to see results. With SEM you can have your website show up on the top of a SERP within a matter of minutes.
SEO is free, while SEM can cost a lot of money and can be risky if not done correctly. With most SEM campaigns the advertiser is paying per click on the listing. These clicks can range in anywhere from a few cents to up to $50-60 per click depending on the keyword. Google search ad prices are based on an auction format with advertisers trying to outbid each other for the higher spots on the SERP. A keyword such as “engagement rings” can cost $1-9 dollars per click depending on the location, competition, how well the ad resonates with the searcher, and several other factors. If not done right, SEM can get expensive with just a few clicks and no results.
SEM Gives You Control
The first paid results on a webpage are considered ads and advertisers can change the text on these ads, change the link that the ad goes to, and test several different ads to see which is most effective. The organic listings on the page are a lot harder to change and have less flexibility.
With SEM you can also establish a budget for your advertisement campaigns and experiment with different offers to see which brings in the most revenue. This is very difficult to do with SEO. You can also become very granular with your SEM campaigns and limit them to a certain location or demographic. This action allows you to save money by showing your ads to the right people.
Doing SEM The Right Way
As you can see, SEO and SEM are very different and involve a deep understanding of the searcher and how you can meet their needs. This starts with knowing what they’re searching for and how you can serve them.
Here is a basic overview of how a SEM campaigns are set up using the example of a sales campaign for an Amethyst collection.
You’ll want to target keywords related to the products you’re offering such as “amethyst necklace,” “amethyst bracelets,” etc. Keep in mind that the more general the term is, the more competition for that term, and the price is driven up by demand.
The next step is to create an ad that will resonate with people interested in your collection. You’ll want to understand their needs and how your products serve them. Make sure your ad talks about your amethyst collection. This is an opportunity to attract the right people and deter the wrong people from clicking on the ad. After all, you don’t want to pay for a click from someone unqualified or uninterested in what you’re offering. Don’t be afraid to test several different angles to the results you’re looking for.
Your prospect and has clicked on you ad, and you will be charged for that click regardless of what happens next. This is when you have to continue the connections that you ad sparked.
Your ad doesn’t necessarily have to go to your main website. In fact, if your main website does not have any amethyst jewelry visible on the homepage then people will think they made a mistake because they aren’t seeing what they were expecting from the ad. The right thing to do is to have a dedicated page for your amethyst collection. This is an opportunity to add visuals and really tell your prospect why they should buy from the collection.
If you have a great offer that you included in your ad then make sure the offer is on your landing page. Also, be clear about the next action. Do you want them to fill a form and schedule an appointment for a private showing? Or perhaps you want them to call in? Maybe they can buy directly from the site. Make sure it’s very clear how your prospect can take the next step.
Like all marketing, it’s important to experiment and test different parts of the campaign to see if you can improve results. This is the beauty of SEM. You can become very creative with what you want to offer. If a campaign doesn’t work the you can easily pull the plug and cancel it rather than invest more time and money. At this same time, if you run a campaign and find it would you can increase your budget and try to scale up those results.
SEM allows anyone to purchase a higher spot in the SERP. This means a small local jewelry store can “pay to play” with other big competitors. Decades ago this was a lot more difficult. You needed a lot of money for advertisement in radio, tv, newspaper, etc. Smaller stores couldn’t afford to compete. SEM has changed things.
Want to get in on SEM but don't know where to start? We have experience helping several jewelry stores get great results with SEM and we can help you to.
Contact us today to get started. 800-373-4373