What is SEM? Search Marketing Explained.

April 26, 2018

Whether you’ve just launched your website or have had it since the world wide web became ‘a thing’ Google can at times can feel like a very crowded place no matter how old or new your website is. Getting your business to rank on the all-important first page can feel like a mystery your not sure how to solve.

I’ve often had clients launch their website and then check google and can’t find it at all! What’s going on they ask? We’ll firstly, ranking on google does take time. But ranking organically for search terms that are competitive takes time and also technique. Often to the uninitiated this can feel overwhelming- where do you even begin! If your looking for more information on SEO make sure to check this article out.

If your lacking time or in a competitive industry and want to get in front of your customers in a bold way SEM (or search engine marketing, sometimes called Pay per Click advertising) can come in handy.

What is SEM?

Basically Search Engine Marketing allows businesses to pay to show their ads in premium positions. They are able to target potential customers who are using related search queries on search engine providers (such as Google, Yahoo and Bing).

How can i spot an ad?

An ad will be placed at the top, side or bottom of a page and will have a green ‘ad’ symbol next to it (or if you’re on Bing a bold grey).

How does Google know who to show my ads too?

When setting up ad campaigns Google will ask you (or whoever is managing your Adwords account) to select words that users are most likely to use when searching for products or services related to your business. For examples if you sell knitted beanies you might select terms such as beanies, knitted beanies, winter hats etc. You can be narrow and you can also be broad depending on your budget, how competitive your market is and your understanding of how your audience finds you.

When a user jumps on Google and types knitted beanies into the search bar, Google will recognise the match and show them your ad (it will take into account a number of factors such as your budget, the quality of your website and the quality of your ad – but we won’t get into that here).

How effective is SEM advertising? 

Because search engine marketing puts you directly in front of users who are actively searching for what you have to offer, it can be a  great investment for your business. You can be quite targeted with your ads and make sure you only pay when clicks on your ad (or sees it or completes an activity on your site – depending on your goals).

Should I combine SEM with other digital advertising activities?

You don’t have to, never stretch yourself to pay for something you can’t afford. However if you can afford to combine SEM with SEO, social advertising and/or display advertising you will of course see better results.

Utilising search engine marketing can get your business in front of potential customers quickly (and can be quite cost effective if done correctly). If you want to appear at the very top of your potential customers searches then SEM might be a great fit for your business.

Have you tried SEM? or are interested to hear from those who have? Comment below and let me know your results!