SEM: What Is It?
SEM is short for Search Engine Marketing, which is the use of paid ads on search engines such as Google,Bing, and Yahoo in order to reach potential customers. It is also called search engine advertising, paid search advertising, or pay-per-click advertising (PPC).
When a potential customer searches for a service or product that you supply, these ads appear in prime spots on the SERP (search engine results page), though that spot may vary depending on the type of
device being used. Typically, they will be at the top or on the side of the search results, and they will carry an “Ad” designation.
How Does Search Engine Marketing Work?
With SEM, you pay to have your ad appear at the top of search engine results. When a search engine user searches for keywords or phrases you’ve selected, your ad may be displayed if it matches relevancy criteria and if it fits within your budget allocated to bidding on those keywords. You will not be charged for the simple display of your ad, but rather when the ad is clicked upon (pay-per-click).
The cost will vary. Each time someone clicks on your ad, it will cost you, with amounts dependent on your industry, geography, and competition. The amount will also fluctuate over the course of your ad campaign.
What Are the Benefits?
You might wonder if you couldn’t simply improve your site’s SEO to gain more visitors, rather than spending money to appear on SERPs. SEO is very helpful for your site’s performance, but takes time to show results—sometimes up to 6 months—and involves a lot of work to create high-quality content.With SEM/ PPC, you see the results immediately, by seeing your business on page one of a search.
The average user will not look past the first page of results when searching for something online. With so many competitors vying for very limited space, you may find it difficult to rank on page one, even with your best efforts. If you are a new business or are in the process of creating your online presence, SEM/ PPC advertising can get you where you need to be: right in front of your customer’s eyes.
Using SEM, you are putting your ads in front of those who are most likely to be interested in your product or service. Your ad requires you to choose a geographic location as well as specific searches to target.
Consequently, your ad is not appearing randomly to those who are casually browsing, but instead, it will be visible to those actively seeking what you offer.
Analytics and Tracking.
When someone reaches your website, pay-per-click ad services (such as through Google or Bing) enable you to collect data with each click. This includes information on the location of the visitor, the length of time they spent on your site, which pages they visited, and the device they were using (desktop, laptop,mobile).
This data will show you exactly what you are receiving in return for what you are paying and allow you to collect leads for the future. You will be more efficient with your advertising and in a better position to turn those clicks into revenue.
Given that SEM has specific features that allow you to target geographical locations, it is a great means of reaching local customers that are searching online. Local search is rising, especially with the advent of voice search, and SEM/ PPC is a great way to tap into the potential it offers.
SEM is a great way to boost your traffic by increasing your online exposure. SEO and quality content will get you through in the long run, but if you want some visibility and noticeable results now, look into SEM!
What is the average cost of SEM services?
In many cases, using an agency for SEM services is comparable in cost to hiring a full-time employee, but with a much greater return on investment.
This can vary from one SEM management agency to another. Some charge a flat fee. Some charge a percentage of the ad spend they are managing.
The important thing is to contact the agency that you are considering hiring to manage your SEM ads for you. They can help you figure out if they have an option that works best for your business needs and marketing budget.
They may also offer services as a SEO company and can help you figure out options for that as well.
By hiring a quality agency to take care of the search engine marketing piece for you, you can go back to doing what you do best: serving your clients and customers!