Detailed Guide for Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

The marketing world changed more than it ever changed in the past with the presence of Search Engine Marketing or SEM. If we were asked to name a successful company or a business that does not use SEM as a marketing technique, we would have serious difficulties while looking for an answer.

If you are a business owner and need to develop a strategic marketing plan, you should be aware of the presence of search engine marketing and how it can help you. And you guessed right, today we are here to share with you all the little secrets of search engine marketing!

Do you think that simply being present on the online platforms is the maximum you can do for your business’ success? If so, you are so wrong. Being present in online platforms is one thing, but using this opportunity to the maximum is what will make your business stand out from others. Without further ado, let’s dive into the secrets of search engine marketing!

What is Search Engine Marketing?

First things first: We need to understand what is search engine marketing before we start to talk about more detailed stuff.

Besides being one of the most effective methods to boost your business and increase visibility, search engine marketing is many things. As a term, search engine marketing refers to the form of marketing that focuses on having higher ranks on search engines through paid advertisements. You can imagine search engine marketing like this:

You have a paid advertisement on a search engine. But so does other people. You need to step up from others to make your paid advertisement more visible through search engine marketing. A successful search engine marketing results in higher rankings on search engine results when specific keywords were looked at in the search engine.

Additionally, search engine marketing does not have to be through paid advertising, even though this is the case most of the time. Search engine optimization itself is a method for search engine marketing since the aim can be the same as search engine marketing.

Why does search engine marketing matter?

Now that you know what search engine marketing is, it’s time to see why search engine marketing is important. The online presence of your business is not always will be beneficial for you if you do not use the maximum out of it. Whether if your goal is to increase visibility or gain new customers for your business, SEM will be an extremely important marketing tool. Search engine marketing is necessary and important for any given business’ success because it is more powerful than you think. If you cannot seem to understand why search engine marketing matters this much, let’s look at the reasons why it is extremely important:

  • Search engine marketing allows you to find customers who are looking for the exact products or services you offer.
  • SEM allows you to create brand awareness.
  • You will only pay for the actual interactions with your ad through SEM.
  • SEM helps you to increase organic traffic on your website.
  • You will be targeting the right audience without a doubt.

Ad auctions

Before getting into our guide, it is crucial to know what ad auctions are.

To make things clearer, we will be talking about the ad auctions in Google Ads.

Once you decide on starting an SEM journey, you will be required to participate in an ad auction. Every single ad that is present on Google goes through an ad auction before it appears on SERPs. First, people decide on the keywords they want to bid on and decide how much they can pay for each click.

There are many contributors when it comes to Google to choose ads to rank higher, which will be discussed in detail. However, you should keep in mind that ad auctions are ranked for two main domains: the quality score of your ad and your maximum bid. A quality score is assigned to your ad after a calculation that determines how good your advertising, keywords, and landing pages are.

Search Engine Marketing Guide

Now that you are familiar with the basics of search engine marketing in terms of what it is and why it is useful, it is time to move on with the actual guide. You should keep in mind that there are many contributors when it comes to search engine marketing, and each of those contributors has its own value regarding the nature of your business.

However, knowing all the details of search engine marketing is always a bonus. Once you are familiar with all the tips, tricks, and knowledge about SEM, you will be able to apply that knowledge to your SEM plan in your business’ style. The guide might seem a little bit complicated at the beginning, but it really is not; you only need to gain familiarity with the ideas and methods. Now, it’s time to get to know search engine marketing even better.

Number One: It All Starts on the Website

The first rule of having a successful SEM method is to start with the website.

It might seem like SEM is all about optimizing your website in a way that would help you to rank higher on your advertisements, but there is so much more than that. Believe it or not, the search engine itself will be the only determinant for your advertisement ranking higher or lower. For a successful SEM, a successfully designed website is a must.

Reminder: At this point, SEM might seem like a bit of bit too similar to SEO. They are indeed similar, but not the same thing, not at all. SEM refers to the increasing SERPs in search engine advertisements, whereas SEO refers to the process of optimizing a website to increase SERPs without advertisements. In other words, SEO is used to increase the traffic “at the top of the tunnel,” and SEM aims to increase traffic “at the bottom of the tunnel.”

With or without an advertisement, Google will not like poorly designed websites. A good website that aims to have a successful SEM needs to have the following:

  • Short loading duration
  • Good design
  • Easy navigation
  • A search facility
  • Internal linking
  • Well-prepared user interface
  • Site maps (both for users and search engines)
  • Plausible URLs
  • A useful 404 page

Number Two: Keywords

The use of keywords is essential for successful SEM.

It is fair even to say that keywords are the main milestones of search engine marketing. At the end of the day, people will be searching for keywords to find what they have been looking for. For example, a person looking for footwear might end up looking for “summer shoes, comfortable shoes, women shoes…” and so on. The list goes by the relative keywords regarding the subject.

This means only one thing: you need to be careful about the keywords you might want to use in your advertisements. You would not want to miss people who need the exact product or service you offer just because you missed some keywords that they look for.

There are different websites that can help you to choose the right keywords with reference to Google’s statistics. Before bidding for your auction, you should take a look at those websites to see what keywords you should use in addition to those you need to avoid. For example, if you are selling shoes, you might want to avoid “how to paint a shoe” since they most probably do not aim to purchase a pair of shoes.

In a more technical sense, this process is referred to as “search intent.” Search intent is used to describe the likelihood that a keyword will end up purchasing due to searching them in Google. It is important to know which keywords are successful in terms of predicting purchase and some are not. The following are the most popular keywords that aim search intent:

  • Buy
  • Discount or discounts
  • Deal or deals
  • Coupon or coupons
  • Free shipping

Keyword Intent

Another important aspect of keywords in SEM is keyword intent. Different from “search intent,” keyword intent is about when you are choosing your pay-per-click advertisement. In other words, on pay-per-click ads, you as a marketer will be required to choose keywords that you want to show up higher when someone searches for them. For example, if you have a shoe store, you can bid on keywords such as “buy shoes,” and “buy shoes” will be your keyword intent.

It would be better to choose a small number of keywords if you have a limited budget.

You can bid on more keywords if you have a big budget, but keep in mind that more budget does not mean more successful SEM.

Keyword Volume and Competition

We mentioned the significance of “search intent.” In addition to search intent, keyword volume and competition play a crucial role in the success of your search engine marketing plan.

You won’t receive any responses from your ads if nobody searches for your target keywords; it would be a waste of time and money. Simultaneously, keywords with a high volume of searches attract increased competition. Keep in mind that the very same case can be the reason for losing relevance.

Relevant high-volume, low-competition keywords are a perfect balance for keyword research. However, it is not easy to find them. You need to find a balance between supply or named volume in those terms, and demand, which refers to the competition.

Number Three: Account Structure and Keywords

The deal about keywords is not finished yet, since their significance can be observed in the account structure, too.

The keyword grouping and the account structure you have can be the determinator of many things. Good ones can help you to have higher click-through rates, reduced cost-per-click, and overall better performance regarding SEM. Additionally, keyword research will help you to come out with ideas regarding how to arrange your account in the most optimal manner.

You can just list keywords in your sentences that would not make sense; technically, there is nothing wrong with that. If you use way too many high-volume keywords in a way that does not make sense, your quality score will most definitely get lower. Account structure matters a lot for this very reason because it is linked to quality scores.

There are different elements in a well-structured account, which can be named as:

  • Keywords
  • Landing pages
  • Ad groups
  • Ad campaigns
  • Ad text

Regarding ad campaigns, you should keep in mind that the ads you will have on Google should be categorized in a meaningful manner in which includes similar products. If you own a store that sells cosmetics, it would be best to have different advertisements for skin care products, makeup products, and hair care products.

Ad groups will be determining the subcategories in each ad campaign you have. For example, in a makeup campaign, most probably there will be an ad group for lipsticks and another for eyeshadow palettes. It might need more time and effort to organize ad groups, but in the long run, it would be a lot better for SEM success.

Number Four: Being Successful in Ad Auctions

We mentioned ad auctions at the beginning of this page; now, it is time to focus on how to

win the ad auctions.

It is not a surprise that there are thousands of ads in an auction, but not each of them will show up in SERPs. This process is necessary since there are many determinators when it comes to deciding on which ones will show up and which ones will not.

We mentioned that Google gives a rank to you regarding your ad’s quality score and the maximum bid you have. With simple math, you can find out that having a really high bid will not always end your ad showing up in SERPs if you have a score.

The answer is simple. You need to be careful about how to maximize your ranking by balancing quality score and maximum bid. It might take a little bit of time to optimize your maximum bid and quality score, but once you figure out how to get out of that problem, everything will be fine.

Search Engine Marketing Strategies that Work

Now that you know the details of search engine marketing, we can take a look at the strategies you might want to use on your next SEM campaign for ultimate success.

Knowing the details of search engine marketing is essential to be successful, but it is most certainly not enough. You should know the strategies and tricks that would make you a successful SEM marketer. There are many search engine marketing strategies out there, and depending on your business type, they can be beneficial for you.

In those terms, it is crucial to know the nature of your business and your target audience for ultimate SEM success. Without further ado, let’s take a look at search engine marketing strategies that actually work.

Content Creation

We mentioned how important to do keyword research, but it would not hurt to highlight it again since it has a crucial role in SEM success.

It is safe to say that content creation is one of the most essential SEM strategies that would help you a lot in your campaigns’ success. Google and other search engines take context very carefully and would not give high rankings to the pages that have meaningless content.

It is crucial to know what makes up content. Many people think that content is only what you write. However, the situation is entirely different from that. Content is everything that your audience sees, from the design of your website to the colors you use.

While creating content, you should be super careful about what your audience likes and what they do not like. You would not want to offer them a poorly designed content with things that they do not like. In other words, your SEM campaign should include things that your target audience actually enjoys.

Optimizing Tags and Headings

As we mentioned earlier, SEM and SEO are highly linked together. Another SEM strategy that would work in terms of ranking higher in auctions is to optimize tag and headings, which can also be classified as an SEO strategy.

It would not hurt to take advantage of SEO as much as possible in your search engine marketing plan; in fact, it would be the best if you could. Using keywords on your ads is essential, but you should also be careful about how you use them in tags and headings since they will be essential for your audience to find your page.

What Google cares about is not just to see how many times you use a keyword. Google cares about whether if you give the information that your audience seeks or not. By optimizing tags and headings, you can get one step closer to having a more successful SEM campaign.

Take Advantage of Content Remarketing

Remarketing is one of the most popular marketing strategies because it works. You can take advantage of content remarketing for your SEM success.

In the most basic terms, content remarketing refers to the process in which marketing your business to those who visited your website but did not purchase anything. This is a great opportunity to link with potential customers that has an interest in your products and services but are left without any purchase for some reason.

Content remarketing is your second chance to gain those customers. With banner ads, cookies, and audience-specific marketing tactics, you can too start a content remarketing campaign. Additionally, search engines have special remarketing plans for those who want to aim for content remarketing.

When you have a second chance with the customers, you would not want to waste it. You need to understand what made them give up from purchasing and change it as soon as you detect a flaw in the website or in the process. Many businesses use remarketing as an SEM strategy, and if it is done correctly, the results might be surprisingly better than you can imagine.

Making Purchase Process Easier

When people see an ad in a search engine, it would be best to convince them to buy immediately rather than waiting.

If the purchasing process is challenging, people will most likely give up and not shop from your business. You would not want to lose customers at the very end of the buying process, which is taking action.

You need to be analyzing how and why people give up on purchasing from your website when they were very close to purchasing. There can be a technical flaw that you might want to fix as soon as possible. Receiving feedback from your customers is another excellent way of spotting the flaws in the purchasing process.

Review your SEM Strategy on a Regular Basis

Everything on the internet changes so fast, including the interests of your audience and what Google finds appropriate or not. If you think that you only need to create one SEM campaign and it would be enough for you for good, you are most probably wrong.

You need to be in touch regularly with the analytics of your SEM strategy. You need to see what seems to be working and what does not. Creating an SEM campaign with a specific strategy will be only the beginning for you, as there are many other things to consider.

Many people do not find the ultimate success in their first SEM campaign that they created with a specific SEM strategy, and there is nothing wrong with that. As you have more insight into how SEM works specifically for your business, you will understand what to do and what not to do better.

Perhaps the keywords were wrong. Perhaps the people were giving up from purchasing because the purchasing process was so challenging. You can never know without trying and tracking the analytics of your SEM strategy.

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