What is SEM? Let us explain what it means to deal with Search Engine Marketing.
Have you ever thought about what Search Engine Marketing (SEM) entails? As a leading Digital Marketing Agency in Mumbai, we explain to you how Digital marketing has many terms with a similar definition and sound.
SEM, which is also known as search engine marketing, is the process of using paid options to optimize search visibility. Previously, search engine marketing was a term used to explain both search engine optimization and paid searches. Today, it is almost always used to describe only paid search marketing.
Businesses pay for ads displayed as search results on search engine results pages (SERPs) using Search Engine Marketing (SEM). They use specific keywords so that when a person searches for those words, they will get an ad from the business. The business has to pay only when a person clicks on the ad.
You can find paid search ads on any search results page. Generally, these ads show up at the top and bottom of the page. They display a sign that indicates it is an ‘Ad’ to let people know that it is a paid ad. Some paid ads may appear as products in a featured column.
What is the difference between Search Marketing, SEO, and SEM?
To completely understand Search Engine Marketing (SEM), we should know the difference between SEM and other terms related to search engine marketing.
Search Marketing refers to improving a business’ search visibility by appearing more often in search results. It can involve paid Search Engine Marketing (SEM) strategies, organic SEO strategies, or even both.
Search engine optimization uses methods that can increase visibility in search results. Unlike the Search Engine Marketing (SEM) way that uses paid options for a position on SERPs, SEO attracts search engines to earn a prominent organic search position. These search results do not have an ‘ad’ indication on their results. These positions are organic and not paid.
Another term that you will find when learning all about SEM is pay-per-click marketing or PPC.
PPC is another paid marketing strategy in which a business creates a digital ad and has to pay for each time a person clicks on it. When PPC ads appear in search results, they are considered SEM. However, they are not always related to Search Engine Marketing (SEM).
PPC methods in places other than searches are not considered search engine marketing. For instance, PPC on sites that display digital ads like Facebook ads or promoted Tweets. PPC also includes ads shown on Google, where businesses pay when a person clicks on a website ad.
So even though PPC is a Search Engine Marketing (SEM) method, it is also related to social or display ad marketing.
Search Engine Marketing Fundamentals: Terminology, Platforms, and Tactics
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Platforms
A business can place an ad on an SEM platform. The platform is a search engine that will display the search ads when a person performs a search. Google and Bing are the most common search engine platforms used for Search Engine Marketing (SEM). The most common Search Engine Marketing (SEM) platform is Google ads. It is the largest online audience with billions of searches performed by people every day.
Additionally, Bing Ads claims that they have 3 million users that do not use Google. Therefore, by displaying ads on their partner websites, they can connect with non-Google users.
Types of Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Keywords
During search engine marketing campaigns, the terms and phrases used to target the users are SEM keywords. When a person searches for a keyword, your ad will be displayed. While setting up an SEM campaign, you can select the keywords that are your target or that need to be ignored.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) campaigns have four types of keywords:
- Broad match keywords: This type of keyword can target different variations. It includes similar phrases, singular forms, plural forms, wrong spellings, or synonyms of the target keyword.
- Phrase match keywords: This type targets the exact phrase and any related words that come before or after the keyword.
- Exact match keywords: These keywords target the words that are closely related to the target keyword. It includes wrong spellings, singular and plural forms, abbreviations, reordered words, or paraphrases.
- Negative keywords: This type of keyword excludes words that are not the target. Negative keywords are variations of keywords that you do not want to use in your campaign. These terms may be related to your keywords in semantics but may not be related to the search intent of the target keyword or your campaign.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Targeting
Targeting keywords is a part of telling the search engine when to show your ads. However, SEM targeting sets additional parameters such as when your ad should be displayed and who should see it.
- Location targeting configures display ads only to people in a specific location. As an example, those located in a ZIP code or geographic area.
- Ad schedule targeting shows an ad at certain times. For example, Display the Ad at a specific time or during a day of the week.
- Demographic targeting sets up ads to only be seen by people belonging to a demographic category like age and gender.
- Device targeting shows ads to people who use specific devices like mobile phones, computers, or tablets.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Account Structure
An SEM campaign is structured and set up using account structures. The campaigns in your account consolidate relevant keywords and themes.
Since it is the highest level for an account, each campaign has its own unique goal, strategy, and settings. Campaigns help organize an account into themes according to their product, service, audience, or promotions. A platform can use the keywords to match with clients for two different campaigns. For example, one campaign could target people looking for a service. Another campaign could target people offering the service.
Ad groups divide campaigns to break down into more specific themes. Generally, campaigns have a few different ad groups. One is advised not to go over seven to ten ad groups per campaign. For instance, Two ad groups would have two targets. One could target full-time sales associates, and another could target part-time sales associates.
Keywords and Ads:
All ad groups have their own set of target keywords and ads. The ad copy and keywords of the ad group target the audience and theme. Having two or three ads is recommended, and the keyword limit should be up to twenty keywords per ad group. For instance, an ad group that targets only part-time sales associates will create an ad with keywords that apply directly to potential part-time sales associates. The ad group for full-time sales associates would create an ad including keywords for potential full-time sales associates.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Ad Copy
Most of the time, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) ad copy is similar to the organic search results. However, they can also have an option to show additional information. Generally, an ad includes two headlines, a description of the ad, and a URL.
SEM Ad copies could include the below details too:
- Sitelink extensions
- Callout extensions
- Call extensions
- Message extensions
- Location extensions
- Advertiser ratings
- Price extensions
- Structured snippet extensions
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) platforms can offer additional search formats for ads such as those on carousels.
The Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Ad Auction
After setting up an SEM campaign, you should not expect your ad to show up each time someone searches for the keyword. SEM platforms have a built-in system that decides when to display an ad and whether this ad is better than other businesses targeting these keywords. This system is known as Ad Auction. It involves three factors.
- MAX CPC Bid – The highest price you are willing to pay when a person clicks on your ad.
- Quality Score – This is a rating that is assigned to your ad by the platform. There is no fixed formula for the Quality Score. It is assumed to factor in elements such as click-through rate (CTR), keyword relevancy to the ad group, landing page relevancy to keywords, and history of ad performance.
- Ad Rank – The platform gives your ad a ranking to decide whether it should show on the SERPs. A high-ranking ad will result in a better place in the search ad.
The above factors determine who is higher in the Ad Auction. The result is the determination of the best placement on the results pages of the search engines. If you have a higher Quality Score in Search Engine Marketing (SEM), you can acquire a higher placement on SERPS for cheaper.
How to Improve Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Results: The Key Factors to Creating Successful Campaigns
As a top Digital Marketing Agency in Mumbai, we understand that to create powerful Search Engine Marketing (SEM) campaigns, you will need to research and strategize before setting up your campaign. You will also need to continue doing so after your campaign is up and running.
The tactics below can help you improve your campaigns to reach more audiences, increase your budget, and get more conversions.
1. Perform Keyword Research
One of the main factors to SEM success is effective targeting using the best keywords. When you do keyword research, you will find:
Terms that your target audience use
You can sort out the keywords by popularity to find the top phrases that are searched regularly by your audience. You can also include online tools to find the keywords and phrases that are related to your brand.
Terms used at the bottom of your sales funnel
Once you identify high-converting buying keywords that can aim at prospects near the end of the funnel, you can use a buyer keywords filter to identify search terms with a higher purchase power that can send potential customers to your business.
Terms that are cost-effective and within the budget
Keep in mind the rate of interest you could receive through your campaigns. You can select keywords with a cost-per-click that fits within your budget and earns you a profit.
2. Create Captivating Ads
If you want to create a successful Search Engine Marketing (SEM) campaign, you need to convince users on the search page to click on your ad. The following tips for creating an ad can help you get more clicks:
- Use the keyword mentioned in the ad copy.
- Ensure that you are communicating clearly to searchers about the services or products you are offering.
- Connect your copy to searcher intent.
- You can include prices and any available promotions.
- Make sure that the call to action is clear.
- Make use of ad extensions.
3. Improve Your Quality Score
Having a high-quality score will ensure that your Search Engine Marketing (SEM) ad appears more often and at a lower cost. You can improve your quality score by adding keywords to your ad copy and landing pages. This way, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) platforms will know that the URL of the destination and the ad are aligned, thus, resulting in a high-quality score.
4. Optimize Existing Campaigns
To get the full benefit of your Search Engine Marketing (SEM) strategy, you must learn how to optimize Search Engine Marketing (SEM) campaigns after they are released.
a. Use additional relevant keywords
If you missed some keywords in your campaign, you could always add any keywords upon reviewing the campaign.
b. Add negative keywords
While reviewing your campaign, you can remove keywords that are unnecessary or are attracting unwanted traffic. You can set irrelevant terms or low-performing words as negative keywords.
c. Utilize A/B testing
One of the benefits of Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is receiving feedback faster on what works for your campaign. Using A/B testing, one can also create different variations of your strategies. You can also learn about the best performing combinations of targeting, keywords, ad copy, etc.
As we can see, SEM is a useful strategy and helpful tool in boosting traffic through better search visibility. Now that you know what to do in order to reap the benefits of Search Engine Marketing, take a look at our informative blog on the Basics of Search Engine Optimization to get started on your journey towards success.