Search engine marketing, or SEM, is a form of marketing in which a business uses paid advertisements that appear on search engine results pages (SERPs) to promote its product. In this marketing form, the advertisers bid on keywords that Google and/or Bing users might enter on the search engines when searching for a product or service allowing their ads to appear alongside the results of a user’s search queries.
These ads are often referred to as pay-per-click (PPC) ads and they come in different formats. Some of these ads are small, text-based ads, whereas others, often product listing ads, are more visual and generally consist of the product’s image, price, and ratings. Search engine marketing is very efficient because it lets the advertisers set their ads in front of a consumer who is ready to make a purchase as soon as he finds what he wants. This makes conversion a whole lot easier and cost-effective.
The foundation of SEM is the keywords as they are what the users enter into the search engine to find results for their queries. But before choosing the keywords for a search engine marketing campaign, comprehensive research should be conducted as part of the company’s keyword management strategy. Firstly, keywords that are likely to be used by prospective customers while searching for a product or service and are relevant to the company’s product are identified.
For this, keyword tools like WordStream are used which on entering a business-relevant keyword provide keyword suggestions that can be used as the basis of an SEM campaign. In addition to identifying keywords that may form the basis of an SEM campaign, it is important to do a thorough search for the keywords that might be negative to exclude them from the campaign. Negative keywords are not words with negative connotations but are irrelevant words that will not turn the results into conversions.
For example, if a company is in the business of selling home décor items, then keywords such as DIY home décor pieces will attract a person who does not want to buy what the company is selling rather than attracting a prospective buyer of the said product. This concept of identifying positive and negative keywords is known as ‘search intent’ which can be defined as the conversion of a prospective customer i.e. he will but the marketed product/service. There exist a few keywords that are most likely to attract consumers with high purchasing intent. Buy, discount, deal, coupon, free shipping, etc. are a few keywords that are considered to have a ‘high commercial intent’.
Account Structure is another very important aspect for the success of an SEM marketing campaign as it can help achieve higher click-through rates, lower per-click costs, and overall better and stronger performance. And the keyword research can help structure an account in the best possible way. A well-structured account comprises of five distinct elements- ad campaigns, keywords, ad text, and landing pages.
Ad campaigns should ideally focus on a set of products and/or services that are similar in some fashion. For example, for a company in the fashion/clothing business, an ad campaign can focus on the spring-summer collection and other on festive collection. Now, these campaigns can be further subcategorized for relevance with Ad groups. Continuing with the example of a fashion company, the spring-summer collection can be subcategorised into the ad groups of formal wear and casual wear.
Even though the setting-up of this kind of organization is initially time-consuming, it can be very rewarding in terms of bettering CTRs at lower costs.
One very common misconception regarding search engine marketing is that the company with the biggest advertising budget will win. A larger advertising budget is certainly an advantage, especially when the targets are highly competitive keywords, but it is not a necessary requirement for a successful campaign created with search engine marketing.
This is because all the ads go through the process of ad auction before they can appear alongside search results. In Google Ads, the process of ad auction takes place every time a search query is entered into Google. To enter into the ad auctions, advertisers first identify the keywords they want to bid on and then state the amount they are willing to spend per click to get their ads to appear alongside the results generated when those keywords are entered in the search engine. Once Google determines that the bid keywords are contained within a user’s search query, then the ads get entered into the ad auction.
But, not every single ad appears on every single search because for an ad auction a variety of factors are taken into consideration to determine ad placements on the SERP as every keyword does not have sufficient commercial intent for the justifiable display of the ad along with the search results. For Google Ads, Google evaluates the maximum bid and Quality Score of the ad as the main factors for the ad auction process. A maximum bid is a maximum amount an advertiser is willing to pay per click. And, the metric based on the overall quality of an ad is called Quality Score.
The result of these metrics when calculated is called the ad rank. Quality Score is said to be the most important metric for the search engine marketers to focus on as a good QS can help ads get a better position at a lower cost. This is because such ads are relevant to user’s queries and hence, are favored by Google.
SEM is one of the most effective marketing forms for a business’s growth in today’s competitive markets. There exist millions of businesses targeting the same consumer making online advertisements extremely important. SEM is effective and necessary in today’s business market. Every business wants to multiply their sales as well as consumers, and SEM can easily achieve that goal. Our company, with its resources, is ready to help your business achieve all its goals.