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SEARCH ENGINE MARKETING - SEM

Search engine marketing, or SEM, is one of the most effective ways to grow your business in an increasingly competitive marketplace. With millions of businesses out there all vying for the same eyeballs, it’s never been more important to advertise online, and search engine marketing is the most effective way to promote your products and grow your business.

Search engine marketing is the practice of marketing a business using paid advertisements that appear on search engine results pages (or SERPs). Advertisers bid on keywords that users of services such as Google and Bing might enter when looking for certain products or services, which gives the advertiser the opportunity for their ads to appear alongside results for those search queries.

These ads, often known by the term pay-per-click ads, come in a variety of formats. Some are small, text-based ads, whereas others, such as product listing ads (PLAs, also known as Shopping ads) are more visual, product-based advertisements that allow consumers to see important information at-a-glance, such as price and reviews.


Search engine marketing’s greatest strength is that it offers advertisers the opportunity to put their ads in front of motivated customers who are ready to buy at the precise moment they’re ready to make a purchase. No other advertising medium can do this, which is why search engine marketing is so effective and such an amazingly powerful way to grow your business.


SEM versus SEO: What's the difference?


The Search Engine Marketing Ad Auction

One of the most enduring misconceptions about search engine marketing is that whomever has the largest advertising budget wins. Although a larger advertising budget can certainly be advantageous, especially when targeting highly competitive keywords, but it’s far from a requirement for success with search engine marketing. This is because all ads go through a process known as the ad auction before appearing alongside search results. For the purposes of this explanation, we’ll be focusing on the ad auction in Google AdWords.

How the Ad Auction Works

The ad auction process takes place every single time someone enters a search query into Google. To be entered into the ad auction, advertisers identify keywords they want to bid on, and state how much they are willing to spend (per click) to have their ads appear alongside results relating to those keywords. If Google determines that the keywords you have bid on are contained within a user’s search query, your ads are entered into the ad auction.

How Ads ‘Win’ the Ad Auction

Not every single ad will appear on every single search. This is because the ad auction takes a variety of factors into account when determining the placement of ads on the SERP, and because not every keyword has sufficient commercial intent to justify displaying ads next to results. However, the two main factors that Google evaluates as part of the ad auction process are your maximum bid and the Quality Score of your ads.

Maximum bid is the maximum amount you have specified you are willing to pay for a click. Quality Score is a metric based on the overall quality of your advertisement. Google calculates these metrics during the ad auction to determine placement of advertisements. The result of this calculation is known as ad rank.


Why Is SEM Important?

With an increasing number of consumers researching and shopping for products online, search engine marketing has become a crucial online marketing strategy for increasing a company’s reach.

In fact, the majority of new visitors to a website find it by performing a query on a search engine.

In search engine marketing, advertisers only pay for impressions that result in visitors, making it an efficient way for a company to spend its marketing dollars. As an added bonus, each visitor incrementally improves the website’s rankings in organic search results.

Since consumers enter search queries with the intent of finding information of a commercial nature, they are in an excellent state of mind to make a purchase, compared to other sites such as social media where users are not explicitly searching for something.

Search marketing reaches consumers at exactly the right time: when they are open to new information. Unlike most of the digital advertising, PPC advertising is non-intrusive and does not interrupt their tasks.

Results are immediate with SEM. It is arguably the fastest way to drive traffic to a website.


How SEM Works

Search engines use complicated algorithms to ensure the most relevant results are returned for each search, including location and other available information.

In paid search advertising, sponsored ads appear at the top of and on the side of search engine results pages to gain more visibility and prominence than the organic results.

Let’s say that you are a customer looking for a product or service online. You go to a search engine and type in your search terms (also known as keywords).

In your search results page, you will come across various company ads whose keywords match the keywords in your search.

These ads appear in prominent locations on the page – along with the other search listings that match your keywords. The paid listings are highly relevant to your specific search, making it likely that you will click on them.


Now let’s take a look at how SEM campaigns work from the marketer’s perspective.

SEM networks are self-serve operations. Once a marketer selects a network, he or she can get a campaign up within a short period of time.

When setting up a campaign within an SEM network, the marketer is prompted to:

Conduct keyword research and select a set of keywords related to their website or product;

Select a geographic location for the ad to be displayed within;

Create a text-based ad to display in the search results;

Bid on a price they are willing to pay for each click on their ad.


Text-only ads are easy to produce. Marketers enter a headline, text for the body of the ad, a call-to-action and a URL for the hyperlink.

Search engine marketing is considered by many to be the most efficient way to spend marketing dollars.


This strategy is often referred to as paid search or pay-per-click (PPC) marketing.

Google Ads (formerly Google Adwords) is the search provider most commonly used for this strategy. With this tactic, brands conduct keyword research and create campaigns that target the best keywords for their industry, products, or services. When users search for those keywords, they see the custom ads at the top or bottom of SERPs. The brand is charged each time a user clicks on the ad.

PPC (pay-per-click) or CPC (cost-per-click)

CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions)


Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Marketing

PPC is a paid marketing strategy where a brand creates a digital ad and is charged each time a user clicks on it. When PPC ads are shown in search results, this is considered SEM. But PPC isn’t always related to SEM.

When PPC strategies are used on channels other than search, this is not considered SEM. For example, PPC can be used on sites that support digital ads like Promoted Tweets or Facebook Ads. PPC also includes Google display ads, where brands are charged when a user clicks on a banner ad on a website.

Contact Origin Consultants for a professional approach to ECommerce SEM and an effective Search Engine Marketing campaign.