What Is SEM (Search Engine Marketing)

Many are looking for answers on acronyms that might sound familiar to you. SEO, SMO, CRO and SEM. Let’s focus on defining SEM and knowing the benefits it has for businesses. Read on if you are trying to reach out to new clients, reduce costs in acquisition and increase sales.

What Is SEM?

SEM is search engine marketing, a practice of Internet marketing wherein it aims in increasing a website’s visibility by promoting it in SERPs or search engine results pages by paid advertising. SEO may be incorporated in this method by adjusting or rewriting the site content as well as the web page design so that higher ranking is achieved in SERPs and PPC or pay per click listings will be improved.

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More About SEM

Google Ads is a paid search tool that is most commonly used and recognized.  To reach out to the potential market at the right place and time, SEM leverages the search engines.

There are also other terms of SEM:

  • Paid Advertising
  • Paid Search Ads
  • Pay-Per-Click or PPC

Here are the common terms used when we talk about SEM and this will help you understand more what it’s all about:

  • CPC or Cost-Per-Click – the amount you pay whenever a user clicks your ad
  • Impressions – it is the number of times your ad was on the screen. This is not interpreted as “seen” by the user on the screen
  • CTR or Click-through Rate – the clicks your website got from those who saw the ad, even if the ad was not clicked
  • CPM or Cost Per thousand Impressions – this is a different method in paying for a search ad. There are businesses that want to pay for them to be seen by their potential market

Compare Between SEM And Social Media Advertising

Social Media has ad service offerings as well, but they don’t exactly mean the same thing with SEM.

Social Media Advertising is a paid online advertising that focuses on social networking websites. The ads here can be targeted properly through the use of demographic info that many advertisers can take advantage.

Now, on the other hand, Search Engine Marketing is dependent on keyword phrases whenever a query is made in search engines to target potential market.

These two methods can work together effectively even if they are not identical. Both can help in boosting brand awareness and profits. Whenever a user performs a search, they are likely drawn to click your ad because they could identify you.

The Difference Between SEM And SEO

We will point out the difference between SEM and SEO because clearly the two are not the same, and they should not be faced against each other as these methods can complement each other very well.

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is an efficient method in ranking your website on search engines organically. Google’s algorithm determines the website that is most relevant and helpful to the user whenever a query is made. The page is ranked depending on the SEO efforts done, the content and many other factors.

SEO is more on your website’s ranking position on the search engine results pages. The higher the ranking, the better visibility it will be since Google will determine the most relevant websites for the searcher. And Google will base it on different elements such as:

  • The speed of your website
  • How visitors interact and navigate in your web page. Are they entertained and are choosing to stay longer? Or are they moving on to another page?
  • If users are enticed to click when they see your info in SERPs
  • The depth of the answer to the query

It’s also about how trustworthy your website is. Google will look into the relevant links that you have from other websites or also known as backlinks.

Establishing a good ranking spot in Google takes times with SEO. However, with SEM, it’s all about bidding on the keyword phrase. If you are the winner of the bid, your ad will instantly be on the first page and could even become number 1 given that you meet the requirements of Google and if your bid was enough to take you there.

Can SEM And SEO Work Together For Your Business?

You might be wondering if you still need SEO even if you have chosen SEM to be your business’ main marketing tactic. Is this even possible? Of course, it is!

For your SEM to work, SEO essentials are needed so that the money you invested on every click won’t be wasted. A good example is how user-friendly and fast your website is. And you also need to remember that SEO is a long-term method, so as soon as you start ranking organically, you can then concentrate on expanding your reach on other keywords.

How Much Do You Need To Invest In SEM?

We did mention that SEM was a paid search, and how much money do we need to set aside for the budget? Is it cheaper or more expensive compared to all the other methods out there?

Let’s try to understand the cost of this approach to avoid confusion. Here are the details that you should know:

  • If your SEM campaign is effective, you will be rewarded by Google with higher visibility, and the costs will be lower
  • There’s an option where you can “set it and forget it” approach, but Google will set your cost higher for this. Others have similar schemes wherein quality is also rewarded
  • If you choose long-term strategies and will not focus on it, SEM becomes more expensive since you also need the quality score to be maintained high, including social media presence and of course SEO
  • If you choose short-term, SEM is your best option to drive you more leads and profits

Many businesses are scratching their heads because of the high cost of advertisements, and this is because they lack information. Most end up paying more because they don’t know how to keep a low cost for Ads.

How Small Businesses Benefit From SEM?

Is it really beneficial for your business to choose SEM? Let’s look at the details below:

Gain Quick Brand Awareness

As what was mentioned before SEO is a long-term process or any organic and unpaid methods take a longer period of time. According to Google, it may take you at least six months to one year for your website to make it to the top rankings, given that everything is done right. And this will all depend on how you have handled your strategy and how competitive you are.

If we compare it with SEM, it will place your website either at the bottom or at the top of page one. If your business is still new, you don’t need to wait longer just to be noticed in search engines. And if you apply the correct approach to this online presence that you get, it will definitely impact your sales positively.

Faster Income

With the right placement of ads and strategies, revenues can come in quickly even on the same day you run your campaign. You can easily start doing this promotion, no need for you to prep for a long time. However, it will require you to perform a certain kind of maintenance to achieve a good ROI with SEM.

It Grows Along With Your Business

Starting small with SEM is easy, and it’s also amazingly scalable. You can run some tests to see what works for you. You can keep the costs low, especially if your budget is limited.

You can add more ads as your sales continue to go up. If there are ads that aren’t working, best to remove them. Upgrade your promotions and you can increase your ad spending every day.  You can actually set your budget minimum of $10 per day in ads.

It Can Reach Your Audience At The Perfect Time

We know that it’s common for people nowadays to use the Internet and search for something through Google, Yahoo or Bing. And one of the biggest sources of traffic to your website is the search engines. If you are visible in search engines, think about the huge potential market that you have over the web.

Even if they are not able to buy from you today, at least they know your product or service exists. They could recommend you or share your link. Eventually, they will become a paying customer as long as you maintain your position in the rankings.

Brand Name Recognition Is Emphasized

You can never tell if the new client who just purchased a product or service from you has found your business hours, days or weeks ago. So long as your brand has been visibly repeated, you can continue to encourage a new customer to buy from you.

According to experts, it actually takes about 7-13 touch points with a certain business before somebody converts. Every time your potential market sees you on SERPs, social media, inbox of their email and other websites, you are emphasizing name recognition to them.

You become familiar to them and when we set that to their minds, they are more likely to choose you over unfamiliar brands. We all know that it’s part of marketing strategy wherein people are willing to spend more on brands that they actually know or being referred to them by others. Well, according to statistics, there are more than 3 billion users online and 93% of which start their experience with a web search.

Your Target Market Will Be Reached

SEM will help you focus on the market that you want to target for your business, but it’s even better than any traditional type of marketing. Because we know how promotional strategies could become very expensive.

Creating the Ads online will not cost you anything not unless the users choose to click on it. You can either make ten or a hundred of it. However, it is best if you don’t make a lot of ads first. The more you can make the ad targeted, the better it will perform.

You Have A Competitive Lead Over The Others

If your competitor is placed on the top rankings of organic SERPs, you can be placed in their position through paid ads.

If your competition is also utilizing paid ads, then you need to keep your SEM going to make sure that they won’t have a competitive lead over you.

Most of the businesses don’t actually know how to use SEM’s full potential. You don’t want to keep on paying more but is actually getting less. Well, if your competitor doesn’t know how make SEM work, then you have the advantage.

You have to establish a strong SEM strategy and outsmart your competitors by doing the right methods.

Definitely Cost Less Compared To Traditional Advertising

One of the main reasons why SEM is much cheaper than traditional marketing is you have the ability to control it. Here are the reasons why:

  • You don’t need to pay hundreds or even millions of dollars just to reach about more than 10,000 people who will watch a certain program on the television, and the disadvantage of this is that not all of them are your target. However, with SEM, you can focus it directly on your target market and increase conversion rate at the same time.
  • If you see that your SEM campaign is low on the conversion rate, you can fix it right away or pull it out. With the traditional method, it keeps on going until the contract ends even if you are not hitting on your target anymore, and you will need to get approval to have it changed, which can be very costly too.
  • With regards to SEM performance in the ups and downs of sales, you can easily scale it up since you can boost traffic to your website through clicks resulting in an increase in revenue.
  • You can easily suspend your ad campaign if you’re getting a lot of orders, and you are having a hard time handling it.
  • Lastly, you can directly know what works and what doesn’t.

If you want to know the behavior of those who respond to your ad campaign, you can use digital marketing analytics. With this, you will know if they clicked it, the time they spend on the page, if they watched the video, or if they clicked another link while on the page, etc., The data that will be provided for you can help in making smart and data-driven choices for your business.

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