The digital marketing channel of search engine marketing is quite successful. With search marketing, you can increase your website’s visibility in search engine results using paid and unpaid methods.
SEM is important because search traffic is targeted and, therefore, more valuable than any other form of traffic you can get through other promotional methods.
In this guide, you’ll learn what search engine marketing is, why it’s essential, and the different types of SEM.
- What is Search Engine Marketing
- The importance of search marketing
- Types of Search Marketing
What is Search Engine Marketing?
Search engine marketing (also known as search marketing) is acquiring traffic from search engines, either organically or for a fee.
There are two main types of search marketing: SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and PSA (Paid Search Advertising).
SEO is the way you get free traffic from search engines by ranking high in the SERPs, and paid search advertising is the process of paying for your ads to appear on search engine results pages.
What is the primary goal of search marketing?
The overall goal of SEM is to increase search engine visibility by achieving higher rankings in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) or the highest position for ad placement.
Higher ad positions and positions mean more traffic, which has many additional advantages.
As we will see later, each SEM component has many processes and tools.
The importance of search marketing
Before we get into the details of what SEO and Paid Search Advertising (PSA) are and how to use them to get more exposure and traffic from search engines, let’s take a quick look at how important SEM is to the success of a website or online business.
In fact, in today’s world, the internet is the source of everything we need to know, learn, ask, buy or do.
Whenever we have a question or look for something, we first turn to a search engine and enter our search query.
When we hit search, we want a direct answer to our question or a list (this list includes ads and websites) that fulfills our intent.
Search engines are working hard to improve the quality of search results, showing searchers those sites (or ads) that keep users happy and returning for more searches.
They developed sophisticated algorithms that considered many variables before deciding which sites (or ads) to show in the top positions.
Search engine marketing is essential because it optimizes your website or ad to appear in the top positions.
Your goal is not only to have a place in search engines but to appear in one of the top 5 positions for search terms (keywords) that are important to your business or website.
Statistics show that most users click on one of the top ads or one of the top five organic results.
Types of Search Marketing
Several techniques you can employ to increase your presence in search engines and rank higher for your ads.
As mentioned above, these fall into two main types, SEO and PSA.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization or SEO is optimizing your website to rank higher in search engines for specific keywords.
SEO principles can also help you create a high-quality website with good content and satisfy user intent.
Until ten years ago, SEO was all about keyword stuffing, posting mediocre content, and building links, but that’s not the case today.
SEO becomes more complex, and you must consider many parameters to get it right.
Technical SEO – Optimizing your website’s crawling and indexing process so that search engines can discover, read and understand your website.
On-Page SEO – One by one, optimize each page of your website to offer search engines the information they need to comprehend what the page is about.
Off-Page SEO – Promote your website on the internet, get high-quality backlinks, and prove to search engine algorithms that your website should be one of the top choices for the keywords you want.
You may also encounter other terms that describe specific aspects of SEO, such as:
- Content SEO – giving users and search engines the content they want and keeping them happy
- Local SEO – Optimizing your website so people can find and visit your brick-and-mortar store
- Ecommerce SEO – SEO rules for eCommerce sites only.
- Mobile SEO – Make it easy for users to find and use your website on the go from their mobile or tablet device.
Why is SEO important?
Higher rankings, more traffic: SEO is the way to go if your search marketing goal is to get website traffic without paying for advertising.
As mentioned above, websites that appear in the top 3 organic results get more than 60% of the traffic – this statistic alone illustrates the importance of SEO.
Search engine traffic is targeted: open a search engine to search for anything you want. Top-ranking websites get thousands of visits from search engines every day.
Depending on your keywords, they may earn thousands of dollars (from advertising or selling their products or services) because search engine traffic is highly targeted.
Unlike traffic from social media networks, organic traffic converts better because users have a clear intent before entering something into a search engine, not just out of curiosity.
Besides traffic, SEO offers many other advantages, which can be summed up in the following points:
Trust and Recognition: Users trust search engines because they know they have strict rules about which sites appear in search results, and in turn, they trust top-ranking sites.
Not only does trust generate more conversions, but it also increases awareness and brand awareness, which makes your digital marketing efforts in other channels easier.
SEO can guide you in creating a better website: SEO is not only about search engines but mainly about users. A fully optimized website for search engines must first be optimized for users, which is what SEO is all about.
Paid Search Advertising (PSA)
Besides getting organic traffic from search engines, paid advertising is another way to take advantage of the millions of users who use search engines daily and get targeted website traffic.
If you search on Google, you will notice that you will see paid ads above and below the organic search results.
This is what we call paid search advertising. Instead of getting high rankings through SEO, pay to get top rankings.
Of course, as we’ll see below, it’s not easy. The situation becomes more complicated when many advertisers compete for one of the top ad slots.
The most popular strategy is pay-per-click (PPC), which requires that you only pay when a user clicks on your advertisement.
How does PPC work?
The way it works is simple, but it gets more complicated when you’re dealing with highly competitive niches and keywords. An outline of the procedure is given below:
- You created a free account with Google.
- You set up an ad campaign. Each ad plan can contain multiple ad units, keywords, and ad creatives.
- You specify your target audience and who can see your ad (you can narrow your selection by geography, time of day, user location, etc.).
- start an advertising program and only pay when someone clicks on your ad.
- You monitor the results of your ad and make necessary changes.
How much you pay each time someone clicks on your ad depends on various factors.
The system will tell you how much you will be charged for each click, but the actual amount will vary when it occurs.
The cost per click and where your ad will appear depends on “demand and supply.”
Whenever a search is done on Google, Google bids on available ad slots.
Advertisers willing to pay more have higher-quality ads that are most likely to satisfy user intent, earning them the top spot.
When to use PPC advertising?
When you want quick results – One of the downsides of SEO is that it takes time to work.
Competition is fierce in all fields; ranking high for your desired keywords takes time.
So, while doing SEO and patiently waiting for higher rankings and organic traffic, you can start an advertising program in Google and get traffic that way.
You will pay for traffic, but as long as the ROI is positive, you gain more than you lose.
You sell expensive products or services – PPC advertising isn’t for every business. The cost of setting up a campaign and the cost per click is high, and unless you are selling your product at a price that will make you a profit, PPC is not a solution for you.
Your SEO is already working, and you want better results – PPC and SEO work harmoniously. It’s never one or the other.
If you’ve already achieved good SEO results, you can increase your market share by running ads for the exact keywords that generate organic traffic for your business.
You run an online business – When you’re running an online business without a brick-and-mortar store, and your only source of customers is the internet, you need to be paid for search advertising to work for you.
SEO is an excellent way to acquire customers, but if your business depends on it, PPC advertising is best as a second way out.
Difference Between SEO and SEM
As mentioned above, SEO is one of the main components of SEM (Search Engine Marketing). The other is PSA (Paid Search Advertising).
Many people confuse SEO and SEM; sometimes, when they refer to SEM, they mean PSA, the paid advertising part, and they think SEO is a process beyond search marketing.
No business or website can survive unless it follows solid search engine marketing practices.
Search engine marketing gives you the framework, tools, and processes to gain more visibility in search engines by ranking higher in organic results or ranking your ads better.
The two main types, SEM, SEO, and PPC, work harmoniously together and maximize your results.
It’s never either in the realm of online commerce. Both are two powerful tools in your digital marketing tools that you can use to boost your online presence.
If you’re new to search marketing, you need to be clear that there are no shortcuts. To be successful in SEO or PPC, you need to put user experience above everything else.
Your priority is to make sure you have a great website that is functional and easy to use, then process your content and deliver the best possible results to your users.
Once you have this, your next step is to start your SEO and gradually reach the top of organic results; if applicable, start your PPC campaign and maximize your return on investment (ROI).
Running a successful SEM campaign is not easy; it requires special skills, much experience, and hard work.
If you don’t have these skills, it’s best to leave it to the professionals. Save your precious time and time while increasing your chances of getting the results you want in the fastest way.