Why your business needs a great search engine marketing strategy

Search engine marketing, or SEM, needs to be part of your marketing plan, but it’s crucial to understand how it fits into the larger digital picture to truly get the most out of it.

SEM refers to paid advertising that is placed onto the results pages of search engines like Google or Bing. This is distinct from search engine optimization, or SEO, which uses methods to increase a website’s visibility on organic search results. On Google, SEM results are the ones that appear at the very top of the page and say “ad.”

By having a better understanding of how SEM functions and how to develop a strategy that works with, not against, your SEO efforts, you can give yourself the best chance of achieving your business objectives.

How do SEM and PPC advertising work?

SEM is typically performed through a pay-per-click (PPC) model, meaning advertisers pay an agreed-upon amount for each time the listing is clicked. This allows marketers to gauge the performance of SEM efforts by seeing which listings are spending the most advertising dollars and which aren’t.

The largest SEM and PPC platform is Google Ads, formerly known as Google Adwords, which utilizes an auction to help businesses place ads at the top of the search engine results page, or SERP. The auction is won by the bidder with the best ad ranking, determined by factors including highest maximum bid and previous click-through rates.

Building a cross-channel SEM strategy

A successful search engine marketing strategy is built on where to spend your budget effectively so that it best complements your other pillars, particularly SEO. Your SEO and SEM strategies should be highly integrated to ensure you’re not wasting money in areas where you’re already performing well in organic search.

You also need to be aware of which searches are truly relevant to your business goals. Spending money to rank high in the SERPs and drive a lot of traffic makes no sense if that traffic doesn’t convert to high-quality leads or purchases for your organization.

To be effective, a great search engine marketing strategy should include the following:

  • A full audit and analysis of your existing marketing
  • Research into your target audience, competitors and search trends in your industry
  • An identification of the gaps and opportunities where SEM would be most effectively employed
  • An action plan to create compelling messaging and landing pages and utilize tools that will help you win the PPC auctions you are targeting

Keeping your SEM strategy great means continually tracking, testing, refining and implementing changes to your action plan. More importantly it means staying integrated with your other marketing efforts to ensure your budget is being spent effectively.

Reach out to Burg & Co. Marketing for integrated digital expertise

From PPC to SEM to SEO, digital marketing can overwhelm you with three letter initials. However, succeeding in the digital space requires an understanding of them. Burg & Co. Marketing has an integrated digital team with years of experience helping top companies meet their goals.
Contact us to see how we can collaborate.