Search engine marketing (SEM) is basically the practice of advertising on search engine results pages to drive traffic to your website in order to accomplish larger goals such as generating leads or sales. SEM involves the use of pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements in the form of featured listings on search pages. Used effectively, SEM can be a cornerstone of your larger digital marketing strategy.
One of the biggest keys to SEM success is balancing it against other channels, particularly organic search engine optimization (SEO,) to use your marketing budget efficiently. Marketers who don’t run data- and results-based SEM campaigns run the risk of spending unnecessary dollars and even sabotaging other marketing efforts.
Why and when to employ search engine marketing
When you perform a search on a major search engine such as Google or Bing, the results at the very top of the page are typically paid listings that are marked as ads. Companies that wish to appear as a paid listing will bid on the keywords for that search. The winner of the auction will run a PPC ad with a set budget, meaning it will display until there are enough clicks to have spent all the money.
The important thing to understand with SEM is that SEO practices can also be used to rank highly on the organic, or unpaid, listings that appear immediately below the paid results. SEM and SEO efforts should be carefully balanced to ensure that money is not being spent in an area that is already achieving desired results through SEO. Here are some tips for ensuring that an SEM campaign is using ad spend effectively:
- Perform a full audit of your website’s organic search performance to identify underperforming areas that can be assisted through SEM.
- Do some competitive analysis to find opportunities, including branded searches, for targeted paid search.
- Use SEM for testing to see how paid search performs in terms of click-through and conversion compared to organic search to learn how to better allocate resources
By taking an analytical and data-based approach to SEM, you can successfully integrate it into your digital portfolio.
Burg & Co. — your search engine marketing partner
At Burg & Co., we pride ourselves on working closely with your organization to fully understand your unique needs and objectives. Strengthening your brand and achieving real ROI from your marketing budget are two of our strongest objectives, and you can trust that our expertise and experience will help you achieve it.
To learn more and schedule your free marketing consultation, contact us today.