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Search engine marketing is the most efficient way to promote your products and services so you can grow your business.
By creating paid listings at the top of search results you can more easily attract qualified leads for your business.
A lot of marketers avoid SEM because they don’t know where to begin. Or how to successfully run a campaign that will generate new leads for their business.
That’s why we’ve created this guide, so you can understand search engine marketing and how it works.
What is search engine marketing?
SEM is a digital strategy that uses paid advertising to drive more traffic to your website. If you want to reach the top of SERPs and gain an instant improvement in traffic, SEM is the way to go.
Search engine marketing (SEM) is a process that allows you to place your paid ads at the top of search engine results.
SEM helps companies bring their products and services to the attention of audiences who are ready to buy.
What’s the difference between SEO and SEM?
Two of the most important terms in digital marketing are the acronyms SEO and SEM. When you plan your business strategy, SEM and SEO can be just the thing your business needs to reach the next level.
Don’t confuse SEM (Search engine marketing) with SEO (search engine optimization).
Although both refer to search engines, SEM is a separate marketing strategy that requires a unique approach.
It’s easy to spot the difference between SEO and SEM when you enter any search query into Google, the first few results you see are paid advertising (SEM), while the fourth or fifth is usually an organic search result (SEO).
SEO and SEM are both quality marketing strategies that offer benefits to many businesses in their own way.
How do you build a solid search advertising strategy?
The results on the top of the page are what we call paid ads or PPC ads.
Pay-per-click is a way of generating immediate traffic to your website: you set up an account, place your ads, bid on specific search terms, and away you go.
Then, whenever a relevant search term is entered, your ad is displayed at the top of the screen, depending on your quality score and what other people are willing to bid.
However, setting up a search engine marketing strategy is not as easy as it sounds. Let’s discuss how to develop an effective SEM strategy.
Develop SEM strategy
Before you get into paid advertising, decide why you want to spend money on SEM in the first place.
Do you want users to land on your website? Do you want users to download your latest application? Subscribe to your newsletter? Or maybe sign up for your services? Make sure your goal is clear so that you can set a strategy that aligns to your search engine marketing efforts.
Next, research the competition. Who are your competitors? Which conversion metrics do they target? Once you know who your competition is, you can plan a bid strategy that makes it easier for you to accomplish your campaign goals.
Lastly, decide on the advertising channels based on your goals, budget, and audience.
Choose your keyword or key phrases
One of the most critical and challenging SEM basics is to identify relevant keywords for your ads, because it triggers your ad to appear in relevant search results.
This includes researching and identifying the keywords you want your site to rank for in search results. This way, you can ensure that you invest in a keyword that can drive lots of valuable customers.
Also, you will be able to determine which keywords are best for your business, which you want to target, and their average cost-per-click in paid search.
Create your ad copy
Your advertising copy can make or break an ad campaign. It is essential that you write ad copy that not only grabs the attention of your target market but also generates leads.
Writing ad copy that generates leads is no easy task and takes time to get right. Follow the below tips for writing an amazing ad copy that attracts more users and increases your sales.
- Write solutions to their problems
- Speak to your audience
- Add promos, discounts, and benefits
- Keep it short and sweet
- Write an attractive CTA
- Use your target keyword in the headline and body
- Stand out from your competitors
- Correlate ads with your landing page
In PPC ads, you have limited characters and so there is no space for exaggerating anything. You have to be super specific and clear to make every single character worthy enough to make it on your ad.
Be creative, and test out different angles to see which one gets the best results.
Once you’re ready to invest in SEM, you’ll need to enter into an ad auction process. All ads go through this process before appearing alongside search results.
The ad auction considers two main factors when determining which ads to place on the SERP: maximum bid, and quality score.
The maximum bid is the maximum amount you have specified you are willing to pay every time one of your ads gets clicked.
The quality score is Google’s rating of your ads, keywords, and landing pages. It indicates how relevant an ad is and assigns a score from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best. The higher your quality score, the more likely your ad will perform well on SERPs.
Google calculates these metrics during the ad auction to determine the placement of advertisements on search engines. This calculation also decides your ad rank. This is your ad’s ranking position on the search engine results pages. An ad rank of 01 puts you in the top position on the SERPs.
If you want your ads to appear on top of search results, you need to bid on your target keywords. Some keyword research tools will provide you with an average cost per click (CPC) for your target keywords. You can adjust your bid based on ad performance at anytime.
Building a relevant landing page
Landing page relevance plays an important part in how Google Ads calculates your quality score. You have to make sure your landing page is relevant to your ad copy and keywords.
Bring value to your users and set up your landing pages for users to sign up for your newsletter or download your eBook. Here’s how your landing page can affect ad performance and overall budget:
- Improved ad position
- Improved quality score
- Increased links & authority
- Decreased bounce rate
Your ad campaign landing pages should be the focus of your optimizations, and you should aim to optimize your landing page for a better user experience.
Conduct SEM campaign analysis
The next step is to monitor your landing page and PPC campaigns. The most effective way to analyze your PPC campaigns is to regularly report the metrics most relevant to the specific goal of each individual ad campaign. You need to know which KPIs to look at to improve the performance of your campaigns.
- Quality score: Measure the user experience with the ads
- Impression share: Metrics are calculated based on the impressions an ad receives compared to the total number it could get.
- Click-through rate (CTR): Metrics are calculated by the number of clicks received on the ads per number of impressions.
- Conversions: The user performs the specified action after clicking an ad
How to create a Google ads campaign
AdWords is an advertising system developed by Google to help businesses reach their target markets through search engine marketing. It is a pay-per-click online advertising platform. It offers two basic ways to reach people:
1) Google Search Network
2) Google Display Network
Google ads appear in specific locations at the top and right-hand side of a search results page. You can show your Google ads to users who are actively searching for the keywords that you’ve targeted.
There are many PPC platforms for advertising but Google Adwords is one of the best platforms to reach your target audience. Let’s check out how you can generate leads using Google Adwords.
If you’ve decided to use Google AdWords, follow the below steps and create your 1st ad campaign.
- Create your Google ads account and add your new campaign.
- Choose what type of campaign you want to create:
- Search Network
- Display Network
- Universal App
- Choose your specific goal:
- Website traffic
- Select the way you’d like to reach your goal
- Enter your targeted geographic areas
- Select your bidding strategy (Manual: You can set your own cost-per-click (CPC) for your advertisement or Automated: Google adjusts your bids automatically based on collected data)
- Set your daily budget and select your payment option:
- Manual Payments: Pay before your ads run
- Automatic Payments: Pay after your ads run
- Monthly Invoicing: Google extends a line of credit to some qualified business owners
- Enter your targeted keywords
- Write an attractive and effective title and description
- Set up conversion tracking
Benefits of using SEM
Don’t miss a chance to reach your potential customers! Boost your business with these amazing SEM benefits.
- Increase brand awareness and visibility
- More qualified lead generation
- Measurable results
- Faster Results and Responses
- Generate More Website Traffic
- Improve the User Experience
- Remain Competitive
With the right ad copy and strategies in place, you’ll be able to see all these results of your ad.
Start your SEM strategy today
Now that you know what search engine marketing is and its benefits, it’s time to begin planning your SEM strategy and create your first ad campaign.
SEM is an integral part of your overall marketing strategy, particularly if you want to raise brand awareness and drive more traffic to your site in a short period of time. Search engine marketing has a tonne of potential to provide instant results, conversions, and more revenue.
Guest Author: I’m Jimit Dagli from Digitalzoop. I’m a digital marketer and content creator with a technology and marketing background, and I use innovative strategies to create digital content that is engaging and resonates with my audience. I work closely with businesses, providing digital marketing content that gains social media attention and increases search engine visibility.