Why Search Engine Marketing Strategies Are Essential for Businesses of All Sizes
If you think search engine marketing strategies are all about SEO, think again.
SEO is just one part of leveraging search engines as a marketing tool, and you shouldn't rely on it alone.
Maybe you think that you don't have the budget to compete with the businesses that dominate your industry. The truth is that a smart strategy, small budget, and perseverance are all you need to compete for search engine rankings.
You don't have to be the biggest fish in the sea. Let's take a look at why SEM strategies are essential for businesses of all sizes.
What is SEM?
SEM stands for search engine marketing. This used to be an umbrella term that covered any kind of marketing that involved search engines.
As digital marketing has evolved, the term search engine marketing has been separated from search engine optimization.
While SEO is a channel to gain organic ranking within a SERP, SEM refers to paid advertising placed within search engines.
Each search engine has it's own advertising tool, the most popular being Google Adwords.
Why Are Search Engine Marketing Strategies Essential?
A healthy search engine marketing strategy should be split between SEO and SEM.
While the SEO strategy for a business is playing out constantly, SEM can be used to achieve specific and measurable results within a defined time frame.
While some businesses shy away from using SEM in their campaigns, there are a number of key benefits of SEM that outweigh SEO for businesses of all sizes.
It Gets Immediate Results
Getting onto the first page of Google is really the whole point of search engine optimization as click-throughs drop off dramatically after this. The only issue with SEO is that it's not a quick fix to anything.
Getting an organic first-page ranking will boost your brand awareness and trust with your customers, but you have to work hard for it for around 6 months to a year.
Paid SEM ads allow you to start using search as an effective advertising channel straight away while you chip away at your organic SEO ranking.
SEM Makes You More Competitive
SEM allows you to compete with businesses that outrank you in SEO. Because SEO takes a long time to show results, paid advertising allows your business to start competing against bigger businesses by placing higher bids on the right keywords.
This means that you can see how well those keywords perform and add them to your SEO strategy as well.
Increase Brand Awareness
While it is mostly thought of as a conversion channel, SEM can also help with brand awareness. According to a study run by Google, paid search ads lifted top-of-mind awareness by 80%.
SEM can also be used as a strategy to expose you to your competitor's audience. It allows you to search out the audience that is already looking for your product and place yourself in front of them.
SEM Gives You More Control
SEM allows you to channel traffic to a landing page designed for a specific task, like an email sign up or online purchase.
You can create a more narrow target audience with Google Adwords which is difficult to achieve with SEO. SEO is more top of funnel focused to get your website to rank in search engines instead of getting a specific task achieved or page to display.
What this means is that SEM can take customers straight to the end of your sales funnel.
SEM is also more measurable than SEO. While it can be hard to measure the actual return on your SEO investment, SEM allows you to measure the exact amount of clicks and conversions that came from your ad budget.
You can choose your budget which means you can get started with paid ads with a budget of just a few dollars. This breaks down the entry barrier for small start-up businesses.
Being able to A/B different designs and calls to action are powerful ways to improve your messaging. You can do this by running variations of the same ad to the same audience within search engines to see which one gets the best results.
SEM is a Seamless Advertising Option
SEM is a form of native advertising, meaning that the ads within a search engine appear to be the same as the other content on the website.
While the ads within search engines are marked as ads, they are displayed the same way as the other search results.
Banner blindness is a real thing in the world of online advertising. People are becoming more and more blind to online advertising.
Online users are bombarded with 1,700 banner ads every month but only see about half of them. This happens as our brains start to associate certain screen space with marketing messages.
This makes native advertising a much more effective form of marketing as it appears to be a genuine message instead of an advert.
Use PPC to Drive ROI
Price per click means that you only pay when your ad is clicked on. This means that it's up to you to create a webpage that converts, but you don't have to worry about futile ad spend.
This can help you narrow down leaks in your sales funnel. If your messaging drives a lot of clicks but your website bounce rate is high, you can identify that the weak link in your funnel is your landing page and not your messaging.
Where to Now?
The world of online advertising is constantly evolving. It seems like every day there is a new development that is crucial to the success of a business. This can very quickly become overwhelming.
It's important not to burn out trying to manage every aspect of your search engine marketing strategies alone. Feel free to get in touch with me for professional and confident advice on your digital strategies.