Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is one form of online marketing, applied to the search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo … Nowadays, with the development of technology, online service seriously contributes to the changing of buyer habitual shopping. Due to its fast, convenient and comfortable features of online shopping, buyers start to shop more online rather than in-store. Before transactions, they highly engage in searching activities to compare and contrast between brands, services or products. That is the reason why SEM service is born and many businesses adopt SEM strategy to increase sales as well as company’s performance.
In the internet marketing tree model, we can see that SEM is stated in the first branch (from the bottom to the top and the left to the right), this represents important role of SEM in inbound marketing. SEM is considered as the internet marketing channel which is used to attract customer’s attention directly. How does SEM work to attract customers?
SEM is divided into 2 separate small channels: SEO (Organic Search) and Paid Search.
Green Box is shown SEO results and Red Boxes are shown Paid Search results on Google search engine. Previously, I had never clicked on the Red Boxes, I thought it contains virus or links to some bad pages. For those who have the same thoughts like me, feel free to click now!
1. Organic search is list of websites that match someone’s search phrase. No one can pay to have their website show up in these results. Organic search (SEO) does not mainly contain advertising results. Therefore, it is not surprising that most searchers click on the organic results. According to HubSpot statistics, over 70% of people click on the organic search results, while only 30% are likely to click on the paid links. To know more about SEO, please visit my Search Engines Optimized (SEO) blog!
2. Paid Search is list of ads that match someone’s search phrase. Advertisers can pay to have their ads show based on the keywords and targeting methods they’ve chosen and the ads they’ve created.
For the rest of the blog, I will focus on how Paid Search works, and how it benefits businesses.
In Google search, Paid Search works based on keywords, bids, and Quality Score.
- Keywords: the words or phrases you choose that can trigger your ad to show on search and other sites. The more specific you are, the more chances your ads are triggered to show on other sites across the Internet.
- Your bid: the maximum amount you’re willing to spend.
- Quality Score: a measurement of the quality of your ads, keywords, he quality of your landing page and website.
In Bing Search, Your ad position is based on several things, including:
- How closely your ad and website fit with the terms that are searched (relevance)
- How your bid compares to other bids in the Bing Ads auction (bid based on how much you are willing to pay per each click on your ad)
- How strongly your ad has performed in the past and how often it has been clicked (click-through rate)
- The stronger you are in these areas, the better your chances of winning the top ad position.
Overall, Bid expenditures play crucial role to decide your ads rankings. There are three options that you can choose based on your budget and your Paid Search strategy.
- Cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM): The number of times your ad shows.
- Cost-per-aquisition (CPA): Each time people take a specific action on your website after clicking on one of your ads.
- Cost-per-click (CPC): The average price you pay each time someone clicks on your ad. Avg. CPC is useful when you want to compare the performance of different keywords, campaigns, ads, etc. Also referred to as: pay-per-click. [ Avg. CPC ] = [ Cost ] / [ Clicks ]
To maximize your Paid Search advantages, the first thing you need to ensure is your goal. What is your goal for each ad? Depending on your goal, you will have different tactics to achieve your goal.
1. If goal is increasing traffics to your websites, you should focus on increasing your clicks, and clickthrough rate, maintaining good keyword performance, and reviewing your search terms. For this goal, cost-per-click option is best suited.
2. If you want to increase sales or other types of conversions, you need to choose relevant destination URLs and try to increase conversion rates. Cost-per-aquisition option is a good option for this strategy.
3. If raising brand awareness is your primary concern, you need to increase impressions, customer engagement, reach and frequency. Cost-per-thousand-impressions option is recommended.
4. If your goal is growing your return-on-investment (ROI), you first need to start measuring conversions, and then evaluate your ROI to make sure that the dollars you spend on advertising are turning into profits for your business. You can use cost-per-aquisition option.
More even harshly than SEO, if your ad is not in customer’s sights and not appealing to them, they will never scroll down to find your ads or click on your ads. Hence, you have to well prepare your content and your ads to compete with other competitors. Here are some useful tips that you can apply to your Paid Search strategy to differentiate your ad pages to your competitors.
- Old tactic, but extremely helpful! A/B testing! Testing and optimizing your landing pages: Paid search is a great way to do landing page A/B testing because it allows you to direct traffic to your choice of pages, split this traffic to different pages, and ultimately find the pages that convert at the highest rate.
- Remember that paid search can’t stand alone! You should combine paid search strategy with organic search to maximize SEM efficiency.
- Always find new keywords for your campaign!
In a nutshell, when you implement SEM strategy in your inbound marketing. You have to make sure that you have good connection between organic search and paid search. You need to pay more attention and efforts on choosing your keywords on Paid Search rather than SEO. Lastly, building successful SEM plan is not an easy thing for various problems. Keep trying and making awesome stuff!