Search engine marketing is significant for brands, regardless of their size, products, and other factors. So, what is search engine marketing? What are the benefits of Search engine marketing? And what are the important SEM tools available today?

We’ll cover all these aspects below. Let’s start with getting to know about Search engine marketing.

What is Search Engine Marketing?

Search engine marketing (SEM) is a very vast concept of online marketing. SEM requires a wide variety of paid strategies used to build a brand’s online presence.

Search Engine Marketing allows businesses to bring traffic from search engine result pages (SERPs) to a specific domain. To be able to do this, there are many techniques and tools that brands need to use.

Earlier, search engine marketing was used to refer to paid as well as organic strategies, however, now the term is used to describe only paid strategies- mainly through ads. And the most common tool used to execute paid ads is Google Ads.

Brands use SEM for ads that appear on top of the search result pages as shown below. According to Business2Community research, in Q1 of 2019, the click-through rate for ads increased by 75% and stood at 3.69%.

If you look closely, these top search results have the ‘Ad’ tag attached to them, which indicates these brand domains are competing for the same audience for a specific search query.

  • The ad format for SERP contains the following information:
  • Ad heading
  • Ad description
  • Url of the advertiser
  • Therefore, some of the important parameters to keep in mind while creating your ad copies are as follows:
    • Include high-performing keywords in your ads.
    • Mention your user’s problems and how your products or services will benefit them.
    • Include prices and promotions when relevant.
    • Have a clear call-to-action text present on your ad copy.
    • Make use of ad extensions.
    • Mention numbers or any stats that will grab the viewer’s attention. For example, take a look below at the ad which mentions the huge adoption of the brand through numbers and receives users’ trust.
  • One thing to note here is that search engine marketing is not only used to increase the web page’s visibility but also to show products in the featured section on the page. Therefore, eCommerce makes heavy use of SEM.
  • For example, go to the search bar and type in any keyword like  ‘buy Adidas shoes’. You will see a list of ads competing for the same keywords in the product featured section too. Take a look below.
  • When you set up the ad campaign using search engine marketing, you’d need to go through the following procedure:
  • Do thorough keyword research and choose the set of keywords that are highly relevant to your website and products.
  • Choose the geographic location of your users where you want to display the ad.
  • Create the content for the ad which includes the ad heading and description.
  • Some of the common terms to understand SEM ad campaigns:
    • Click-through-rate
      Click-through rate (also abbreviated as CTR) is the number of clicks your ad campaign receives. The users go to the dedicated landing page when they click on it.
    • Impressions
      Ad impressions are the number of times your ad appeared in the search results. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the viewer has actually seen the ad.
    • Cost-per-click (CPC)
      As the name itself suggests, cost-per-click is the amount that a brand pays when a visitor clicks on the ad.
    • Cost per mille(CPM )  (also called cost per thousand)
      Cost per mille is the amount you would pay just to be visible for the first thousand impressions on search engine result pages.
  • Benefits of Search Engine Marketing
  • Why do businesses need Search Engine Marketing at all?
  • Here is the list of benefits that come with using search engine marketing.
  • Builds brand awareness on SERPs
  • If you are using organic search strategies or SEO, it can easily take from months to a year to rank on SERPs. You can play around with this time period to less or more, depending on the strategies you are implementing and how consistent you are in SEO. It would still take time to get visibility as every domain is competing with yours.
  • Therefore, doing search engine marketing will make your website visible in much less time. The search engine will place your ad on the top or bottom of the search result page. In fact, you can make it visible on the same day you make your ads live. This will prove to be useful for emerging brands and startups in getting brand recognition.
  • Generate predictable revenue
  • As ads on SERPs take you to the dedicated landing page (for example, a sign-up page, the product pages on eCommerce sites, etc.), you can generate revenue for every added purchase through clicks on your Google ads.
  • Search engine marketing lets you predict the revenue from Google Ads you run.
  • You can use the following formula to calculate the CPM.
  • Divide the total earnings from Google Ads for a specific time period by the total number of ad impressions for the same period. And, multiply the result by 1000.
  • Your business grows with SEM and vice-versa
  • Search engine marketing is easy to implement when you are at a growing stage. You can create multiple ad copies to get better visibility.
    As and when your business grows with each and every click you receive on your ads, your search engine marketing grows too.
  • Once the revenue starts increasing, you can increase the number of ads and their frequencies. You can test multiple ads, select the ones that perform the best, choose your ad spend on a daily basis, and so on.
  • SEM takes you to the right audience in the right place
  • With search engine marketing you are competing with users that search for services like yours and your competitors. Your search ads are displayed to people who are actually looking for them. Which makes it simple to understand how effective it could be to reach your target audience. The more targeted audience you reach, the more you increase conversions.
  • Using search engine marketing, you have the freedom to decide in which geographic location you want your ads to show up. You can select countries, any specific areas within a country, any radius around a specific location, and much more.
    Implementing SEM for your online marketing ensures that you are not targeting the broader spectrum of your audience, instead, the ones that would yield the maximum value.  
  • SEM provides a competitive advantage over others
  • Let’s assume, there are chances that your competitors might be doing exceptionally good in their SEO efforts and ranking on top.
  • However, doing SEO is not an easy thing. In fact, SEO experts know how tough it is to rank a page on the top search results. The websites can even take years to start showing on the first ranks in SERPs.
  • Using search engine marketing, you can outperform your competitor’s SEO efforts. And, the benefits of search engines will be manifold, if your competitor is not using paid ads. With the right SEM strategy and compelling ad copy, you are certain of reaping advantages over your competitors.
  • Search engine marketing is less expensive than Traditional Advertising
  • Search engine marketing is far less expensive than your traditional marketing requirements. In fact, it’s 61% less expensive than traditional marketing. It’s an online mode of marketing, therefore, you have better controls over what you want to display, for how long you want to run ads, and how quickly to remove ads that are not performing well.
  • Some of the benefits of search engine marketing over traditional marketing are as follows:
    • You spend what your business can afford using SEM, unlike the hefty dollars that brands need to spend on traditional marketing like billboards, tv commercials, and so on.
    • Search engine marketing allows you to target and reach the audience of your preference, regardless of your organization's size. Whereas, in traditional marketing, it’s often the old and established market players that play the game.
    • Search engine marketing makes your marketing efforts more accurate as you know the audience, their geo-locations, and the varied demographics. On the other hand, traditional marketing is vague in nature. You have to spend millions and still don’t know if it’s going to work out for the set time period and generate revenues.
    • Search engine marketing gives you instant results and you don’t need to wait for a longer time to understand the campaign performance, unlike traditional marketing. Which can even take months to show results.