By Laia Cardona, on 03 July 2019
What is search engine marketing? Definition, basic concepts and how you can use this to help your company.
SEM or search engine marketing is a very effective way to increase your presence in search engines and attract highly qualified traffic to your website. For companies, investing in SEM is a way to multiply their visibility and achieve quick marketing results. Search engine marketing provides us with a large number of marketing metrics on campaigns and allows us to know what is happening at all times. In this way, it is very easy to correct the course to get better results.
What is the SEM?
There are certain difficulties when it comes to defining what is the search engine marketing, on one hand there is the official definition of the term and on the other hand, the way in which marketing professionals really use it.
According to the official definition, search engine marketing includes all the tools, techniques and strategies that help us optimize the visibility of websites and web pages in search engines such as Google and other similar sites. We seek to appear among the first results when the user performs a search related to our brand.
Within these results, we can distinguish two types:
- The organic or natural results are usually displayed in the center of the page and are selected by Google applying a proprietary algorithm. This algorithm assesses both the relevance of the website (that is, the quality of its content and to what extent it fits a specific search) and the authority of the website (links from other pages).
- The paid results are usually displayed at the top of the page and in a column on the right. Unlike the previous ones, here the advertiser must pay a certain amount for each click on his ad. To hire advertising spaces in search engines, it is necessary to use platforms such as Google Ads.
In theory, the search engine marketing covers both types of results. But in practice, we call techniques aimed at improving organic positioning SEO and techniques aimed at appearing among the paid results SEM. To avoid confusion, from now on we will use the term SEM or search engine marketing only for the seconds.
Therefore, search engine marketing consists of a series of tools, techniques and strategies aimed at optimizing search engine advertising, seeking to appear among the top positions, get lower costs per click and maximize conversions derived from the ads. The most known and used SEM platform is Google Ads, but there are other solutions, such as Bing Ads for example.
Some basic concepts about search engine marketing.
- Keywords: are the terms that users enter in the search engines and that cause a particular ad or search result to be shown. They do not have to be single words, in fact, it is normal to use groups of words or phrases, such as "buy Nike shoes" or "what is the best accounting software".
- Concordance: when setting up a campaign in Google Ads, we must define the degree of correspondence between the keywords we have selected and the term that the user enters in the search engine. This is what is known as "concordance". For example, if we opt for a broad match, the ad will be displayed when the user searches for synonyms or terms similar to the keyword. With an exact match, the ad will appear only when the user enters the keyword without changes in the search engine.
- Text ad: is the standard ad type that is shown in search engines, although today we have more options, such as shopping ads. It usually includes a title, a visible URL that can be customized and a short description.
- Ad group: In Google Ads, an ad group consists of several ads that appear with the same keywords. In this way, we can see which are the most effective ads.
- Campaign: in Google Ads, the campaign is like the "umbrella" under which we organize different ad groups with similar goals. For example, if we have an online store of school supplies, one campaign could include ad groups on textbooks, another on backpacks and a third on drawing material.
- Page destination or landing page: the website to which the user is directed after having clicked on an advertisement. To achieve good results with search engine marketing, this web page must be optimized to get conversions or for users to perform a certain action (for example, completing a form to download an ebook). The keywords, the ad shown and the landing page should always be aligned to ensure a good user experience.
- Search Network: the places where your ads can appear. The most common is to work with search ads on the top and right of the results page, but we can also show them on other sites such as YouTube or Google Maps.
- Impressions: The number of times an ad was shown.
- Clicks: number of times an ad has been clicked
- CTR: percentage of clicks on total impressions.
- CPC: average cost per click.
- Quality Score: Score awarded by Google to ads and keywords and which influences your cost per click. This score is determined based on the relevance of the ad, the percentage of clicks obtained and the experience of the landing page. The objective of the system is that higher quality ads occupy higher positions and have a lower cost per click.
What value add does search engine marketing have for your business?
- Generate highly qualified traffic. Generating traffic organically can be a very long and tedious process, in which the results are only seen in the long term. Search engine marketing allows us to accelerate it and get users to our website from the beginning. In addition, we have the guarantee that these users are interested in what we offer, since they themselves have searched for it.
- Generate visibility. Appearing in the top positions of Google and other search engines, even if the user does not click, makes our brand go associated with a specific need.
- Generate conversions. In the end, the ultimate goal of Google Ads and other search engine marketing tools is to improve our business results. To do this, we will create optimized landing pages that put users on the path to conversion.
- Get the most out of your budget, whatever it may be. One of the great advantages of search engine marketing is that it is a suitable solution for companies of all sizes, since the minimum investment is very affordable. On the other hand, if your brand is growing, you can increase the investment and the complexity of your campaigns to keep growing. Also, since you only pay if you get results (in the form of clicks), you make sure that the budget is used to the maximum.
- Get measurable results and follow up in real time. Search engine marketing solutions such as Google Ads provide us with a large number of metrics on campaigns and allow us to know what is happening at all times. In this way, it is very easy to correct the course to get better results.
The search engine marketing or SEM has great potential to help companies achieve their goals quickly and scalable. To get the most out of it, the ideal is to have experts who have extensive experience positioning brands in Google.
If you want to take advantage of all the benefits of search engine marketing for your brand, get in touch with us!