June 22, 2020 By BriteIdea

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) 101

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Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is one of the most effective ways to grow your business and reach new customers in a consistently increasing competitive marketplace. While it is critical to have organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies to attract traffic over a long period of time, SEM will ensure your business stands above the competition. SEO and SEM can be confusing concepts to grasp. Think of SEO as earning traffic through unpaid listings and SEM as buying traffic through paid search listings. 


An Overview

SEM is the practice of marketing a business using paid advertisements that appear on search engine result pages. You will bid for keywords on search engines like Google and Bing, allowing your ads to appear alongside results for those search queries. SEM ads can come in many formats, such as text and shopping ads. SEM is a great way to reach customers who are primed to make a purchase decision at that exact moment. 



SEO is the optimization of your website to appear higher in search results. Online advertising allows you to send promotional messages to a targeted audience. SEM combines the benefits of both of these tactics to optimize for a higher search ranking, placing your site in front of a targeted audience that is more likely to convert. SEO is earned as businesses don’t pay Google for traffic or clicks, but instead, the company receives a spot in search results by having the most optimized site and relevant content based on the keyword search. Both SEO and SEM should be fundamental parts of your digital marketing strategy as they work best when working together.


Tips To Get Started

1. Choose the Right Search Engine for Your Business 

Google Ads and Bing Ads are the two most popular search engine platforms. Ask yourself:

Answering these questions can help you determine which search platform will be better suited to your business needs. Even more so, if you should use both. For example, if your target consumers are Millennials, then Google is where you’ll find them as it is the search engine they use most. 


2. Competitive Ad Copy is Key 

To ensure your ad stands out from the competitive noise, it is essential to write competitive ad copy that will entice your audience. Think about what makes your product or service different from the competition. Highlight and focus on that differentiating feature of your business. Also, use your keywords within your headline and description to further optimize your ad.  Don’t make your ad too lengthy, use two lines of your ad copy to convey why your offer is worth clicking. Like all ad copy, your search ads will benefit from A/B testing. Create multiple versions of each ad and experiment with what text gains the most traction. 


3. Negative Keywords

SEM ads are designed to appear after specific keywords are used in a search. While these keywords are essential, negative keywords could be equally as important to the success of your campaign. Negative keywords are terms that you can set to ensure your ad won’t appear alongside these searches. Setting negative keywords will help ensure the search engine is providing the most qualified and relevant impressions. If there is a product or service you do not offer, a geographical location you do not service or ship to, or your product and service could be confused for something irrelevant; then negative keywords are crucial. 


4. Don’t Go On Auto-Pilot 

One of the biggest mistakes to make with SEM is to not review your ad performance until the end of the month. It is vital to check in your ad’s performance to ensure it is performing well or make the necessary adjustments to optimize its performance. You may need to make tweaks like adding new keywords, removing keywords, adding negative keywords, raising, or lowering bids. If you wait until the end of the month to check your ads, you may end up spending your entire ad budget, while your campaign didn’t yield the results you wanted. Additionally, if you are new to SEM, it may be best to start small. When running several campaigns at the same time, it is easy to get lost in the mechanics of it all, which leaves little room for careful review or optimization. 


If you’ve run campaigns in the past or are just dipping your toes and looking for some help, you’re in luck! Our team of SEM specialists are experts and will crush your goals. Contact us today to learn more about how our team can help improve your SEM strategy!