If you've ever used Google (so, yes) you'll have come across Search Engine Marketing (also known as pay-per-click or PPC). It's a digital strategy that uses Google ads, search advertising and social media advertising to pop up when your prospective customer or client searches a term relating to your business, right next to the organic results. It's a way of getting people to your website using an effective paid avenue.
To see your business get a prime position on the search results page in ad form, you need to bid against your competitors and win. This is no average auction, however. There is a fine art to winning your ad position, while still ensuring your return (customer conversions) on investment (your bid) is worth it. You pay for every click to your website. This is incredibly worthwhile if your website is converting these clicks into customers, or future customers. It's easy to get caught up in a bidding war and overpay for weak leads or missed opportunities. That's where we come in. We are experts bidding, strategic design and placement to ensure we're cleverly using the full ecosystem of Google (beyond listing organically on page one, although this is equally important) so that you are receiving only quality, genuine customers to your website.
We create a campaign that has been correctly set up, continuously reviewed and optimised to provide a positive return on ad spend (ROAS) and a quality customer.
90% of Google searches are from people who are at the end of the 'buyer cycle'; meaning, they are ready to purchase or engage in your service.
There are a number of reasons SEM is an integral part of a successful digital marketing strategy:
Brand awareness – The higher you are on the SERP (search engine results page), the more prevalent the clicks to website. Ads rank above organic results; although this means that more quality content is technically found further down the page for the user, they are still more likely to click on the first few options if those options adequately match their search query. For example, ranking high for keywords that aren't quite what you offer is just going to result in a high bounce rate, and high frustration of a user. If you're using well researched keywords in your SEM efforts, however, you're going to be appropriately positioned for someone seeking exactly what you offer. Even if they don't immediately click, your business name will be top of mind, and your brand awareness growth accelerated.
Measured success – With SEM, you are able to analyse precise tracking for how well a campaign has worked in terms of how many clicks, cost per click and return on investment for conversions after click. Measuring this data and seeing what's working and what's not in a relatively short period of time means you can optimise keywords, spend and content accordingly in an efficient and cost-effective way that garners big results.
Advantage over competitors – By engaging in SEM activity, you are already getting ahead of competitors who are only putting efforts into organic SEO. As mentioned above, ads often appear above organic results and give SEM an opportunity to step in front of the competition and grab the attention of the user. It is even possible to rank higher than a competitor when their name is used in the search query.
Customer reach – With SEM you are able to effectively reach new customers who are in the prime position and mindset to buy, increasing traffic and quality leads to your website via means that would have otherwise seen a user go straight to a competitor.
SEM is Search Engine Marketing, and is the use of paid means to appear on search engine result pages (SERPs). Advertisers bid on the keywords, and the more popular a search term is, the greater the bid, typically. These ads are charged per click (Pay-Per-Click, or PPC), and this rate scales with the bid. In general terms, anyone can engage their business in SEM. However, throwing money at an ad is often not the best strategy - having any old ad up top is fairly fruitless if the type of ad, the messaging and the branding has not been considered and strategised. The types of ads can differ depending on the product or service you have.
SEM covers purely paid means to advertise on a search engine result page.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) can include SEM, though it extends to paid and organic (unpaid) means to rank on SERPs. Organic SEO is to optimise, create, acquire, analyse and monitor content and data on your website.
SEM is a vital part of your digital marketing strategy, though needs to be managed and implemented carefully and with a strong holistic strategy behind it.
Paid ads are ranked above organic search results, and although people searching for answers to their questions and queries can see that these are ads, they remain incredibly effective. However, SEM can only be as good as the website and landing page your ads lead to. So, SEM is important, in conjunction with other digital tools.
The goal of SEM is to get your message, service and/or product in front of the people searching with questions and queries that you can answer for them. Organically ranking for a strong SERP, while valuable and vital, can be a long process and a good amount of effort and work. SEM allows you to rank immediately in that ad space while SEO organically ticks along.
It also allows you to promote specifically-focussed ads, such as promotions, sales or new products and additional services.