Search engine marketing: what is it and how to do it effectively?

Have you ever wondered why everywhere you look you see ads?  Whether you look at the Search Engine Results Page, websites, or social media platforms, you’re assured to run into ads.

Advertisements are a great way for businesses to improve their online presence and market their products.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is among the best methods to expand your company and find fresh consumers.

That’s why in this article, I’ll talk about what is search engine marketing (SEM) and how to create your SEM strategy.

What is search engine marketing?

It is a process of promoting your company with the help of paid ads that show on search engine platforms. For example, these are the ads that popped up when I searched for “shoes for men” on Google.

Search ads that showed up for a query “shoes for men”

You select and bid on keywords that people might look up on search platforms like Google and Bing regarding your offerings. 

The advertisements that appear on search engines are most commonly known as pay-per-click (PPC) ads and are of multiple types.

A few might be smaller in size and only contains text, while some are much more graphic in nature. For example, the product ads show necessary details about the product like cost, brand name, and ratings.

Benefits of search engine marketing

As you already might know that it’s important to use organic SEO to get more users over a long time. But often you’ll also need to invest capital to promote for a shorter duration. This is where search engine marketing can come in handy.

The biggest advantage of SEM is that it lets you target prospects at the right time. It allows you to display your ad to potential consumers just when they are willing to buy something.

Another benefit of search engine marketing is that it provides immediate results. As soon as you start running an ad campaign, you can begin driving traffic to your site. This particularly helps if you’re offering an exclusive discount or having a seasonal sale on your products or services.

With this, you can place ads that show how much discount you’re offering or any other limited-time benefits to bring traffic and potentially boost sales. No other advertising medium can offer this many capabilities. This is why SEM is marketers’ first choice to grow their businesses.

How to create an SEM strategy?

It is not that complex to create an SEM strategy. Its basics include:

  • Deciding your keywords 
  • Writing an ad
  • Building good landing pages

So, let’s look at these and some other things you have to keep in mind while developing your marketing strategy.

Keyword research

Keywords are the lifeblood of any marketing activity. They are the triggers to show your ad when someone searches a query containing a particular keyword.

They are also used to decide how much you’d have to pay to search platforms if a person clicks on your ad.

Keyword research is a must for search engine marketing. It lets you ensure that your ad shows up only when someone searches for a similar product or service. You wouldn’t want to waste your precious marketing budget on random clicks that don’t convert.

Writing your ad

After you’ve selected your keywords, next comes the ad. You have to ensure that your ad’s content is tempting (but realistic) so that the users looking up your keywords click on it. This is a challenge for two reasons:

  • There is a limit on how many characters you can use for your ad headings and content
  • You have to be sure you’re offering brief and precise descriptions in your ad so that only suitable users click on it

Ad copywriting is an art. You have to convey as much information as possible using the least number of words. It might take you a while to write a good ad copy, or you can also hire a freelancer on platforms like Upwork and Fiverr to write one for you.

Homepage of Fiverr to hire freelancers for search engine marketing

Landing pages

After clicking an ad, the search engine will direct users to a landing page. The landing page offers a lot of details about your product or service, and it should answer all of the questions visitors might have.

If your landing page fails to provide important information to people, you’ll see a high bounce rate and also squander your marketing budget.

Think about local searches

According to BrightLocal’s Local Consumer Survey 2023, 98% of their respondents said they used the internet to find information about a local business in the last year.

Image Source: BrightLocal

That’s why if you’re offering your services or goods in local demographics, paid search campaign provides an amazing opportunity to be found by potential local customers.

To direct your campaign in this direction, choose the local store visits & promotion option in Google Ads when creating your campaign.

Google Ads campaign objectives with an arrow pointed toward local store visits

After selecting this option and continuing with the campaign creation, you’ll come across the target location option. Here you can specify which locations you want to target.

Location targeting options in Google Ads

Competitor analysis

The next thing you can do to better your marketing campaign is to see what your competitors are doing. It is a clever method to examine their initiatives and use this knowledge in your marketing plan.

By analyzing your competitors, you can learn about their target keywords, bidding tactics, and ad copy. You can use Semrush to measure your marketing tactics against your competitors and SpyFu to see how they are writing their ad content.

SpyFu’s homepage to research how competitors write their ad copies

A/B testing

A/B testing is a flexible marketing strategy that allows you to identify the best textual and graphical approach for an initiative.

When evaluating search engine advertisements, you have to pick which aspect you want to check. For instance, you can compare two separate headings, ad copy, or CTAs on sections of your target prospects.

Google’s search engine marketing ads preview on different devices

Image Source: Google

After that, evaluate the outcomes and find which of these ads encouraged users the most. Then, use this version for all of your prospects.

Final thoughts

Businesses that desire growth utilize their ad spending efficiently. Search engine marketing is among the top methods to use the marketing budget because it helps you reach out to your target prospects.

The expansion of SEM in past years helped companies get many opportunities. The only thing you have to do is keep improving your tactics. 

As you get better at crafting, handling, and optimizing your marketing initiatives, you’ll see that search engine marketing offers better ROI than any other traditional marketing campaign.