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6 Reasons Why SEM Is Important For Your Business



What is SEM?


SEM is search engine marketing. This is the process of promoting your website by making it more visible in search engine results pages (SERPs) through paid advertising.


Still not sure what that means? Try opening Google and searching for a product or service. If you’re using an ad blocker, turn it off for now too.


The first thing you’ll see in most of your search results isn’t going to be an organic website. Instead, it’s an ad – and Google will mark it as such.


That ad is actually an example of SEM in action. Through that, you can already see why it can be useful to businesses. In fact, we’d even say most businesses should be using it.


If you want to learn more about why SEM is important today, we’ll take you over the main reasons you should use it. We’ll also throw in some tips on how to improve SEM afterwards!



Why You Need SEM for Your Business


There are a host of benefits that come with what some call “SEM marketing” (yes, that’s a redundant term). Here are the top reasons you should consider using SEM:


1. To Deliver Instant Visibility


You probably already figured this out after trying a Google search as recommended earlier. SEM is great for quick visibility because paid search ads are at the top of the SERPs.


Compare that to using SEO to get to that top position. It often takes months to achieve it. But with a good ad, SEM can propel you to that position in as little as a day.


This isn’t to say that SEO isn’t worth it. We’ve written about the importance of SEO before, especially for small businesses. SEM is simply a good supporting strategy for it, as it acts much faster and can make up for the time your SEO strategy needs to take effect.


SEM is arguably the quickest way to rank first in the SERPs for a lot of situations. Provided your keyword bid is high and the quality score is good, you can easily get to the top of the ad section in Google and other search engines.


And even if you’re labelled as an ad, it doesn’t matter. A lot of people who need quick answers or solutions will still click on it because they consider results from the search engines to be trustworthy.



2. To Generate Targeted Traffic


SEM is also effective for businesses that want to reach specific customers based on their search intentions.


That’s because most search engines allow you to apply strong targeting to ads. For example, you can make your ads appear only to consumers who are searching keywords closely related to your products/services. Most people also use search engines to look for answers to questions. This can be an opportunity to gather leads and generate new business.


As long as you make an ad targeting those people and a good website with relevant keywords, you can pick up quite a bit of traffic through SEM… which brings us to the next point.



3. To Bring in Qualified Leads


Remember: one benefit of the pay-per-click (PPC) ad is that you only pay for the traffic that actually landed and click on your website.


Apply this to SEM and what does it mean? That you can invest your money in getting qualified leads with the intent to buy.


When people with high intent search for the terms you’ve targeted, you can grab them right from the SERPs. You just have to bid enough for your ad to make it visible, of course.



4. To Do Conversion-focused Marketing


Although a purchase is often the primary goal, other sorts of conversions shouldn't be overlooked because they are useful as well.


Other conversions that marketers may be trying to achieve include form submissions, newsletter signups, and new subscribers.


SEM is a crucial conversion driver for marketing efforts of all kinds. After all, paid ads are frequently linked to landing pages that focus on converting visitors into customers.


Conversions enable businesses to distinguish between visitors who are interested in their items and those who are not. Businesses can also use conversions to find issues with their website or marketing funnels.



5. To Get Trackable Results


Remember how we talked about SEM getting you targeted traffic? Relevant to that, you can also get trackable results on SEM that feed further into your targeting.


You can track many things in search engines. There are various metrics to identify user behaviour and track key performance indicators (KPIs) that reflect business goals.


For instance, you can track user behaviour such as how much traffic your site gets, average time users are spending at your page, and the site’s bounce rate. Or you can use KPIs like cost per click (CPC), cost per thousand impressions (CPM or cost per mille), impressions (percentage), and conversion rates.


By analyzing all this data, monitoring traffic, and discovering search intent, you can see patterns in search terms. For example, you can start seeing which ads receive the most clicks. Or you can monitor links between copy tone and success based on the number of conversions for each variation of your base ad.


All of this gives you data-driven insight that you can use to better your marketing in a feedback-improvement loop. With the right SEM strategies, for example, you can even improve the bounce rate and overall ranking of your site.



6. To Build Brand Awareness


SEM is especially crucial for small businesses because it can increase brand awareness in current and new markets.


For one thing, appearing in relevant searches via SEM helps build your brand and bring new customers onboard, as quickly and efficiently as possible.


For another, SEM can expand your reach and help you establish brand identity in the market. By pushing you to the top of the SERPs instantly, it gives you higher brand value and starts making you recognisable.



How to Improve SEM


Now you can see why SEM is important. Whether you’re raring to have a go at it for the first time or improve what SEM you’ve already started, here are some key tips first for various aspects of your campaign.


Budget


You’re probably wondering if you need a lot of money for SEM to work.


Honestly, it’s helpful to have a big budget but it’s not a guarantee that you’ll get what you want with it or that you need to spend a lot of it to set up ads each time.


You see, it depends on what you’re targeting.


For instance, in Google Ads, advertisers have to state the amount they’re willing to spend to bid for specific keywords.


If the keywords you’re looking to buy are also within someone’s search terms, that’s when you enter into what's called an auction and money starts playing a serious role.


If the keywords you’re targeting aren’t very competitive – that is, no one else is trying to buy them – you can actually get by with modest bids.


Quality Score


Google and other search engines evaluate the quality score of your search ads before approving them and deciding where to position them.


The value that determines the answers here is called “Ad Rank”. Here are the factors assessed on your end to get it, as per Google:


  • Your bid amount

  • Your auction-time ad quality

  • Ad relevance

  • Landing page experience

  • The competitiveness of an auction


Note that we say “on your end” because other factors come into play from the consumer’s or searcher’s end (like his location, device, time of search, etc.).


The most important thing to remember here is probably that Ad Rank – and thus, ad prominence – isn’t solely dependent on your bid amount.


Google itself has this to say about it: “So, even if your competition has higher bids than yours, you can still win a higher position at a lower price by using highly relevant keywords and ads.”


Landing Pages


As just stated, landing page or LP experience and relevance can make a difference in your Ad Rank.


So, make your LP as specific and as relevant as possible to the keywords you’re targeting!


Remember that users are directed immediately to the LP when they click on the ad. If they find uninteresting or irrelevant content, they’ll leave.


That leads to a high bounce rate and also reduces the Ad Rank as calculated by Google. This may well lower your ad’s placement and result in you needing to pay more as your cost per click goes up.


Optimisation


It’s important to monitor and optimise all of your marketing efforts constantly for better results.


Trends change, new insight appears, audience needs shift – all of that means you have to be ready to tweak your SEM at any moment.


Among other things, check if your ad and LP content are addressing your ideal visitor’s needs.


You should also try testing and optimising the LP to see how quickly it loads. To that end, consider running A/B testing to see which version of it also performs better.


Finally, try experimenting with several calls to action or CTAs to see which ones actually lead to more conversions for your ad.



Begin your SEM campaign now!


SEM clearly has a wealth of benefits for most businesses. It’s pretty much a given, along with SEO, if you want a multifaceted online marketing strategy.


You can even see how it plays a part in our recommended digital marketing strategy for business owners in our previous article discussing SEO vs PPC.


That said, many people don’t feel comfortable doing their own SEM at first. That’s understandable, as the prospect of organising paid ads and bidding for their places can seem daunting.


We can help. Most of our clients request SEM from us and we’ve executed more than our share of such strategies successfully. So, feel free to contact us for a chat about your digital marketing needs.


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