The Basics of Search Engine Marketing

search engine marketing

Do you own a business and a website? Chances are agencies have approached you through email or personal contact asking you to spend money on search engine marketing (SEM). And in most cases, such emails sound more like a scam or a magical process stuffed with many acronyms.

In simple terms, search engine marketing is about purchasing advertising from Google or another search engine company for your business. They will be the ones to merge your ads with search results when users use words that imply interest in your products or services through searching. For example, if you are selling vacuums online, and a user is searching for vacuums, your ad will appear on the same page as the results for vacuums.

Compared to search engine optimisation (SEO), which optimises your website for higher ranking in Google results, SEM is “buying your way into search engine results.” But the goal that both of these methods share is getting people to your business website.

For your ad to be successful, a search user must click on it directing them to your website (click-through) and then buy your product or service (conversion to sale). This is the end goal of search engine marketing. And the following terms are some of the concepts and parameters that you need to learn and understand before you finally decide on buying advertising.

Ad copywriting and campaign setup. Effective marketers always consider variables such as ad copy testing, budgeting, competition and positioning strategies, content and search syndication, and match types.

Budget forecasting and keyword researching. Advertisers must choose the right keywords to match what users search for in search engines. Usually, popular keywords cost higher than the other keywords. You are advised to research, analyse, and estimate hit ratios.

Cost per action. An alternative to reduce the problem of people clicking just to get paid. With CPA, the advertiser pays only if a customer clicks through and buys a product or filling out a web form. It is called pay per lead (PPL) or pay per action (PPA) for the display side.

Cost per click. In CPC, advertisers do not pay for each ad appearance, but only when users click on the ad, redirecting them to the website of the advertiser. This is called pay per click (PPC) for sites displaying the ads.

Cost per impression. Such a cost model, CPI, is mostly like the traditional advertising namely television and newspaper. Advertisers pay for each page-view or ad appearance (impression) on a search result page even if users don’t pay attention to it. This is pay per mile (PPM) or pay per impression (PPI) per thousand impressions for Google.

Performance reporting. Getting the most results for the least cost is what advertising is all about. And to measure the success of your strategies, tracking your campaign from click to transaction through detailed reports helps.

If an agency carries out search engine marketing the right way, your business will likely profit in the future. Make sure you hire an experienced and skilled service provider as they only apply the best SEM practices.

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