What is Search engine marketing (SEM)?
Search engine marketing is one form of internet marketing but it differs in its scope, targets and budgets from its parent medium (internet marketing). Search engine marketing is adopted to drive targeted traffic to the website by advertising on search engines. This includes participating in Pay Per Click (PPC) programs and banner advertisement programs specifically with search engines. Yahoo introduced another form of search marketing that apparently looks like organic search results but you’re charged something around $200 for instant inclusion in yahoo organic search results for your desired keywords. Like all other conventional and internet based marketing strategies, SEM needs you do some homework before just going and paying the search engines.
Search engine marketing (SEM) Process
SEM process is simple but still needs you research your target audience, behavior of majority searchers and geographical application of your products and services. Just like organic SEO, Search engine marketing starts with keyword research. Yes, choosing the right keywords for your Search engine marketing campaigns hold the key to success and conversion ratio. Since you pay for each visitor sent to your site, so generic targets and wide spectrum search results will cost you more and less conversion ratio whereas specific keywords generate you less traffic but at the same time cost you less money and receive better quality traffic. There are many online keyword research tools which can help you better understand your audience and gear your SEM campaign the right direction for example Keyword Selector Tool, Google Keyword Suggestion, Word Tracker and many more. After choosing the right keywords, tie them up with geographical boundaries of your business operations. For example, an internet service provider (ISP) located in Los Angeles, may not be able to provide services in Chicago or New York. Let’s more discuss this example to better understand the geographical implications in Search engine marketing. You advertise on T1, VOIP or Broadband keywords and are operational only in LA. What if someone from Minnesota, Ohio, Boston or Toronto searches for the same keyword, clicks your ad but eventually can’t give you a sale just because you cannot render services in that specific area. So binding the geo boundaries with your selected keywords is also very important factor directly affecting the performance of your Search engine marketing campaign.
Negative Keywords & SEM
One has to be very careful in marketing on search engines and must be very specific with the keywords. Once done with short listing your keywords and geo boundaries, take a critic look again on your list. In most of the cases you will find some damaging factors too in your keywords. Surprised??? Let’s consider the ISP example again. What if the ISP is gearing its services only towards corporate clients and policy is not to entertain home based service buyers. One goes over to search engines, types for “broadband” and finds your ad in the sponsored search results. Clicks through your website, contacts your company and after a phone call you discover that your company is cannot close the deal with this prospect. While preparing your campaigns in search engines for Search engine marketing, critically focus on possible negative key phrases that could directly affect your SEM budgets and resources consumption. You may not know all the negative keywords in the first step. But continuous monitoring and research should make you aware of maximum possible negative factors.
Benefits of Search engine marketing (SEM)
A strong SEM campaign devised by an experienced Search engine marketing expert can definitely lead specially a new business towards rapid success. Without spending the fortune for organic SEO and waiting for months to let search bots crawl and index your website, you pay a fraction of money for a potential lead. Not only this, Search engine marketing is a great tool for branding the products or services. Even if you’re not making bunch of deals a day, but your services are being exposed to tons of searchers. So as a bi-product, Search engine marketing can be your first step towards brand development.