What Is Search Engine Marketing?
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is the practice of improving the ranking of your website in the organic search engine results.
Getting placed in a high position in the rankings for particular search terms mainly depends on having quality website content relevant to the search query. It also depends on how that content is organized and presented, both on the page and within your website’s overall structure. Other factors also affect how well a page might rank, particularly the quality and quantity of ‘back-links – links from other websites that are directed to yours. Back-links serve as signals to Google and the other search engines, letting them know that a particular site has ‘voted’ for yours. Generally speaking, the more back-links your website receives, and the more influential a website the ‘vote’ has come from, the more Google and the search engines will notice and push your website higher in the organic search results.
Why Is SEM Important?
Consumers use search engines to navigate for products and services they are seeking. Like PPC (pay per click) advertising, SEM will help your website appear in these search results, allowing potential customers to find your business. Research shows that having your website appear in both the paid (PPC) and organic (SEO) listings has a greater beneficial effect than the sum of each combined. This strategy can be explained by the increased respect and authority given to your brand by searchers because your brand is more dominant in the search results. Especially at the beginning of any internet marketing campaign, it’s necessary to use both in lock-step because typically, it takes weeks for your organic SEM to get traction.
The Lifecycle of Search Engine Marketing: Cost-Effective vs. Cost Efficient
Search Engine Marketing can be a process of building the credibility and relevance of your website over time. The results are not often immediate. Thus SEM is seen as a long-term marketing strategy. And while results may not be visible for 6-12 months, SEO is still a precious marketing technique to focus on. Once you achieve the effects, it can be a very cost-effective and sustainable traffic source for your website.
The analogy I always give my clients goes something like this. If you want a BLT, you need a tomato (the proverbial “T” in the name). If you put a tomato plant in the backyard, you will likely have dozens of tomatoes over a year, so your cost per tomato is meager (this is organic SEO). But, how long it takes for a tomato plant to yield depends on many factors and is not “date certain.” Now, if you want a BLT today, you need to go to the market and buy one today (PPC). There is no doubt that you will pay more for a market tomato than if you would have grown it yourself; but, you have the certainty of knowing you have it today.
In an effective long-term campaign, you need to use both. You can use PPC for time certain event (a storm coming if you’re a roofer and want to target ‘storm damage’). And a term like “roof repair” for long-term organic SEO.
Bonus Tip For Your SEM Company Consideration
Search Engine Marketing professionals can tend to promise a lot. Being on page one of the search results for a single search term doesn’t mean anything. It depends on what the keyword is, how many people are searching for it, and if you’re the first or the fifth result. However, being on the first page is vital as over 75 percent of people won’t venture onto the second page of results. Being on the first page is important, but being at the top of the page is critical because 60 percent of all clicks go to the top three results. And what is even more significant is ranking well for search terms that have a lot of traffic and are of sound commercial intent – this means that people searching for that keyword or phrase are looking to purchase the products or services you offer.
SEO is vital for attracting traffic and qualified customers to your website. You need to ensure your business is being found for all the right reasons. While an effective SEO strategy can be tricky to get started, once your strategy is established, the initial investment will prove rewarding in the long term.
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