A buyer decides they want the product you sell and turns to web to research companies and brands. What if you could get in front of that customer at that moment and offer information to convince them that your product is the perfect choice?
Consistently well executed search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) let you do just that.
SEO does this by implementing unpaid techniques, such as filling out title tags and meta descriptions with relevant information, and creating fresh, helpful content on your website.
SEM uses paid practices, including bidding on keywords that prospective customers are searching currently.
While both are indispensable for the overall health of your website, SEM has five unique benefits for your website and your business.
1. SEM helps to increase awareness of your brand or company.
SEO allows you to optimize your website in order to show up higher in organic search results when people search certain keywords. However, large companies tend to dominate certain keyword searches, making it nearly impossible for smaller companies to rank.
For example, if you search “car insurance,” the major players, such as GEICO and Progressive would dominate the results because of the authority of their website, the traffic from their extensive customer base and the sheer volume of content on their sites.
But SEM can boost your ranking even if you’re a small fish in a big pond.
By choosing keywords similar to “car insurance” and phrases that prospective customers are currently using to search for an auto policy, you may not rank at the top. But you also won’t get pushed to page 6 of the search results, where no one will see you.
2. It targets people when they actually want information.
By the time buyers are searching online, they’re usually ready or almost ready to make a purchase.
This by nature makes SEM less intrusive. Your ad doesn’t disrupt. It helps customers by nudging them in the right direction.
It’s easy to ignore ads that show up in your social media feed. But if you’ve been searching for a product and a paid Google ad appears for that exact product, you’re more likely to click, explore and purchase.
A solid SEM campaign capitalizes on the keywords a company’s prospective customers search and places ads in front of the people looking for the product or service you provide. And it allows you to track your customer’s journey from ad to click to conversion, which was impossible prior to the advent of SEM!
Choosing relevant keywords for SEM campaigns, however, isn’t a one-time undertaking. At Fresh Creative, we use a variety of tools that provide up-to-date information on the words and phrases customers are using in searches to find products and services.
3. Quality SEM helps your website get relevant traffic.
Search engine marketing isn’t like mass media advertising, which reaches a broad audience that may not include your target audience.
SEM allows you to target people who, as stated earlier, are already in the marketing funnel. If executed correctly, SEM drives people with an actual interest in your product or service to your website.
Keywords and ad content are vital to a quality SEM campaign that nets relevant traffic. Here are a few guidelines:
- Never make any promises in text or display ads that your website won’t fulfill.
- Always send people to the page that is most relevant to their search query — not just to your homepage.
- Don’t target a keyword that is too broad or isn’t relevant to your products or services.
Remember, you want more than clicks. You want the customer to spend time on your website and convert by making a purchase or completing another action, such as filling out a form for more information. They won’t stick around if they feel you’ve misled them.
4. It reveals how your website and ads can be improved.
From an organic SEO perspective, the extra traffic generated by SEM provides a greater sample size in Google Analytics to analyze how people interact with your site.
You’ll be able to see the pages people spend the most time on, the pages they exit from and the pages they convert from. This can inform updates and changes to the site.
For example, if five people navigate to your contact page without filling it out, it may be frustrating. But if hundreds of people do that, there may be an issue that needs to be addressed.
SEM traffic also reveals what ads are the most successful by showing in Google Analytics how customers respond to your website after clicking through, or what ads lead to conversions. This can then help you create other successful ads for different products or services.
You can also spot if a campaign is not doing as well when it has a high bounce rate, a low amount of time spent on the page or fewer overall conversions.
5. SEM can boost your promotions.
If you’re running a promotion, SEM can go a long way in driving customers to your site.
That’s because promotions usually have a short and specific timeframe. Optimizing the landing page connected with that promotion is important, but SEO can take time to boost your site’s visibility and place it higher in search results.
SEM, on the other hand, starts delivering your message immediately, making it perfect for limited-time offers and seasonal promotions.
When it comes to promotions, SEM is like the 100-meter dash. You start as fast as you can, and sprint your way to the end point. SEM is what helps you keep the pace and reach the finish line quickly and successfully.
Be where your customers are looking.
Don’t sell your business short by missing out on the benefits of SEM.
You don’t have to be a large company to reap its rewards. In fact, if you have a presence on the web, you should view it as an important part of your overall marketing mix. In addition, monitoring SEM performance allows you to learn from your customers, increase your company’s visibility, improve your website and more.
A strong SEM campaign – along with solid SEO and other relevant marketing tactics – can help ensure that customers who are looking for your product or service ultimately find it on your website.