Your Complete Guide to Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

SEM has become popular in the business world, especially among small and medium-sized companies that seek to achieve growth and prosperity in a short period of time. It is an effective strategy to reach the right and most willing customers, but it requires in-depth knowledge and experience in PPC advertising. So, what are the basics of SEM?

What is search engine marketing SEM?

Search Engine Marketing is a marketing practice that promotes the appearance of a website or online store at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs), and is based on paid search advertising or PPC.

PPC ads usually appear in prominent positions on the first page before organic search results. For example, when users search for a specific product, it appears in paid results based on the keyword’s relevance, quality, and other factors associated with the ad auction.

Search Engine Marketing is a marketing practice that promotes the appearance of a website or online store at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs), and is based on paid search advertising or PPC.

What is the difference between SEO and SEM?

There are fundamental differences between SEO and search engine marketing (SEM). The first strategy focuses on making website pages top the organic first page results on the search engine, which contributes to increasing organic traffic. It takes a long time to appear on the organic results page, however, a good cumulative return on investment is achieved if you follow best practices and regularly share content.

As for SEM search engine marketing, its results appear immediately after activating PPC ads, as long as they meet the conditions and criteria, and enable the advertiser to promote web pages or products in an attractive manner with the addition of communication and other means. But once you turn off the ad campaign, you will not generate a return on investment, nor will it appear in the paid results.

Watch also – 12 reasons why Google penalizes websites.

Benefits of SEM Search Engine Marketing
The importance of search engine marketing (SEM) lies in its superior ability to make the business at the top of search engine results. In front of customers who are searching for keywords closely related to your business.

Focuses more on conversions

The most characteristic of search engine marketing (SEM), is that pay-per-click ads appear at the moment when a customer searches for the product or service to take an actual purchase action, which is the fourth stage in the sales funnel. Thus, it can convert potential customers into loyal and permanent consumers of your brand, and thus revenue and profit growth.

Get instant results

SEM is a very effective tool in getting visitors to your website. If you are looking to get immediate results or your content to appear on search engines quickly, it is able to achieve that, which contributes to increasing the rate of visits and sales. But digital marketing experts recommend combining an SEO strategy, with search engine marketing (SEM), to ensure your site appears in organic results as well.

More effective in local marketing

If you have a local business, search engine marketing can bring amazing results for your business, connecting your brand to the surrounding community, and putting you first in the top search engine results if your ad is of high quality. For example, when users search for a local service such as home food delivery, they are more likely to click on your business or call you; To obtain the service after it appears in a high ranking on the paid results page.

Search engine marketing tools

Search engine marketing tools, whether organic SEO or paid SEM, are diverse and multifunctional, as they help digital marketers plan, implement, and measure advertising campaigns, the most prominent of which are:

  • Google Trends: A free tool that detects the most popular keywords that your target audience is searching for, relevant to your business, and has many features, such as making comparisons between keywords over a specific period of time.
  • Google Keyword Planner: Keyword Planner is a great tool to find out which keywords are right for your brand, estimate their bids, determine their competitiveness, and create a comprehensive plan with the right keywords for both your business and your audience.
  • Ahrefs: The benefits of the Ahrefs tool include optimizing your site for SEO, enhancing the quality of pay-per-click ads, planning marketing campaigns on search engines, learning more about keywords, analyzing competitors, tracking their performance, and measuring your results.
  • Google Ads: The most popular advertising system across search engines, as it enables the advertiser to know the estimated bids for various ads, in addition to implementing advertising campaigns on Google. To have your site or products appear in the same search engine results, YouTube videos, or smartphone apps.
  • Google Marketing Platform: It has an excellent set of free and easy-to-use tools, such as the All Campaigns Controller. It provides in-depth surveys and data, marketing solutions suitable for all businesses, and delivers powerful results.
  • Microsoft Advertising: Microsoft’s advertising platform allows marketers to run advertising campaigns on search engines such as Bing, and other systems that users rely on.
  • Google Analytics: It allows users to have an in-depth look at the performance of the website or pay-per-click advertising, by providing powerful analytics to measure the results, and obtain important information such as: knowing which keywords are the best in terms of number of visits, conversion rate, and the average time that customers spend browsing the store , etc.

How to create an advertising campaign on Google Ads?

You can create an advertising campaign on Google regardless of the budget you have; Because you only pay when a customer clicks on your ad. However, you should know the basics and steps necessary to launch successful ads on Google Ads, including:

First: Determine the campaign goal

The campaign objective is the bedrock of your successful marketing plan, so it needs to be clear, actionable, measurable, and relevant to your business. This step entails defining your business goals, studying the personality of the target buyer, knowing their demographic characteristics, needs, interests, and more. Also, ask yourself:

  • What are the problems facing your target audience?
  • How does your product or service help solve a customer’s problem?
  • What topics and keywords are potential customers searching for that are relevant to your business?
  • Is the ad targeted to a specific audience and relevant to the campaign objective?
  • What results are you seeking from Google ads?
  • What do you want the user to do when they see your ad?

As for the objectives of advertising on Google, they include: enhancing brand awareness, increasing online sales, discovering your products and services, attracting potential customers to visit your website, getting successful conversions, as well as encouraging the audience to install a specific application on smartphones, etc. that.

Second: adjust your campaign settings

Once you choose the campaign goal, you begin to adjust its settings on Google Ads, including the campaign type, which includes the Google search network, the display network that allows ads to be published on millions of applications and websites, in addition to the best performing campaign, application, video, shopping, and others.

In this step, you must define the target geographical areas, to direct your ads towards potential customers in a specific geographical area. As Google allows controlling the automatic appearance of ads in front of users in targeted sites, who visit them regularly, or who are interested in searching for them, or excluding the audience of certain regions.

Also, you must determine the language your target audience speaks, and you can create custom segments for potential customers based on the keywords they search for, characteristics that distinguish them, their interests and behaviors, or the way they interact with your brand.

Third: Choose your keywords carefully

Choosing keywords is one of the most important steps in creating ads on Google. Because it leads to your product or service appearing in front of the target audience. Therefore, you must add the keywords that your customers are searching for, related to your business, the content of your ad, or the landing page.

To choose keywords efficiently, you must understand your customers well and analyze the phrases that attract customers to your online store through the Google search console. Create an initial set of ideas for your target phrases, then find more suggested words and study them in depth. To choose the best ones in terms of reach, competition, and relevance to your business. This requires knowing the types of keyword matching, including:

  • Exact match: An exact match that gives you more control over which segments of customers see your ad campaign, based on searches with the same keyword intent. And here you put it in brackets like this [SEM course].
  • Phrase match: A medium match that focuses on searches that contain the keyword’s meaning even if it is implied, and targets more customers than an exact match. To achieve this, put the keyword in quotation marks, such as: “Search Engine Marketing Course, SEM.”
  • Broad match: A broad match that targets a broader audience than the previous two types, as your ads appear based on searches that are closely related to your keywords. And here I write it without brackets like: SEM course.
  • Negative match: In this type, you exclude unwanted keywords to prevent your ads from appearing. For example, if you include the phrase “free spins” among the negative words, you will prevent your ad from showing if searches include it. Here we put a sign (-) before the target word.

Fourth: Writing and designing the advertisement

Writing and designing an ad is an essential part of a successful SEM strategy. It must be formulated clearly and concisely, including keywords and necessary information such as the means of communication. It is necessary to add a phrase urging customers to take a specific action, such as: “Book now”, “Subscribe now” or “Contact us”, and other phrases that entice the audience and motivate them to purchase or request the service.

Sixth: Launching the campaign and measuring performance

After completing the previous steps, you can launch your advertising campaign on Google, but the matter does not stop at that only, but extends to measuring the goals of the campaign through the appropriate key performance indicators KPIS; To see if it is successful or not.

Google Ads Manager provides a control panel that includes a set of performance indicators and sub-metrics that enable you to evaluate the performance of ad campaigns, keywords, a specific ad, etc. After examining the results and performing the analytics, you should make the necessary improvements as needed, which may include:

  • Exclude keywords that are not relevant, have high competition, or have a low CTR.
  • Improving the design and drafting of the advertisement in a distinctive and attractive manner, suitable for potential customers; To enhance the quality points that Google gives to advertising, and to ensure its effectiveness.
  • Perform A/B tests to improve your ad title, description, target audience, etc.

Search engine marketing success factors

For a successful SEM strategy, consider the following factors:

User intent and keyword

How search engine marketing works depends on the queries that users make, which requires thinking about user intent and brainstorming about key phrases relevant to your business; To choose the right keywords to bid on, which increases the chances of your ad appearing in front of targeted customers.

Digital marketing experts recommend targeting Buying Intent keywords if your budget is limited. If it’s large, you can include bids for keywords that are related to increasing brand awareness or driving interest in the product.

Keyword competitiveness

To get satisfactory and strong results from Google Ads, choose keywords with high volume and low competition. Using terms that customers are not searching for, or that have high competition, often prevent you from achieving the desired results. Therefore, the competitiveness of keywords must be taken into account. Because it plays a fundamental role in achieving marketing goals.

Keyword cost

Getting Google ads to the top of the search results page depends on your bid for keywords, as well as your Ad Quality Score. The cost of a keyword increases if it has high competition or if your ad has a low Quality Score. If the score is good, you are guaranteed to appear higher on the search results page, and you will pay a lower CPC.

To increase the quality score that Google gives to your ad, the ad content should be written in high quality, designed professionally, including relevant keywords, in addition to creating an attractive, easy-to-use and fast-loading landing page, and other practices that improve your ad.

Search engine marketing skills

Search engine marketing professionals have several irreplaceable skills, the most important of which are:

  • Planning: Search engine marketing professionals use planning and organizing skills to prepare, manage and prioritize marketing plans, as well as organize advertising campaigns. A successful marketing campaign can only be launched through good planning.
  • SEO skills: Any search engine marketer must hone his SEO skills by understanding SEO rules, mastering its various tools, knowing how to choose keywords, in addition to familiarity with the basics of user experience, competitor analysis, and so on.
  • SEM skills: Paid advertising skills vary across search engines to include the ability to launch ad campaigns via Google Ads, manage, analyze and improve them, understand how SEM search engine marketing works, and know the types of ads on Google.
  • Writing skills: Search engine marketing strategies call for writing skills, whether for writing articles and publications, preparing ads and marketing messages, drafting a call to action, or communicating with the target audience in general.
  • Data analysis: A search engine marketer uses data analysis skills to evaluate ad performance and measure results. So, you have to understand KPIs and sub-metrics, interpret and analyze data, to improve campaigns and make the right decisions.
  • Marketing Automation: Marketing Automation systems have become one of the most important technologies used in e-marketing in general, as they enable you to save time and effort, analyze competitors, and carry out marketing tasks easily. Therefore, you should be proficient in dealing with these tools.
  • Personal skills: There are many soft skills that must be available in a marketer via search engines, the most prominent of which are critical and creative thinking, adaptability, problem-solving and wit, time management, in addition to social and communication skills, such as effective communication, active listening, and others.

Search engine marketing services

Search engine marketing services vary depending on your marketing needs and goals and the nature of your business. Therefore, the Khamsat platform, the largest Arab market for buying and selling microservices, provides a set of distinguished services that meet all your needs related to marketing through search engines, including:

SEM services

SEM services vary to include developing effective marketing plans for this strategy, creating a plan for targeted keywords, preparing, implementing and optimizing advertising campaigns on different search engines, as well as documenting and advertising your company’s headquarters on Google Maps, etc.

SEO services

If you want to optimize your site for search engines, get more organic traffic to increase your brand awareness, or boost your sales without the need for paid ads, the best option is to use SEO services that put you on top of the results.

Website analysis services

Search engine marketing strategies often need website analytics services; To reach a better understanding of the behavior of customers visiting your site, and to measure and improve the level of performance, by studying and analyzing its strengths and weaknesses, and addressing technical errors that prevent its ranking on search engines, and so on.

Search engine marketing service cost

There is no fixed price for search engine marketing services, as there are a number of factors affecting the cost, including:

  • The nature of the advertising strategy: Each advertising strategy has a different budget than the other. For example, the service of creating and managing a marketing campaign on search engines needs a higher cost than adding the store on Google Maps, or writing an article compatible with the rules of SEO search engines.
  • The size of your requirements: The higher your search engine marketing needs, the higher the cost. If the online marketer assumes additional responsibilities, his service will be more expensive.
  • Service developments: Marketers usually provide fives platform developments for their basic services, the prices of which vary from one seller to another, depending on the additional feature that you may need, which increases the cost.
  • Target Audience: Is your marketing strategy aimed at a global audience or residents of a foreign country, requiring collaboration with an experienced marketer with a second language, or are your customers local to a specific geographic area?
  • The marketer’s experience: The greater the experience of the marketer through search engines and the greater the number of his technical and technical skills, the higher the cost of the service. As for the novice marketer, he will not need a high budget, but he needs more follow-up and review, and it may negatively affect your business.
  • Search engine marketing best practices
  • When you follow best practices in your search engine marketing strategy, you can generate a positive return on investment for your business. So, when launching a Google Ads campaign, keep the following points in mind:

1. Study your competitors’ strategies

When planning your Google Ads marketing campaign, you should study the strategies your competitors are using, you might use keywords that have been a hit for them, maybe their content will inspire you with more unique ideas, or you might discover more effective CTAs, etc.

2. Understand the research objective well

Either way, you need to understand your search intent and create content to match it. When you do this, your site will have priority to appear on the first page of search results. This requires knowing the needs of your audience, the queries they make on search engines, and how to meet their requirements.

3. Write good and impactful content

Whether you’re following an SEM or SEO strategy, Google gives high-quality content a higher rank on the results page. Digital marketing experts recommend writing unique and influential content, adding attractive titles and descriptions, and highlighting the keyword in the title, introduction, and body, as appropriate to the context.

4. Choose long-form keywords

Long tail keywords are highly specific, and often bring in more traffic and a higher conversion rate; Because it’s lower in competition and more customized. For example, if you own a clothing store, don’t just bid on short keywords like ‘menswear’, instead bid on longer keywords like ‘fashionable summer menswear’.

5. Optimize your landing page

If your landing page is poorly designed, your ad will not produce any satisfactory results even if it succeeds in attracting potential customers. Therefore, it should be improved and made distinctive with an effective and powerful design, so that it is appropriate to the purpose of the advertisement, and leaves a positive, influencing and motivating impression to take a certain action. It is best to design landing pages dedicated to each product or service that you offer.

6. Improve user experience

For the success of PPC ads, you should pay attention to the user experience on your online store, because if the customer clicks on the ad to visit the site, and is surprised by its slow speed and its inappropriateness for mobile, for example, it is more likely that he will leave without reading the content or completing the purchase. Therefore, you must improve the structure of your online store, improve its speed, and enhance its security to preserve customer data.

7. Choose your photos carefully

Pictures play a big role in the success of marketing ads, so they must be chosen carefully and accurately. So, focus your efforts on high-quality images that are relevant to your ad content and business. It can be re-edited, optimized and compressed as much as possible without sacrificing quality, to increase its endurance. With the need to rename it and write a closely related keyword to enhance its visibility on search engines.

8. Target the audience accurately

Your ad will not do well if you target a wide audience. Targeting needs to be tailored to a specific audience, and this entails understanding how potential customers search on search engines during the various stages of purchase, in order to engage your brand with the right audience, and deliver real value throughout the decision-making journey.

9. Tailor ads to mobile devices

E-marketing experts point out that most clicks on paid ads are through smartphones, so it is best to customize ads for mobile devices if they are suitable for your goal. For example, if you want to download an electronic application that works on the Android system, it is natural that you do not target customers who deal with desktop operating systems or iPhone phones, for example.

Finally, search engine marketing (SEM) is one of the most important Internet marketing strategies, and is a powerful and effective tool for generating new customers, thus increasing sales and revenue growth. But it requires experience and high skill, in addition to understanding many modern tools and technologies, and following best practices to put your efforts in the right path. If you cannot do this on your own, it is better to use the SEM search engine marketing services provided by the Fiverr platform.

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