As a digital marketer, search engine optimization (SEO) is one of your brand’s biggest focus points if you want your digital marketing efforts to succeed. While SEO is essential, there’s no denying that it could take a while before results start rolling in. This is when its cousin comes into play: search engine marketing (SEM).
In SEO, you work towards achieving the top spot in SERP organically. SEM, on the other hand, uses a pay-per-click (PPC) platform where marketers can bid for the first spot in search results pages under a particular keyword. These are the results you see on search engines labeled as an ad. It’s called PPC because you only pay for your spot when a user clicks on your ad. In this regard, exposure is essentially “free”.
Having a well-thought-out SEM plan in place is essential if you want to give your brand instant exposure or if you want to experiment with targeting a different but related market on search engines. Here are a few more reasons why you should incorporate SEM in your online strategy.
1. Increases brand awareness
All businesses covet the top spot of search engine results pages (SERPs). SEM allows your business to rank above organic results for a specific keyword. You can choose highly relevant keywords in your industry to maximize profitability. Even if they don’t end up clicking on you, the brand recall will be stronger since they’ve been exposed to your business name and website.
2. The fastest way to the top
Ads always appear first on search engines, regardless if your SEO is fully optimized. With 95.3% of clicks going to the top four results, and this rate gets lower by the fifth and succeeding spots. It’s critical to beat the competition by snatching the first few spots and stealing the attention of your target audience.
PPC ad results help drive sales. The internet traffic of pay-per-click advertisements brings approximately 50% more lead conversions than organic web traffic. If you want your web visitors to act on your site and lead them to conversion, such as buying an item or signing up for your newsletter, SEM is the way to go.
4. Accelerates local marketing
People use the internet to help with their daily decisions so much that 97% of consumers search for local businesses online. That said, you can implement an SEM strategy in conjunction with your local SEO efforts. You can target location-specific keywords and bid high so that your brand’s website can appear in the first few results. This will help boost visibility and allow you to compete with more established players in your niche.
5. Optimizes your brand for mobile marketing
Since mobile phone users have beat desktop users when it comes to the number of people using them, mobile marketing should be one of your priorities. Stats show that 78% of mobile searches result in in-store visits. This is a significantly broad audience you can pull from!
6. Gives you quality leads
Being on the top spot doesn’t just give your business an edge when it comes to visibility—it also gives you a huge opportunity to convert. It will be easy to lose potential customers if your web content doesn’t live up to their expectations. But if they do, users who click on you will be more than willing to engage and purchase from you. Expect to attract quality leads when you garner the first spot on your results page.
7. Provides insight on search intent
SEM is also useful for gathering data on your target audience (aka those who click on your search ads). You can analyze the data on your PPC campaigns to reveal patterns such as which ad gets the most clicks, the conversion rate of each ad, and the most effective keywords in your campaigns. Understanding your consumers is also essential for tweaking your brand presence and services that you offer.
Stay on Top
The top three ads get 40% of all clicks on Google’s search results. So, if you haven’t incorporated SEM, you’re sorely missing out.
SEM is a critical component of your business plan when it comes to brand recognition, credibility, and authority within your industry. The first step of this plan is establishing your existence and making your target audience aware that your brand exists—and that you have something new to offer. By locking in a smart SEM strategy in place, you can give your competitors a run for their money!