Understanding (SEM) Search Engine Marketing

Before we can understand SEM (Search Engine Marketing), a foundation must be built for understanding what a search engine is. A search engine is a specialized web-based program indexes pages worldwide on keywords and content relevance. This specialized software that many of you know today as Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc., searches its live database to deliver the most relevant links based on the content you are searching for. Typically, a user will visit a search engine home page, enter their information, and a listing of descriptions and links that match the query is displayed within seconds. A search engine uses an algorithm to find the best results based on constantly changing factors and is kept confidential. I will explain what SEM is, how it came about, and its purpose through this article.

Did you know the first Search Engine was released on September 10, 1990, and was called Archie? Also, you know that before Google was known, it was initially called “BackRub” and later renamed. Google and many other Search Engines generate a list of suggested links when searched, and this page returned is called a SERP(Search Engine Results Page). Search Engines visit billions of pages using a program called a web crawler, also referred to as a spider or bot. 

There are two ways to get search engines to show your page to visitors: Organic Ranking and SEM (Search Engine Marketing). SEM can be executed with search listing results in a short amount of time. However, one pays every time the user sees or clicks the link respectively, depending on the campaign type being run. Organic Marketing will cover in another article; it takes time, lasts longer, and works by providing valuable content people want to read.

Many expect instant search results, which can take time with organic; however, SEM will require a constant budget to keep you at the top of the search engine. SEM is when paid advertising features a business’s products/services on the SERP(Search Engine Results Page). Now that you may have decided to use SEM, it is essential to understand how it works and the upfront costs associated with using this service. Understanding how and when you will appear is key to a successful SEM Campaign.

Search Engines use an Ad Auction to decide when to show your ad on the SERP (Search Engine Result Page). To get in the auction, choose the words you want to bid on and what you will pay for each of these keywords. Remember, only some ads will appear on all search terms, as many need more traffic to justify creating ads in a SERP (Search Engine Results Page). All businesses should research to find the best keywords before starting an SEM (Search Engine Marketing) Campaign.

Now that you believe the correct words were selected for your target based on the ad created, this doesn’t promise your ad will be shown. An ad auction on a search engine will only be offered or have the “bid” win if your bid is high enough and the quality of your ad is high. What does it mean when we say that the search engine bases your ad shows on its quality? This is a great question and one that perplexes many, but it is derived from a quality score. 

Quality Score is calculated based on the keywords you select based on the ad created and the landing page it directs visitors to. Google, for example, assigns a quality score from 1-10, with ten being the highest quality and can be located in your keywords account column inside your Google Ad Account. Note that many search engines will consider even more when assigned a quality score, including but not limited to the user’s experience when reaching your landing page.

So, to have a successful SEM Campaign, it is essential that you have a strategy before you start. Strong knowledge of how paid ad words online, keywords, budget, and a creative copy are used. Some other things to consider to have a great campaign are our PPC (Pay Per Click), Keyword Volume, Keyword Competition, Keyword Cost, and Campaign Structure.

Also, people think hiring a search engine’s marketing department will be the best way to get results. Unfortunately, I hate to tell you this, but many of them don’t even have employees, but contractors in other countries get rewarded when they get you to spend more money. You will usually speak to an arrogant account manager who tells you this is what it has to be or we won’t work with you, and they have no experience except how to get more money out of you. Next, you will wait anywhere from three days to a few weeks to speak with your professional ad campaign builder. By now, it seems like you are going to get a professional. However, when you look at your account before launching the campaign they built, you will find misspellings, wrong cities, zip codes, and irrelevant categories to your target audience. 

In conclusion, all the search engines use an outsourced team, and all they will do is get you to spend tons of money, with no results and an arrogance that you have to increase your budget. Work with a local company that cares about you and the relationship and wants to do the right thing not because they have to but because they want to.


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