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Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Having an active online presence is the price of admission for doing business today. Each day, there are 3.5 billion searches on Google alone, which means your future customers could be looking for you online right now. In an overcrowded online space, however, you need a way to stand out from the competition instead of getting lost in the shuffle. A key component to successfully connecting with customers online is search engine marketing—often referred to as SEM. SEM works in conjunction with search engine optimization—SEO—to create a comprehensive strategy for achieving competitive placement in search.

Understanding SEM and Why Your Business Needs It

The easiest way to think of SEM is advertising for search engines. You have probably noticed SEM in action as an internet user yourself. Any time advertising appears in search results, you have SEM to thank. The advertising may appear in text form on top of the organic search results, or it may appear alongside the search results in the form of visual ads for specific products. These ads ensure that your company’s products and services are front and center in the search results potential customers encounter, so that they are more likely to choose your site from the hundreds of thousands of links their search generated.

SEM is usually conducted using the advertising platforms of the major search engines. Google AdWords is the largest player in the market, though Bing Ads and Yahoo Search Ads are also important platforms to consider. When building an SEM strategy, you may also hear these ads referred to as PPC, or pay-per-click, but whatever name you use, your business can reap a long list of rewards from using SEM:

  • Improved positioning in search engine results. With a higher ranking, you will attract more clicks from potential customers, which could turn into more sales.
  • Increased trust in your brand. Ranking high in search engine results and seeing your name appear frequently boosts confidence in your brand, particularly among new customers, who will view visibility as legitimacy.
  • Building an agile marketing approach. Online advertising platforms provide a multitude of data that makes it easy to evaluate the effectiveness of your strategies, so you can make adjustments quickly.

How Your Business Can Come Out on Top in SEM

As you might imagine, businesses are vying for the limited space reserved for advertising on search results pages. Typically, the placement of ads is determined by an auction process, instead of simply going to the higher bidder. The process generally looks like this:

  • You determine which keywords you want to bid on. Keywords are the words that people enter into their search bar, so you would bid on keywords that are likely to be used by prospective customers.
  • You design an ad to be displayed if you win the auction.
  • The ad is given a quality rating by the search engine, based on factors such as your click-through rate (CTR), the relevance of the keywords in use, and the quality of your landing page.
  • When someone enters a search for a keyword you have bid on, the search engine weighs the bids and quality scores of everyone competing for the space to choose a winner.

If you think your business can’t win auctions over large players in your space, think again. Quality scores are usually weighted more heavily than bids, so you can’t buy your way to SEM success. Instead, focusing on smart keyword selection and high-quality ad design will increase the reach of your SEM efforts. It’s also important to note that successful SEM begets successful SEM. The more clicks your ads get, the more ad auctions you are likely to win.

How Tagline can Increase Your SEM Success

Succeeding at SEM can be a complicated process for the uninitiated, but the experienced team at Tagline is ready to help your brand get the placement it deserves. Our digital marketing professionals will help you build an SEM campaign that reflects your missions and puts your name in front of the right customers. We will help you choose the best keywords, designate bids that maximize your marketing budget, and create high-quality ads so that you get clicks that lead to sales. We will also help you monitor the success of your strategies and make any necessary changes to ensure your SEM efforts return the maximum results for your business.

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