Understanding Search Engine Marketing

Jacob BurnsBlog

Search Engine Marketing, SEM

Have you ever thought about what happens behind the scenes when you “Google” something? Odds are, it’s a lot more than you think. As soon as you click Search, a bidding war begins between the products and services that are using paid search ads on Google. This is called search engine marketing, or SEM, and it should be part of any client acquisition, lead generation or e-commerce marketing campaign.

Earlier this month, Google made a major announcement that its AdWords platform will be converted into Google Ads. This change is not only cosmetic; it will enhance the way you create, manage and distribute ads on the platform. As they roll out these changes, our team of eight Google-certified experts will be tasked with staying up-to-date on how to bring value to our clients through this platform.

So how does SEM work? For example, if you Google “best smartphone,” you will see a list of ad results above the organic search results. The order of the ads your business shows up in depends on a variety of factors, including budget, keywords, relevance of your ad to its landing page and even geographical targeting. Let’s break this down.

  • Budget: Through Google, you are able to set daily budgets for your search ads. Your budget is managed automatically to ensure your money is used to achieve the results you most want.
  • Keywords: Every word on Google is auctioned off based on how frequently the word or phrase is used in searches. Your ads will show up when people search the keywords in your plan. You can also use keywords to exclude searches you would not want to serve your ads.
  • Ad Relevance: Your landing page must include words/phrases that are also in your ad copy. This will improve the position your ad is served in.
  • Geography: If your product or service is local, you’re only going to want to advertise within a specific area. Google allows you to perform radius targeting along with specific cities/ZIP codes.

For small businesses and in-house marketing teams, it can be hard to decide where to allocate your time and your budget; but Google is one of those platforms you can’t afford not to be on. Some 39 percent of marketers listed search engine marketing as their top priority for 2017, and as digital advertising continues to grow its market share, you should make it your priority as well.

Helping our clients execute integrated marketing strategies that achieve actionable business results is not our only goal. Additionally, we want our clients to understand the work we do for them, why we do it and ultimately how it helps their business objectives. Sign up to receive our blog via email to stay up-to-date on strategic communications tactics and trends.