This is an article “A Guide To Basic Search Engine Marketing” by Marc Primo
Every day, Google receives over 5.6 billion searches from around 5 billion daily users worldwide. For a company that relies on its digital marketing strategies to be visible online and create traction for its marketing funnels, search engine optimization (SEO) for organic posts may not be enough.
That is why search engine marketing (SEM) is constantly essential to go hand in hand with every business’s SEO efforts. The problem is that some companies are still in the dark about implementing it as a strategy or even find the need for an extra budget.
In this guide, you’ll learn why SEM is important for your business, plan your strategies, what you need to know about pay-per-click (PPC), and the boost it can give your SEO campaigns.
What is search engine marketing?
For the unfamiliar, SEM is focused on both organic and paid ads to increase your website’s traffic and Google ranking by optimizing search engine strategies. When you talk about SEM, the term ‘pay-per-click’ or PPC will also come around a lot. However, there’s more to SEM than just paid ads, and it works best if you align your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts with it. After all, SEO should be an offshoot of your SEM strategies.
Most marketers rely so much on paid ads that they confuse SEM with actual paid advertising. If your strategies are centered on PPC and buying placements on online advertising platforms, you are not doing your SEM right. Every efficient SEM strategy should also include a great deal of SEO effort.
You should always follow three basic steps when building a good SEM campaign: perform keywords research, develop an SEO strategy, and analyze your keywords metrics.
Let’s get into a more detailed look at these steps.
Perform keyword research
To many, keyword research is only synonymous with SEO, and little did they know that SEM campaigns also rely on meticulous keyword research. Otherwise, how would you know what your target market needs when they go typing on Google’s search bar?
When performing keyword research for SEM, it is also essential to know whether users want to learn more about your product or make an instant purchase. It will help you categorize your buyer personas in their respective customer journey stages. Those who want to learn will be looking for informational content, while those looking to buy will be searching for ways to transact with the website they are visiting.
For step one of your SEM development, you must analyze and determine which keywords will help users find what they are looking for on your website by entering the keywords and reviewing which sites rank high on search engine results pages (SERPs).
For example, let’s say you want to know if you can use the keyword ‘medical wigs’ for either informational or transactional content. If sites that rank on SERPs are eCommerce sites, you can use the keyword for your commercial or paid ads. If the list ranks tips on wearing medical wigs, you’ll know it works better for informational organic content.
Once you determine how to use your keywords effectively, you’ll appreciate how SEM and SEO work hand in hand in every campaign.
Develop an SEO strategy
Identifying a keyword’s search intent is not enough for you to ensure page rank and increased website traffic. You should also review if your selected keywords have the right ranking difficulty. To determine this, find keywords that are ranking organically on SERPs by performing SEO best practices. Otherwise, you might need to resort to PPC strategies for a short period to determine what keywords would rank.
There’s no question about it – making your selected keywords rank organically or via paid ads is not an easy task. However, using online tools that display keyword difficulty features will show you which ones have higher chances of ranking on Google’s search results.
The lower the score, the better. Those with higher keyword difficulty scores are usually used to the bone by top-ranking pages that utilize hundreds of referring domains, which means they have already established multiple backlinks.
While keyword difficulty metrics can help immensely, you should also complement your keyword difficulty search by considering several factors. These may include a top-ranking page’s domain ranking, internal links, the number of words used, keyword density, whether the content is evergreen or not, and your target market’s search intent.
If you can rank within a few weeks, then that means your SEO game is on fire. Otherwise, you would have to support your SEO efforts with PPC strategies and SEM and find out if your paid ads are getting more clicks.
Analyze your keyword metrics
The best way to take advantage of ads that can generate a higher click rate is to combine PPC with SEO. This strategy makes your ad more viable to monopolize rankings in the SERPs for even more clicks and increased visibility for your brand.
List down your keyword metrics for both your paid ads and organic content and determine the percentage of clicks for each one. Depending on which ones get the higher percentage of clicks, you can decide whether you need PPC or SEO.
To make things easier, create a spreadsheet for your keywords and categorize them according to whether they perform better via SEO, PPC, or both.
For your keywords on the SEO column, you can maximize their potential by developing new content or rehashing your old ones so that they align with your target market’s search intent. Keeping your content keyword-rich and relevant always helps when performing SEO. If you further optimize your link building, website coding, structure, and site speed, the more you can have a higher chance of ranking on SERPs.
On the other hand, your PPC keywords will require you to have a better technical grasp of how Google Ads works. When you run paid ads on the platform, you should determine which ad type you will use and what your objectives are for your keywords. And you better have a copywriter with an ace up his sleeves to generate interest and appeal for your paid content.
Other factors to consider when doing PPC strategies include:
Selecting the best keyword themes for your product
Assigning costs for each campaign
Learning more about the platform’s auction feature because you’ll have to make a bid to secure better chances for ranking
The bottom line is that SEM is always better with SEO working by its side. There may be more to learn about how each strategy works. However, once you master the ins and outs of both and have the proper tools in place, ranking higher and enjoying better site traffic can be as easy as clicking a button.