SEM, or Search Engine Marketing, has become an integral part of achieving success online. But with so many misconceptions floating around the web as to what SEM really is, it’s easy to understand why some businesses lack confidence and just don’t know where to start.
What is SEM?
In today’s digital world, a good-looking, smooth-functioning website is not enough to ensure online business success. You’re not the only one out there, vying for business. Your website competes with countless others to capture the imagination of your target audience.
In a competitive market, if you want to get any real traction from your website, you must make it easy to find. No business owner wants their website to lag behind in search rankings, lost in an infinite sea of digital rivals, all competing for eyeballs. This is where SEM comes in.
Search engine marketing is a type of Internet marketing that aims to increase a website’s visibility and ranking in search engine results pages (known to insiders as SERPS). Paid advertising is the most common SEM promotional tactic but the wider discipline also incorporates search engine optimisation (SEO), the practice of adjusting or rewriting website content and site architecture to boost search engine rankings and augment Pay-Per-Click listings.
Using SEM To Boost Your Website
If your website is drowning in a sea of search engine competitors, it’s time to get your head around some SEM basics. The following six SEM principles will help your website stay afloat and get noticed.
1. Crisp, Targeted Ad Copy
Writing brilliant ad copy is one of the surest ways to achieve SEM success. Avoid vague, meandering language, opting instead for direct, cleverly crafted concepts and turns of expression. If your ad copy is lively and compelling, you will stand out from the hordes of bland, generic listings on any given SERP.
To ensure that your ad copy is targeting the right audience, know who your customers are, and write with them in mind. How old are they? How much do they earn? What are their values?
2. Customise Landing Pages To Ads
Using one generic landing page for all of your ads is a recipe for SEM disaster. If all roads lead to Rome, so to speak, users will be directed to a mish-mash of irrelevant content when they click through. This can act as a real deterrent. To minimise bounce rates and increase your Ad Quality score, ensure that your ads direct traffic to unique, ad-specific landing pages.
3. Set Strategic Maximum CPC Targets
Your maximum CPC is the most you are willing to pay for each click. To decide on an appropriate maximum CPC, consider the suggested bid, the function of digital in your overall advertising budget, your campaign objectives (for example, are you aiming for conversions or increased visibility?), and the level of competition.
4. Optimise Christmas Traffic
This time of year, you should leverage your PPC campaigns to benefit from the influx of seasonal web traffic. People spend more time online in the lead up to Christmas, searching for gifts, holiday options and seasonal goods. Re-set your PPC parameters on a day-to-day basis, in response to the seasonal fluctuations, focusing resources on your brand’s seasonal strong points.
5. Discover Negative Keywords With Social Media Monitoring
Set up a social media monitoring service and keep an eye on the keywords that are listed together with your top keywords and brand terms. Google Alerts is an effective monitoring option. This way, if you come across anything irrelevant or inappropriate, you can block it with negative matches.
6. Keep Your Links Clean and Natural
Google is always one step ahead of our SEM efforts so don’t try to fool the search giant with dodgy backlinks. These may actually have the effect of devaluing your company’s SEM. Acquire natural links by building up a portfolio of content that users will naturally want to link with. Combine this strategy with savvy social media strategy and you can expect to see some pleasing SEM results.
Have you stumbled upon any other effective SEM tactics? Don’t keep them under wraps. Share your SEM experiences in the comments below.
About the author:
Nital Shah is the founding director at Octos with more than 8+ years of experience under his belt in this field with a profound level of expertise in search strategies, planning and management. He has served big corporate brands of Australia, with Octos the winner of the All Star Summit of 2015. He is a talented and motivated individual who likes to keep everyone around him happy and content. Nital can be connected here.