When it comes to advertising online, search engine marketing is an essential piece of the puzzle for any business. Why? Because search engines, like Google, Bing, and Yahoo dominate online marketing channels, with more customers finding what they need via search engines than any other means available.
Websites that appear on the first results page of a search engine have a significantly greater chance of being clicked. In fact, when using Google, less than 10% of people advance to page two. However, your position on page one is even more critical, with the top three positions capturing 61% of clicks. Fortunately, you can improve the position of your website on search engine results pages by using search engine optimization (SEO) or search engine marketing (SEM).
What is Search Engine Marketing?
Search engine marketing is the process of using paid ads to drive more traffic to a website through search engines. Unlike search engine optimization, which uses keywords and unique content to increase search engine visibility, search engine marketing consists entirely of paid ads.
The most compelling reason to explore search engine marketing is the ability to place pay-per-click (PPC) ads in front of customers at the exact moment they’re looking to make a purchase. This feature has made SEM stronger than any other advertising option.
If you’ve spent any time on the internet, you’re probably familiar with pay-per-click (PPC) ads. PPC ads can appear either as a web banner, a text-based ad, an animated pop-up, or even as a product-based ad that includes prices and reviews. For example, Amazon often utilizes product-based ads to target individuals with a product they’ve shown previous interest in, with prices and reviews clearly reflected in the ad itself.
The Importance of Keywords
Keywords are an integral component to search engine marketing. Essentially, they’re the words or phrases that are commonly associated with your product, service or brand. While keywords often remain static, you’ll likely be changing certain words based on consumer trends and current events.
When choosing keywords that reflect your brand, consider the products and services you provide, the words people are already using to find your website and any phrases that relate to what your customers are looking for. Most companies perform extensive keyword research as part of their search engine marketing strategy.
For your ad to appear when someone searches using a relevant keyword, it must go through an ad auction.
How an Ad Auction Works
Unlike traditional advertising, search engine marketing doesn’t necessarily award the company with the biggest advertising budget. After all, thousands of brands utilize the same keywords and phrases to describe their products. How do search engines decide which ad to display?
Enter the ad auction.
The moment someone performs a search using a keyword or phrase that you’ve tied to your brand, Google and Bing instantly hold an auction to determine which ad to display. Winners are determined by their ad rank, which in turn is comprised of a variety of factors:
- Maximum bid: Each advertiser bids a certain amount of money on the keywords associated with their ad.
- Quality Score: The Quality Score is the overall quality of the advertisement itself. It’s determined by the relevancy of the ad to any given search, the likelihood someone will click on the ad, the relationship between the ad and the keyword, and whether your website is mobile friendly.
- Landing page experience: The optimization of your landing page plays a significant role in the Quality Score of your ad. In general, a successful landing page experience is one that generates conversions. It should either prompt a person to make a purchase or provide valuable information related to their original search.
- Searcher factors: This includes a set of factors based on the person making the search, such as the time of day, their location, the type of device they’re using (smartphone, tablet, PC), and their preferred language.
Use Search Engine Marketing to Get More Clicks
Successful search engine marketing not only ensures you receive an increase in traffic, but it also helps you see your business from a search engine’s point of view. By understanding the keywords and content commonly associated with your business, you’ll be prepared to position yourself ahead of your competitors.
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