Search Engine Marketing is an interesting avenue to increase revenue, but it might not always the be the best decision for businesses. Before we even get into whether it’s good for your business, let’s discuss exactly what it is.
What is Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?
SEM is best described as paid search results. When you look at a search results page, you will see sections of ads or paid search results.
These are search results based on your keywords, and in my case, I looked up Search Engine Marketing.
How Paid Search Results Work
They work like Organic Results (the other unpaid sections). These advertised results have to compete with others to appear on the front page, and it really all depends on how many people click on the search result, and how much action is taken on the site afterwards. It’s a combination of SEO and paying for the appearance.
Why Pay When I Can Just Use SEO?
SEO might not always get you to the front page, and through SEM, you may have a higher chance of reaching the front page. That’s not to say that you will because SEM still takes time and effort through analysis and optimization to achieve front page visibility.
Paying for Search Results also acts as a success qualifier. There are two types of browsers on the internet: the ones that click paid advertising, and the ones that do not. Some don’t like advertising and will avoid the paid ads section, and others want to see that the company they want to hire or purchase from has enough revenue to pay for ads. Covering both types of users is a good idea, and if you can get front page visibility, then your results show your popularity and success.
You always want to know your market though before you implement any new strategy.
SEM Sounds Great. Why Wouldn’t I Go for It?
SEM can be expensive. You set your daily budget for SEM, so you can spend how much you want per day. This seems like it’d be great, but keywords can cost anywhere from $0.10 to $35 (depending on the word). The more popular the keyword, the more it will cost. If your budget is $50 a day, that’s $1500 a year.
If your budget and keyword research isn’t properly analyzed, you could just be spending money without receiving any return.
SEM takes time. SEM is not an instant increase in ROI. It takes time to analyze and manage a successful campaign, and time equals money. The first few months are always the roughest because you’re trying different tactics. You should always do AB testing, but stick with it for a couple months before you change any of your tests, so you have data to analyze.
SEM might not work. You may be in an oversaturated industry where everyone is competing for front page visibility. You would have to be the best of the best, and once again, it returns to how much you’re willing to spend. Or you could be in an industry where people might not be looking for you online. Hairdressers and restaurants do better going through Social Media Marketing like Yelp, Urbanspoon, Google Reviews, Facebook, and other word of mouth sites.
If after six months, and SEM hasn’t paid off, stop using it.
So What Should I Do?
Do a little research on keywords you would use to find yourself with Google Keywords Tool. See how much the keywords you would use would cost, and talk to your marketer about what they think about Search Engine Marketing for you.
Sometimes, the keywords you would use aren’t the keywords people would actually use, or you could use it to find a smaller target. You can also geotarget for location, so if you’re a Spokane based landscaper, you don’t want your ad to appear nationwide. You will save money and target for the people you need.
SEM can pay off, but it needs time and money.