Search Engine Marketing or SEM is one of the most effective ways to grow your business in an increasingly competitive market. With millions of businesses competing for the same look and feel, advertising online has never been more important and search engine marketing is the most effective way to promote your products and grow your business.
In this guide, you’ll get an overview of the basics of search engine marketing, as well as tips and strategies for successful search engine marketing.
Search engine marketing is the practice of marketing a business with paid advertising that appears on search engine results pages (or SERPs). Advertisers bid on keywords that users of services like Google and Bing can enter when searching for specific products or services, allowing the advertiser to have their ads appear alongside the results of those searches.
Why is SEM important ?
As more and more consumers research and purchase products online, search engine marketing has become a critical online marketing strategy for increasing a business’s reach.
In fact, most new visitors to a website find it by searching on a search engine.
With search engine marketing, advertisers only pay for impressions that lead to visitors, making it an efficient way for a business to spend its marketing investment. As a bonus, each visitor gradually improves your site’s placement in organic search results.
Because consumers enter search queries with the intention of finding commercial information, they are in a great frame of mind to make a purchase compared to other sites, such as social media, where users are not explicitly searching for something.
Search engine marketing reaches consumers at exactly the right time: when they are open to new information. Unlike most digital advertising, PPC ads are non-intrusive and don’t get in the way of your work.
Results are instant with SEM. Arguably, this is the fastest way to drive traffic to a website.
How A/B testing can complement SEM
Since you’re already investing in search engine marketing to drive traffic to your website, it’s worth optimizing that traffic for conversions and increasing the efficiency of your investment.
A/B testing your landing pages is an easy way to maximize your spend by optimizing for average order value or revenue per page.
Optimizing your landing page can increase your Quality Score with search engine marketing networks, lowering your average CPC.
Optimizely, and other platforms like it, can help you easily structure and implement your A/B tests by delivering real-time results that give you confidence in your business decisions. Optimizely has integrations with popular ad networks like Google Adwords and Facebook, making setting up ad-related experiences quick and easy.
How Does an ad Auction Work?
Once you’re ready to invest in SEM, you need to participate in an ad auction. For our purposes, we will focus on the Google Ads auction.
Simply put, every Google ad you see goes through an ad auction before it appears in the SERPs. To participate in an ad auction, you must first identify the keywords you want to bid on and how much you’re willing to spend per click on each of those keywords.
Once Google determines that the keywords its bidding on are included in a user’s search query, it enters the advertising competition.
Not all ads will appear for all searches related to that keyword. Some keywords don’t have enough commercial intent to justify running ads on the page. For example, if I enter “What is marketing?” I don’t see any ads on Google.
Even if your keyword matches an ad, it doesn’t mean you win the auction. Ad bid considers two main factors when deciding which ads to place in the SERPs: your maximum bid and your ad’s Quality Score.