For this week’s Tech Thursday, we are going expand the digital marketing umbrella and delve into Search Engine Marketing, or SEM for short. Not only is it an effective way to grow your online presence, but it can also improve your SEO!
What is SEM?
Search engine marketing is a form of online advertising that also goes by the name of Paid Search or Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC). Unlike SEO where you earn traffic through organic listings, you use SEM to increase your business’s visibility on a search engine result pages (SERPs) through paid ad listings.
Advertisers bid on keywords that relate to search queries that users enter when looking for something on Google or Bing. When a person’s search query triggers an advertiser's ad, it appears above or below the search results with enticing ad copy. The advertiser pays for the ad only when someone clicks on it (hence the pay-per-click name). Besides paid search ads, other PPC ad formats include display ads which appears as boxes on websites, shopping ads which appear as product listings, and video ads you may see on YouTube.
Paid Search ads can help your business get in front of people who are already looking for their products or services. It is a cost-effective form of advertising that enables your business to target their ads to specific audiences at the right time and place. Through Paid Search tools like Ad extensions, you can improve the visibility of your ads by giving additional information about your business. Ad extensions add information such as your business’ number, address, and operating hours, like in this Wells Fargo ad. You can also include service offerings similar to Wells Fargo’s by drawing attention to their mobile banking and everyday checking services. This can help decrease your site’s bounce rates because potential customers are going directly to the pages they are looking for.
Another great advantage is that you get immediate results on the performance of your ad. This gives your business the ability to know the effectiveness of your ads and make the appropriate optimizations that will increase your ROI. However, in order to run an effective paid search campaign you will have to spend some time researching keywords, creating enticing ads, and be constantly optimizing your campaign. If you hire a consultant or agency to manage your campaign you have to make sure they have the right skill set in order for your campaign to be successful.
There are many paid search platforms out there including Google Adwords, Bing Ads, and Yahoo. Since 77% of internet visitors use Google as their preferred search engine, we at Immerge focus our advertising efforts on their Adwords platform. Through our experience of managing successful Adwords campaigns, Immerge has been recognized as a certified Google Partner.
What is a Google Partner? What does it take to become one?
Google Partners are verified advertising agencies or marketing consultants who are experts at managing Adwords accounts. There are certain requirements you have to meet before earning the Google Partner Badge.
There are two types of badges: Partner and Premier. Only those who have met Google’s qualifications can display the badge on their site or marketing materials. Becoming certified is a long process, but you can do it with dedication and effort.
You can start by taking the Google Adwords certification test. After passing, Google will ask for a 12 month period during which your business must hit specific performance and quality standards, as well as manage a minimum ad spend of $10,000 across a three month cycle. You can learn more about how to join the Google Partners Program from their Help Page.
As mentioned earlier, there’s a variety of online ad formats to choose from, and you have the opportunity to pick the ones that best suit your business goals and target audience. Next week we will take a closer a look at some of these formats and focus particularly on display and shopping ads. Be sure to stay tuned!