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A Crash Course In Search Engine Marketing

Posted by: Matt Thompson Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Be Found Where People Are Looking For You

Irrigation Display Ad

Highly targeted, cost-effective, and measurable, search engine marketing helps build brand awareness and attract meaningful traffic to your website.

In last week's Demystifying Search Marketing: Quick Guide for SMB's, we established that Search engine marketing or SEM is a type of paid advertising that can get your website found on search engines. You determine which keywords are used to trigger the advertisements, so when a prospective customer searches for something related to your business, your ad shows up in the results.

Unlike traditional media, SEM gives you the opportunity to promote your ad to an extremely engaged audience, who are actively searching for offers like yours. It is also highly targeted giving you the ability to specify age range, location, time of day, device type, and more. This allows your ads to go much further as it increases exposure only to an established target audience as well as those already interested in your products and services.

The SEM Breakdown

There are a number of advertising formats to help you reach the right audience for an excellent return on your investment. Pay-per-click and cost-per-impression being the two most popular models.

Imagine asking your local TV station not to invoice you unless someone views your commercial and then gives you a call. This is essentially how pay-per-click (PPC) works. Also known as cost-per-click (CPC), these ads are paid for only when someone actually clicks-through to your website. On the other hand, cost-per-impression (CPM)'s are billed at a flat rate per 1,000 impressions, regardless if it was actually clicked on or not. You're not charged additionally for any clicks that the ad receives. Less common forms of online advertising include CPA and Revshare models. Cost-per-acquisition (CPA) is a model of online advertising where advertisers only pay per lead. Revshare is where you receive a portion of the profits from the client you're referring.

The advertisements are displayed either on search engine results pages (SERPs), the sides or top/bottom of web pages, or social media platforms in a number of formats including:

  • Text Ads: Includes a link to your website and a description or promotion of your product or service.
  • Digital Display Ads: Image-based ads that often appear in the side, top, and bottom sections of websites in various sizes.
  • Video Ads: Video ads are growing in popularity as better internet speed performance and online advancements make it fast and easy to watch videos on the web.
  • Retargeting Ads: Extremely effective, retargeting ads entice a user to visit your website by taking into account the user's past web history.
Irrigation Display Ad

There is a science to choosing the right ad network for your business, and what works for one, might not work for another. Below are just a few of the ad networks that are considered effective:

  • Facebook: Includes promoted ads, sponsored stories, carousel ads, etc.
  • LinkedIn: For B2B marketing.
  • Google Adwords: Offers PPC ads and can be highly targeted.
  • Bing: Similar to Google Adwords, but with less competition.
  • YouTube Ads: Can appear as banner ads, in-video overlay ads, in-stream video ads, and more.

Measured and Tested

"The sprint" of search marketing, a SEM campaign can be implemented faster than search engine optimization or SEO. However, if you aren't careful, paid advertising can become expensive quickly. It's important that you go in with a strategy and a goal in mind. From researching and selecting the right keywords, to determining the most effective demographic parameters for your target audience, setting up landing pages that are optimized for conversions, and monitoring the results closely.

With paid advertising, every ad, every keyword, and every dollar spent can be tracked through the vast amount of features and data that the available platforms provide. It's actually possible to calculate both a long-term and short-term ROI from each and every incoming website visit. Depending on the results, keywords and other specifications can then be adjusted, tested, and readjusted for maximum effectiveness.

We Can Help

Your head may be swirling after this crash course into the world of search engine marketing. It can be overwhelming with ideas of different models, formats, and networks. As a Google Partner, our team has extensive and ongoing training providing us with the education needed to effectively manage your online marketing and help you get the most out of your budget. Contact us today if you are ready to leverage the search engines and drive your ROI! Don't just make an impact, make a Splash!

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