Search engine marketing (SEM)
What is Search Engine Marketing?
There are certain difficulties when it comes to defining what is the search engine marketing, on one hand there is the official definition of the term and on the other hand, the way in which marketing professionals really use it.
According to the official definition, search engine marketing includes all the tools, techniques and strategies that help us optimize the visibility of websites and web pages in search engines such as Google and other similar sites. We seek to appear among the first results when the user performs a search related to our brand.
Within these results, we can distinguish two types:
The organic or natural results are usually displayed in the center of the page and are selected by Google applying a proprietary algorithm. This algorithm assesses both the relevance of the website (that is, the quality of its content and to what extent it fits a specific search) and the authority of the website (links from other pages).
The paid results are usually displayed at the top of the page and in a column on the right. Unlike the previous ones, here the advertiser must pay a certain amount for each click on his ad. To hire advertising spaces in search engines, it is necessary to use platforms such as Google Ads.
In theory, the search engine marketing covers both types of results. But in practice, we call techniques aimed at improving organic positioning SEO and techniques aimed at appearing among the paid results SEM. To avoid confusion, from now on we will use the term SEM or search engine marketing only for the seconds.
Therefore, search engine marketing consists of a series of tools, techniques and strategies aimed at optimizing search engine advertising, seeking to appear among the top positions.
Some basic concepts about search engine marketing
Keywords: are the terms that users enter in the search engines and that cause a particular ad or search result to be shown. They do not have to be single words, in fact, it is normal to use groups of words or phrases, such as “buy Nike shoes” or “what is the best accounting software”.
Concordance: when setting up a campaign in Google Ads, we must define the degree of correspondence between the keywords we have selected and the term that the user enters in the search engine. This is what is known as “concordance”. For example, if we opt for a broad match, the ad will be displayed when the user searches for synonyms or terms similar to the keyword. With an exact match, the ad will appear only when the user enters the keyword without changes in the search engine.
Text ad: is the standard ad type that is shown in search engines, although today we have more options, such as shopping ads. It usually includes a title, a visible URL that can be customized and a short description.
Ad group: In Google Ads, an ad group consists of several ads that appear with the same keywords. In this way, we can see which are the most effective ads.
Campaign: in Google Ads, the campaign is like the “umbrella” under which we organize different ad groups with similar goals. For example, if we have an online store of school supplies, one campaign could include ad groups on textbooks, another on backpacks and a third on drawing material.
Page destination or landing page: the website to which the user is directed after having clicked on an advertisement. To achieve good results with search engine marketing, this web page must be optimized to get conversions or for users to perform a certain action (for example, completing a form to download an ebook). The keywords, the ad shown and the landing page should always be aligned to ensure a good user experience.
Search Network: the places where your ads can appear. The most common is to work with search ads on the top and right of the results page, but we can also show them on other sites such as YouTube or Google Maps.
What value add does search engine marketing have for your business?
Generate highly qualified traffic. Generating traffic organically can be a very long and tedious process, in which the results are only seen in the long term. Search engine marketing allows us to accelerate it and get users to our website from the beginning. In addition, we have the guarantee that these users are interested in what we offer, since they themselves have searched for it.
Generate visibility. Appearing in the top positions of Google and other search engines, even if the user does not click, makes our brand go associated with a specific need.
Generate conversions. In the end, the ultimate goal of Google Ads and other search engine marketing tools is to improve our business results. To do this, we will create optimized landing pages that put users on the path to conversion.
Get the most out of your budget, whatever it may be. One of the great advantages of search engine marketing is that it is a suitable solution for companies of all sizes, since the minimum investment is very affordable. On the other hand, if your brand is growing, you can increase the investment and the complexity of your campaigns to keep growing. Also, since you only pay if you get results (in the form of clicks), you make sure that the budget is used to the maximum.