Search Engine Marketing (SEM) uses paid advertising to help your business, your services, and your products show up in search engine results (SERPs). For small-to-medium businesses (SMBs), Paid Search pays off at each stage of the customer journey. It often even provides better ROI than social media.
Let’s take a closer look at why your SMB needs SEM.
Billions of Searches Occur Online Daily
Google is the most visited website in the world, receiving more than 89 billion visits per day. Each of those visitors is running an average of 3-4 searches per day. When you type a query into a search engine, the first 3-5 results at the top of the page are Paid Search placements. You will see the word “Ad” appear before the hyperlink in the paid search ad text. Organic (unpaid) search results appear below the paid items.
Google Rules the Roost when it comes to Online Search
Although Google does not provide public statistics regarding traffic on the site, it is estimated that 90-95% of all searches run each day take place on Google. By comparison, Bing has only 2.88 percent of the total market share, and Yahoo! has just 1.51 percent.
The latest data shows that Google processes over 99,000 searches every single second (Internet Live Stats, 2022). This makes more than 8.5 billion searches a day (Internet Live Stats, 2022).
According to experts, Google’s success and popularity as a search engine can be credited to its ability to provide quality and relevant results for its users. This is done by analyzing and understanding user search intent and matching user queries to the websites with the most relevant answers.
SEM Pays Off at Each Stage of the Customer Journey
When someone uses a search engine, they are signaling “intent” – a state of behavior where they are poised to take action. Intent to learn, intent to connect, intent to compare, and (possibly) intent to purchase. Paid Search delivers return on investment (ROI) at each stage of the customer journey: Awareness, Engagement, Consideration, and Conversion.
Because Paid Search pays off in almost every online situation, we consider it a foundation element in a smart, effective digital marketing plan.
SEM Delivers Higher ROI than Social Media
Social media is an undeniably powerful tool for reaching new audiences and engaging users. However, many small business owners mistakenly prioritize organic and paid social media over Paid Search.
Are you even sure your followers on social can see your organic content? Keep in mind that Facebook, like Google, makes most of its revenue from advertising.
Facebook enacts brutal visibility restrictions on organic content published by Facebook business Pages. Less than 5% of your followers may be allowed the opportunity to see your organic content in their feed each day.
What about ROI and paid Social Media? While Paid Social Media (promoted posts and ads) can increase awareness and reach on a social platform, the ROI drops significantly when it comes to driving traffic from the social platform to your website. Beyond driving traffic to a site, paid Social Media ROI dips even lower when the end goal is driving a user through your site to the point of conversion.
According to Google’s Economic Impact report, businesses running Paid Search on their platform realize an average return of $2 for every $1 spent. For B2B marketers, Paid Search is estimated to drive 3 times more revenue than paid social.
PPC Components: Your SEM Keywords, Bids, and Campaigns
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is the most popular form of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. PPC allows you to buy visits to your site, instead of earning those visits organically. In PPC, an advertiser is charged each time one of their ads is clicked.
SEM is highly competitive as businesses vie for the highest page position. Therefore, every Google ad you see goes through an ad auction before appearing in SERPs.
Several components affect ad auction performance. Be clear on the keywords you’re competing for. Know the maximum bid you can support for each keyword as auctions heat up.
The PPC SEM sweet spot is often relevant high-volume, low-competition keywords. Your goal is to meet the highest level of consumer demand possible within your campaign budget limitations.
With keywords and bidding mapped out, you also need to establish a sound PPC campaign structure built upon keyword-specific ad groups and text ads. We recommend that you use a spreadsheet to map each subset of keywords and the related ad headlines, descriptions, and display urls.
The final step in having your paid search ad return ahead of your competitor’s ad in the SERPs is your Google Quality Score. Google assigns each Paid Search ad a Quality Score from 1-10 representing the relevance between your ad text, keywords, and landing pages.
Consider Media Venue Your Paid Search Partner
Paid search is a complex, ever-changing process. You cannot “set it and forget it.” A successful SEM campaign requires ongoing PPC management to monitor results, improve performance, and eliminate budget waste.
While you may feel confident in creating a list of keywords describing your products and services, Media Venue can go one step further. We can provide you with the keywords your top competitors are utilizing and craft a campaign to bid successfully against them.
Ready to improve your visibility with Paid Search? Consider Media Venue your Paid Search partner. We’d love to talk with you about your business goals and identify solutions to deliver results within your budget. Contact Cassie Rogers, Digital Marketing Director, to book a consultation today.
About Our Blogger
As Media Venue’s Digital Marketing Manager, Christine Long has over 15 years of experience planning and executing integrated campaigns combining online advertising, content marketing (social media, blogging), email marketing, audience segmentation, promotions, and live events. Researching and writing about best practices in digital marketing allows her to utilize these practices to serve her clients.