How to Do SEM the Right Way?

Choosing between marketing strategies is a bit like walking into a candy store: you’re spoilt for choice in taste, shapes and sizes. A particularly popular flavour today is search engine marketing, aka SEM.

With large portions of your target audience on the internet, advertising online through SEM marketing is a great way to get people to notice you and gain the precious, precious attention of your target audience.

Read on for a quick and easy guide on doing SEM the right way.

What is SEM, Anyway?

As the name itself suggests, search engine marketing refers to marketing on, well, search engines! In other words, your advertisement appears on search engine result pages – sort of like a billboard.

As an advertiser, you bid on specific keywords related to your site or product, and when a user searches for those terms, a link to your site appears alongside other search results.

Search engine marketing works – and is uniquely powerful – because of its targeted nature: it allows you, as an advertiser, to put your product or content in front of the user at precisely the time they’re looking for it. When you think about it, no other form of marketing allows you to do this.

Keywords: The Magic Keys

Keywords are truly the keys to getting SEM right. The presentation of your ads to the right user hinges on using relevant keywords. Consequently, it’s essential for you to thoroughly research what users look for when they look for you.

Keyword research will involve identifying the keywords that are most likely to lead to your website or products.

This research can also, crucially, help you figure out what keywords you’d to well to exclude from your SEM campaign.

For example, let’s say you’re a bakery, fresh out of the oven and into the market. It would make sense for you to exclude “easy cake recipes” as a keyword that leads to you, as people searching for recipes may not be looking to buy the finished product from you.

Understanding Search Intent

Search intent is the technical way of defining what a user is looking for when they perform a search.

For example, if a user Googles “buy chocolate birthday cake”, they’re a great fit for your business. Why? Because they make their intent to make a purchase clear in their search term itself.

Terms like “buy”, “discount”, “free shipping”, and “coupons”, for instance, imply a commercial intent. In other words, people using these search terms are more likely to make a purchase.

Welcome to the Ad Auction House

Search engine marketing works by auctioning keywords. This works much like the auctions you’re thinking of!

Once you identify the keywords you want to bid on, i.e., have your ads appear in relation to, you will specify how much you’re willing to spend per click.

This process is a bit like buying a ticket to the auction. If Google decides that your keywords are contained in a user’s search, your ad is in the auction.

Two important factors enter the game now: your maximum bid, and how high quality your ads are – determined by a score.

The Caveat

If you pay attention to your own use of search engines, you’ll find that not every search query offers you ads. The ad auction performs a complex calculation and considers a number of wide-ranging factors while deciding what goes up on the billboard. This is your ad rank.

Your ad rank, along with your bid and your quality score, all come together to determine when your ad is displayed.

The Upshot

A common misconception reigns supreme in marketing: the larger your budget, the higher your chances of succeeding in the attention game. Careful and strategic use of SEM, however, stands testimony to the fact that deep pockets aren’t everything in the world of marketing.

If you also want to get your SEM done the right way, time to hit AdLift’s website. AdLift is the leading SEM marketing agency providing great results for a variety of clients. Check out their services, get in touch with the experts and boost your brand visibility.


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