Keep the Engine Running: Master the Search Result Market

As the online age marches forward, companies must continue to adapt their advertising efforts to search engines in order to succeed in the wild west of search engine marketing. A Pew Research study shows 86% of consumers utilize Google and YouTube as their primary knowledge base. Subsequently search engine marketing has become pivotal to brand awareness and customer-company engagement.

SEO vs. SEM: What’s the difference?
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) are often grouped together, with many believing the two terms are interchangeable. They’re not.

While SEO refers to the optimization and selection of your company’s keywords in organic search situations, SEM deals specifically with paid, strategically placed advertisements appearing on the first results page, to prioritize your company over the competition. Optimization campaigns, on the other hand, are designed to run long-term and offer affordable staying power. However SEO forces you to compensate for reduced visibility as your advertisements face steeper competition across the market landscape.

The debate between SEO and SEM is very much a tortoise vs. the hare conundrum. Both have their advantages and their shortcomings. However, the key to sustained success is a balance between the delightful immediacy of SEM and the sustainability of SEO. Do you simply desire a reliable online presence? Or are you attempting to garner new clients in quickness and quantity? The answer, of course, is a little bit of both.

The SEM Difference
Investing in SEM allows your company to develop clear and concise advertisements with messaging tailored to a user’s individual search query. Although optimization can be a less expensive option, SEO is a long-term strategic endeavor. Ever notice that results number in the top left corner of your search page? It’s generally large. And no matter your business venture, the field will be steep.

SEM compensates for this heightened competition with advertisements designed to catch the consumer’s eye off the bat. Furthermore, search engines, such as Google and Bing, maintain an SEM algorithm designed to release paid advertisements only when the consumer enters keywords or phrases that fall in line with your business. Thereby targeting an “eager-to-buy” audience at the peak of their interest.

Increase Traffic, Build your Brand
The Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO) cited brand recognition as the new-age priority of SEM efforts. The best way to get your brand noticed? Website traffic. Resulting in one-on-one interaction that fosters a unique relationship between your company and the consumer.

Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) both builds that relationship and fosters a stable flow of website traffic all while remaining cost-efficient. PPC mandates you pay the network only when an advertisement is clicked, allowing ads running on the search engine to deliver hundreds of thousands of impressions without costing you a cent.

In addition, PPC hands you the keys to the campaign, affording your business complete control and flexibility over your search marketing endeavors. Whether you are looking to increase impressions at more lucrative times or implement a seasonal campaign, PPC puts you in the driver’s seat. Screamer Co. is often tasked with marketing Austin healthcare organizations through SEM. PPC empowers the Screamer Co. wordsmiths to maneuver the language and placement of each ad, ensuring efficiency based on real-time keyword performance updates.

Advocating AdWords
Google AdWords has become the most popular PPC advertising platform, and for good reason. The flexibility of AdWords makes managing your marketing budget a breeze. Whether it is through campaign cost dissection, analysis of click and impression rates, or the breakdown of keyword success, AdWords places the critical pieces of your PPC advertisements on a silver platter. This allows your company to make informed advertising decisions based on your cost-per-lead and the cost per conversion of consumer to client.

What truly sets AdWords apart is the rigorous study of your search terms. AdWords’ preview and diagnosis feature helps to determine the keywords that are falling short in your advertisements by offering a “preview search” of the Google results page, indicating the ads that have been prioritized and the keywords behind them.

Once those relevant keywords are identified they can be added to your company’s keywords list thereby highlighting your business when such words are searched. On the flip side, AdWords reveals the keywords that fail to garner clicks with the effectiveness you expect. Additionally, AdWords can identify the language of your advertisements, especially language considered controversial or politically charged, to ensure your brand maintains your business values and avoids the confusion that steers potential clients to competitors.

Ultimately, effective SEM advertising comes down to understanding your customer and product. One can analyze the placement and usage of keywords all day but if those choices are not backed by reliable data, your efforts are frivolous. When devising SEM strategies, put yourself in the customer’s shoes. What keywords would you enter if looking for a business similar to yours? What values would set a company apart from the competition? What benefits determine whether or not you decide to interact with a business?

We’ve given you the tools. Now it’s up to you.
According to Forbes’ Steve Olenski, the “ideal medium of brand marketing” is Search Engine Advertising as it allows your company access to an expansive and eclectic demographic. Encouraging generations of consumers, from baby boomers to millennials, to connect with your brand. No matter your marketing goals, such decisions must be researched thoroughly. Be it SEO or SEM, the key to search engine success is working smarter, not harder.

To help you along in your SEM journey, we’ve attached the “SEM Sharpener” to refine your keyword use and improve AdWords understanding.

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