Search engine marketing (SEM) is used to increase a website’s visibility on search engine results pages with paid advertising. Paid search initiatives allow you to compete for high-volume keywords which may be difficult to rank for organically. Beyond text ads, display ad campaigns leverage compelling images combined with the right catchphrases. Paid online marketing is 100% data-driven, allowing specific interest-based, demographic, and geographic targeting. The wealth of available data allows us to optimize campaigns, making them evermore cost effective and efficient.
Google Ads use a pay-per-click (PPC) model, in a bidding format. That means advertisers enter into an auction and compete, one query at a time. The winner of the auction is established by multiplying two key factors:
- Cost Per Click (CPC) Bid, the highest amount an advertiser is willing to spend per click, and
- Quality Score, a value that Google assigns based on your click-through rate, relevance, ad and landing page quality.
Getting your ad to show up is a success already. It allows you to be seen and drives brand awareness—for free. But the ultimate goal is to increase quality website traffic, navigate highly relevant search traffic to your website, where you can further engage them with your content and brand. As in all PPC models, advertisers only pay a fee if their ad is actually clicked on and the user ends up on your site.
Why bid for expensive advertising space, when organic results are free? Well, SEO isn’t free. It takes significant time and effort, and a deep dive into data analytics to earn high organic rankings for your top keywords. Especially for newer, less established sites, it can take quite a while to develop enough content and domain authority to get onto page one—most sites never make it to page two. During that time you’re losing leads. The most effective strategy is often to engage in both SEO and SEM. They’re perfect complements to each other. Ultimately, it’s about outsmarting, not outspending your competition. Optimizing campaigns with data collected as you go, moving from leads to better leads, gets you more bang for your buck.