Getting to the top of Page 1 of search engine results is what all companies want. Whether you are just starting out or have been a market leader for years, being in the prime positions on search results has become a deciding factor in increasing sales and exposure. Reputation Defender has previously stressed the importance of search engine optimization for better results. While there are many things a company can do on their website to improve rankings, there are some others that they can work on directly with search engines such as Google and Bing to climb. One of the preferred ways for companies to get ahead of competition is through search engine marketing.
SEM, as the name suggests, is advertising on search engines. Basically, companies pay search engines for placing ads related to them whenever someone types in a certain keyword. They bid for a chance to have their advertisement show up. Being the winner of the ad auction is not just about putting up the largest sum of money. Reputation and authorship also play a fundamental role.
For some, SEM is a cheap tactic that goes against SEO. For others, however, it’s a valid practice in a dog eat dog world. Any means that don’t involve black hat SEO are completely acceptable. Truth be told, SEM marketing is how most search engine companies generate revenue. Without the money coming in from ads on search engine results Google might not be as powerful as it is today. Coincidentally, social networks have taken to SEM to gain some income as well. Those sponsored stories and side ads are the clearest examples of SEM. WordStream has a great article with details on how ad auctioning works under Google AdWords. How can companies optimize their SEM strategy to make sure they come out on top after the ad auction?
Keywords, keywords, keywords.
This is by far the biggest and most important part of marketing on search engines. We mentioned earlier that ads pop-up according to a keyword that a user searches for. In order to decide on the correct keywords, you must think like a customer. Ask yourself, “If I were the customer, how would I search for something related to my business?” Choosing the right keyword could be the difference between bringing in more traffic related to your business or having people who you are not really interested in reaching linking to your site and bouncing away in a jiffy.
Consider the reach of your ad
Focusing on location is another helpful aspect of search engine marketing. Are you really interested in reaching the entire country when your business mainly works in a couple of places? Targeting geographically is an excellent way to reach the audience who truly uses and needs your product or service and it’s more cost effective than trying to go nationally when this isn’t your target audience.
An ad copy that sets you apart
Traditional SEM practices have led to ads being very similar in the kind of language that they use. You must make sure that your ad doesn’t follow the same beat. Take some time to see how ads for your competitors appear on search engines and sit down and carefully come up with something that will reach a specific audience and that is different from what others are already selling.
Use expanded text ads wisely
Search engine marketers were faced with a rather complicated and sometimes frustrating dilemma. How could the make an ad worth clicking on while keeping to character limits? The old 25-character headline limit and the two 35-character description line limit really posed a threat to creativity and effectiveness for many marketers. Said threat often lead to bland and ambiguous ads that had difficulty connecting to users. Those days seem to be coming to an end with expanded text ads. Marketers are now given the possibility of including two headlines without sacrificing description characters as they had to with the previous limits. Additionally, they can now use up to 80 characters in the description line. SEM marketers now have the possibility to create more detailed and targeted ads. They must be careful, however, to not go keyword happy on the description. It’s very easy to think that more space means we can include more keywords. The main focus of the ad should be including all the useful information for a user rather than taking up the 80 characters to fit in as many keywords as possible.
SEM is all about drawing a client’s attention. Marketers should always try to put themselves in the customer’s’ shoes to come up with the most user friendly and attractive advertisement as possible that will differentiate them from the rest. Failure might occur and an ad might not be successful. This is also a part of SEM. Failing is just finding out what doesn’t work, nothing more. It’s an opportunity for improvement. Never forget that SEM is about trying out new things. Don’t be afraid to step out of the box.