If you are new to marketing your business online or blogging, you will hear people talk about dominating the search engine results for certain keywords. That phrase really irritates me, what they’re talking about is search engine marketing (SEM) and it has nothing to do with domination, and everything to do with good planning and a great marketing mix.
Search Engine Marketing is a generic term that encompasses what you do to increase your blog’s visibility within Google, Bing and other search engines.
Just to make things more confusing people often mix up this term with SEO (search engine optimisation), even though these are two different online concepts.
SEO is part of SEM, but there’s more to it which is what we are going to explore in this post. Search Engine Marketing also includes using the search engines’ own ad networks and other forms of advertising to target search engine users.
Advertising on the Search Results Page
Your SEM campaign starts with choosing the right search terms. These are known as keywords and key phrases as your target market is using to search for blogs and websites like yours. It’s important to choose keywords that are relevant to your audience and the clients that you want. You can use an online keyword tool to do this such as Google Adwords tool or Market Samurai (free 30 day trial).
Once you’ve chosen your keywords, you optimise your site for them (SEO) and place ads that target these keywords. Search engine ad networks let you bid on keywords and decide on your budget. They then place your ad on people’s search results depending on these factors.
These are commonly called AdWords by Google and Search Advertising by Bing and Yahoo
Why Place Ads?
SEO offers a way to draw traffic to your site for free or very close to free so why use SEM and pay for ads? The reason is that ads get you highly targeted traffic very fast. They key to this is knowing who your audience is, we cover this in the first few days of the Zero To Blogger emails (subscription box at the end of this post). The results are immediate from advertising and SEO takes time. It’s a good choice for limited time / special offers or new sites that either don’t have traffic yet or don’t employ SEO techniques.
The Pros and Cons of Search Engine Marketing
SEM is an essential part of any online marketing strategy. If you create a blog with quality content and employ no SEM whatsoever, you are still able to build a strong fan base over the course time through other types of marketing and traffic driving strategies, but SEM can get you results much faster.
The main drawback of SEM is that it takes constant money, maintaining and attention – you cannot set and forget. A week may be a long time in politics, but it’s even longer online. Everything changes so quickly. The search engines (and especially Google) update their algorithms constantly (penguin), and you have to stay on top of these changes. I always recommend that my clients start email marketing almost as soon as their blog site is set up so their eggs are not in just one basket.
How do you run a successful Search Engine Marketing campaign?
Best practice include:
- Using the highest quality content possible to provide value for your visitors
- Giving your visitors a clear call to action.
- Split testing by taking advantage of all of the tools available to see what works and what doesn’t
- Clearly defining the goals you want to achieve with your SEM campaign
- Taking time to choose the right keywords and changing them if necessary
As I mention above it’s important that you don’t put all of your eggs in one basket, that you have an online marketing mix that also includes
Yes, SEM can be important to increasing your online visiblity but you should employ other marketing methods to drive people back to your sites so you can engage further with them.
Over to you – will you try adwords or similar to promote your blog or website?