For many businesses, a customer’s journey start with a search and a query. This is where Search Marketing comes up. It is all about increasing the visibility of a brand or a product on search engines by serving an ad at the precise moment it will be relevant to the audience’s intent or by optimizing its ranking naturally.
Search Marketing is a term that refers to both paid and unpaid search activities. It is used as an umbrella term for SEO and Search Engine Marketing (SEM). Both are online techniques for increasing a brand or product’s visibility to audiences using search engines to find information.
Be careful with this last term: SEM is just about paid ads and does not include SEO. It is a marketing method that focus on ads displayed on the search engines results, typically appearing on the top or on the right of the SERP. Basically, the higher the bid one offers to pay for an ad, the higher the ad will be on the page, depending of the degree of competition.
Search Engine Marketing or paid search refers to
- Paid search ads
- Paid search advertising
- PPC (pay-per-click) :
- PPC (pay-per-call) – some ads, particularly those served to mobile search users, may be charged by the number of clicks that resulted in a direct call from a smartphone.
- CPC (cost-per-click)
- CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions)
- Most search ads are sold on a CPC / PPC basis, but some advertising options may also be sold on a CPM basis.
Google AdWords is the main resource for paid search followed by Bing Ads – which is also supporting Yahoo ads. Social networks also offer PPC options.
How to create a well targeted paid campaign
Search engines care about user experience and that is why they aim to deliver exactly what the searcher is seeking. A well-targeted campaign rely on:
- Picking the right keywords to target
- Organizing those keywords into clear campaigns and ads
- Understanding your audience
- Setting precise goals
- Writing appealing ads
- Driving the audience to a well optimized landing page to convert
These points will be developped in further articles or have been already developped.
In clear, SEM can be a valuable way to attract prospects and convert them, boost your presence and support other marketing campaigns. But it will never be a total substitute to other promotional activities.
What about SEO?
SEO is a subject we have mainly talked about on this blog. Search Engine Optimization refers to any unpaid efforts to boost your rankings on the SERPS and to appear in the organic results. You can refer to our article about the SEO trends for 2015.