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What is search engine marketing (SEM)?

Search engine marketing is an effective way to grow your business and reach new customers, enabling you to reach a large audience, around the clock.

If you’re one of the countless Australians looking for love on a dating app, you’ll know that you have to wade through a lot of duds before you connect with the right partner for you. Sometimes everlasting love never eventuates, but the stress and drama of the process can leave you permanently traumatised.

Imagine then, appearing in Mr/Ms Right’s search results, right at the top the very first time, with all your competitors dropping down the list.

In business, search engine marketing (SEM) does that for you, making sure your business appears at the top of search result pages.

With 35 per cent of all product searches starting with Google, SEM has become one of the most important items in the marketer’s toolkit.

What is search engine marketing (SEM)?

SEM, or search engine marketing, is when a business uses paid advertising to make sure their products or services are visible and ranked highly in search engine results pages. It includes both search engine advertising and organic (SEO) efforts.

In paid search advertising, sponsored ads appear at the top of and on the side of search engine results pages. They have greater visibility and prominence than the organic results.

Search engine marketing revolves around key word auctions, where businesses choose words most likely to be used by customers to find their offerings and bid on them against other companies using the same words.

How does SEM work?

Search engines use complicated and ever-evolving algorithms to determine results and how they rank on the results page. The aim of the algorithms is the make sure results returned are most relevant to the searcher, and includes location and keywords, as well as other information.

Once you’ve committed to SEM and before you launch into an ad auction, you need to identify the keywords you want to bid on and clarify how much you’re willing to spend.

An ad auction considers two main factors when determining which ads to place on a search results page: your maximum bid and your ad’s Quality Score.

A Quality Score is a way of determining how relevant your ad is to a user, as well as how likely a user is to click through, and takes into account things like the content of the webpage being clicked through to, and how long people who click through stay on that page.

Keywords in search engine marketing (SEM)

Identifying keywords involves researching what words potential clients use in their search for your particular products and services. They can be general, for example, “homewares”, as well as specific, for example “floor lamps”.

In search engine marketing, keywords usually describe a product or service, but marketers often find cheekier ways of maximising the value of the SEM, such as bidding on strapline or catchphrases used by their competitors to drive them to their page instead.

Selecting the right SEM keywords is a delicate balance. If you bid on a word that is highly used, it stands to reason that you’ll attract relevant customers, but it will also have a lot of competition, increasing the cost of the ad and lowering the chances of ranking highly on the search results page.

On the other hand, selecting a more particular or nuanced word may lower the competition, but also the number of results you show up in.

Great search engine marketing selects keywords that sit somewhere in between.

Why is SEM important?

Search engine marketing is one of the most effective ways to grow your business and reach new customers, enabling you to reach a large audience, around the clock.

SEM allows you to target purchasers at every stage of the buying cycle, from those simply looking whether a product or service is right for them, to those who have made the decision to buy and are now looking at the best place to buy from.

The reason why SEM is so effective is that no matter what stage they are at, customers who see your ad already have an interest in what you offer – so much so that they are actively searching for it.

Want to explore search engine advertising marketing?

Search engine marketing can be complex and for maximum results requires a SEM professional with keyword expertise and a deep understanding of search algorithms.

Assemblo is a full-service marketing agency based in Melbourne, with the knowledge and experience to get our clients regularly featuring high up on the page of search engine results.

To find out how we can help your business, give us a call on (03) 9079 2555 or send us a note via the contact form below.

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