Is search engine optimization part of advertising?
One of the most popular and effective ways to target potential customers is to use search engine optimization (SEO) ads.
Introduction to search engine marketing (SEM)
Traditional advertising broadcasts a message to the world at large. But search engine marketing targets a very specific group of people - those actively looking for your products and services. In this video, you’ll learn:
- what SEM is
- how it works
- why it works so well.
How can a search engine be used in advertising?
What are search engine ads? Advertisers using search advertising display their ads to users who are actively searching for specific keywords, and they pay a fee each time someone clicks on the ad.
What are search engine ads in digital marketing?
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a digital marketing strategy used to increase the visibility of a website in search engine results pages (SERPs).
What is the best search engine for advertising?
Google Ads is the most popular ad network due to the reach of ads to the volume of searches done in the Google search engine and the large number of websites on the Google Display Network (GDN).
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What are the benefits of using search engine ads?
4 Benefits of Using Search Engine Marketing
SEM captures your audience's attention at the right time. Research shows that 90 percent of people searching on the Internet know exactly what they are looking for.
- It is easy and fast to implement.
- It is measurable.
- It helps in increasing brand awareness.
Search engine marketing (SEM) is one of the most cost efficient ways to reach your target audience when they are ready to buy.
Research shows that 90 percent of online searches are conducted by people who are at the end of the buying cycle.
Done properly, SEM will get your ads in front of your target audience with content that is highly relevant to them, all for free until they click on your ad.
With SEM, your ad is placed on the sponsored section of a search engine’s result page. It is ranked based on how much you pay for keywords (the more popular a keyword, the more expensive it is) and a ‘quality score’ of how relevant your ad is in relation to others.
Meanwhile, search engine optimisation (SEO) helps your site’s ranking so that it will naturally come up higher in organic, non-paid search results.
Using both SEM and SEO will not only increase the visibility of your ads but increase website traffic too. This also increases your chance to convert prospects into leads, especially when both your paid ads and site come up on top of any search engine results.
While SEO takes time to grow, SEM can be done quickly enough and offers many benefits for your business.
1. SEM grabs the attention of your audience at the right time
Research shows that 90 percent of people who research online know exactly what they’re looking for. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have used the keywords you are targeting.
This means that you’re getting your content and ads in front of a highly engaged target audience, who are actively looking for offers like yours – all for a low cost and without having to impose on them.
2. It’s easy and quick to implement
Setting up a SEM campaign is quick and easy. While it might take a little while until you can see the full impact of a campaign, it is highly flexible and configurable and can be set up in a few hours.
Changes can be done on an ad-hoc basis, so you can tailor your website content, keywords and spending around the behavior of your audience.
3. It’s measurable
SEM allows for precise success tracking and in-depth campaign analysis so you can continually optimise your keyword mix, the amount of dollars you spend and the content you use.
Whatever your goal is, you can tell exactly how much value you are generating from this marketing and advertising channel, and can therefore make more educated decisions when it comes to budgeting.
4. It helps raise brand awareness
SEM (and SEO) not only helps to generate qualified traffic to your websites but can increase brand awareness too.
The higher your product or service ranks in search engines, the more likely consumers will visit your website and prefer you or even recommend your offerings.
Over time you’ll notice that the search terms of your prospects are becoming more and more related to your brand as they become familiar with you and see you as a trusted advisor or provider.
The Difference Between SEO and SEM
The world of websites can be complicated and confusing, littered with terminology you may have never heard of before. Two of the most important terms in the digital realm are the acronyms SEM and SEO. When incorporated into your business strategy, SEM and SEO can be just the thing your brand needs to reach the next level.
Search Engine Optimization: Explained
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is defined by Moz as “the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.”
The “SE” in SEO
The SE portion of SEO includes anything related to search engines, such as traffic quality and quantity.
Traffic quality refers to attracting the right kind of visitors to your website. As a real estate agent, you want home buyers or sellers to visit your site. You want them to browse your listings, read your educational blogs, and ultimately hire you.
If your website is drawing people looking for something completely unrelated to real estate, or a field of real estate that you do not specialize in, you are drawing poor-quality traffic. But if your website is attracting people who can learn from you and want to hire you, your traffic quality is top-notch.
On the other hand, traffic quantity refers to how many people are visiting your website in general. If your SEO efforts are paying off, your name will come up as a match in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). The more people who click on your name, the more people visit your website, and, hopefully, the more your client base will grow.
The “O” in SEO
The O portion of SEO refers to anything related to optimization. This is the practice website owners follow to gain more traffic and is broken down into three different categories:
On-page SEO refers to the practice of optimizing individual pages on a website. This practice includes using keyword research and generating quality content.
Off-page SEO refers to the practice of building a website’s authority in the eyes of search engines. This is often done through link-building strategies.
Technical SEO refers to the practice of optimizing the parts of a website that don’t include content, such as structured data, crawlability, site speed, and mobile-friendliness—just to name a few examples.
How SEO Works
SEO works the same whether you’re using Google, Bing, or another search engine. Every search engine has crawlers that scan all of the webpages available to them on the Internet. The crawlers then bring this information back to a database, where they index them. From there, algorithms match a user’s search query to the information stored in the database.
Search Engine Marketing: Explained
SEM, or search engine marketing, is when website owners utilize paid search strategies to gain more visibility in the SERPs and more traffic to their website. These tactics include the use of a budget that pays for visible advertisements related to a searcher’s query. This is known as PPC (pay-per-click) or paid search.
Real estate agents who are in highly competitive regions often benefit greatly from SEM. With so many other agents in the area, paid search campaigns can help you stand out from the crowd.
How SEM Works
Search engine marketing works through purchased keywords and advertising. Website owners (or their staff, or a PPC agency) allocate a budget to bid on keywords that searchers may use in their search queries. SEM works well regardless of budget size. These paid keywords then appear alongside the searcher’s results in the form of an ad.
These ads come in multiple formats, including:
- Text-based advertisements
- Visual-based advertisements, such as PLAs (product listing ads) or Shopping ads
The major benefit behind SEM is that it gives real estate agents the chance to market their services directly in front of searchers who are ready to start their home buying journey or sell their property.
Understanding the Ad Auction
Ad auctions are the driving force behind search engine marketing on Google. This process occurs every time a user Googles a certain keyword or phrase.
Website owners enter the ad auction by bidding on certain keywords. If Google agrees that the keywords are in a user’s search, the website owner’s ads are entered into the auction. However, not all ads appear on every search. This is due to two main factors: maximum bid and Quality Score.
A maximum bid is the highest amount a website owner will go to pay for a click.
The Quality Score is determined based on the overall quality of an advertisement. Google calculates the Quality Score during the ad auction to determine where the advertisement will be placed. This is known as the ad rank.
What is the Difference Between SEO and SEM?
The main difference between SEO and SEM is this: SEO is free and relies on organic search strategies, while SEM comes with a cost and relies on paid advertising. Additionally, SEO takes time to take effect, while SEM is instant.
Search engine optimization is a practice website owners use to rank higher in the SERPs and draw more traffic to their website. Their ranking is the consequence of ensuring the website performs well, features quality and original content, and includes keywords that are relevant to a user’s query. The spot a website earns in the SERPs is the natural result of ranking organically and is therefore free.
Search engine marketing is a practice website owners use to rank higher in the SERPs through paid advertising.
Other differences between SEO and SEM include:
- The search results of SEM appear to a user as an advertisement, while the results of SEO efforts do not.
- SEM results feature ad extensions, while SEO results have featured snippets.
- The website owner pays each time someone clicks on their ad. Website owners pay nothing when a user clicks on their webpage.
- SEO efforts add value to a website over time. SEM efforts are immediate and offer no long-lasting value.
Interestingly, there are quite a few ways that SEO and SEM are similar. For instance:
- SEO and SEM help a real estate agent appear—and rank higher—in the search results.
- The purpose of SEO and SEM is to bring greater quality and quantity of traffic to an agent’s website.
- In order to succeed in SEO and SEM, you must know your audience. Strategies for both marketing methods rely on effectively speaking to, and gaining the interest of, an agent’s clientele.
- SEO and SEM both rely on keyword research. This includes the understanding of which terms a user searches when looking for the agent’s services.
- SEO and SEM are not one-and-done strategies. Each method needs to be analyzed, tested, and optimized continually to ensure success.
SEO and SEM are quality marketing strategies that offer benefits to many businesses, including real estate agents. Deciding on which one to use (or even both simultaneously) is up to the agent. If you are looking to grow your website’s value over time and avoid paying for ad placements, SEO is the way to go. If you want to rise to the top of the SERPs immediately and gain an instant improvement in traffic, SEM is the way to go.