We talked about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) being the “free” way to acquire traffic through organic listings. Now let’s introduce the terminology Search Engine Marketing (SEM).
SEM is the “inorganic” or paid search marketing method in which you buy ad spaces to appear in search results. Why do you need SEM you may be wondering? Well, for starters, there is one great benefit that comes with paid listings, and that is the ability to receive instant traffic.
Here is an example of a paid listing in Google:
Hold on, before we dive deeper into the subject, let’s take a step back and look at the bigger picture …
How SEM Works and what are the Benefits?
As we mentioned earlier, search engine marketing (SEM) is commonly known as paying for clicks from advertisements you create. These advertisements are posted on major search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. This is one of the fastest ways to get your business out there in the mass market and capture as many visitors as you can with the allotted budget you may have.
For Instance, let’s say you are a startup company who’s trying to get the word out about your new business. Although you have yet to establish a solid online authority, SEM can help you receive the instant exposure you need.
It works by displaying your ads in search engines’ search result pages that are relevant to your products or services. By bidding on the right advertisement spots, you can quickly bring traffic to your website. SEM done right can provide any business with opportunities to quickly gain the needed exposures.
How to Run SEM Ads?
There are two major advertising platforms you can choose to service your SEM ads – Google AdWords and Bing Ads. Online advertisements in Google AdWords will be posted in Google’s search engine.
Campaigns in Bing Ads will be posted to Bing search engine. Both platforms are free to sign up. Here are examples of online ads appearing in Google and Bing:
Google Shopping Ad
Bing Shopping Ad
In addition, you will have the option to choose where your ads appear. For example: in search results only, Google partners only, or both. For more information on how to install and use Google AdWords and Bing Ad, see our complete guide to Google AdWords and Bing Ads.
You can even run a few Bing ads for free! Lucky for us, Bing is offering a great perk. You can actually receive a $50 free ad coupon to use towards Bing ad campaigns when you sign up. So if you haven’t got a Bing Ad account yet, take advantage of it while it lasts!
How to Receive Instant SEM Traffic
Here are three most-practiced SEM activities that online marketing professionals talk about. We will explain each method, and how they can bring instant traffic to your website.
- Pay-Per-Click (PPC)
- Cost-Per-Thousand-Impression (CPM)
- Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)
Now let’s get to the meat of it!
3 SEM Strategies to Get Instant Traffic
SEM Strategy #1: Pay-Per-Click (PPC)
What is PPC
This is the most popular and commonly used method of online advertising. Advertisers pay a fee every time their advertisement is clicked. You may have also heard Cost-Per-Click (CPC) being used interchangeably with PPC.
These two terms essentially have the same concept. CPC is the metric that measures the specific cost for one single click of an ad.
How PPC Brings Instant Traffic to Websites
Think of it as bidding for an auction. Position one on page one is a prime spot, and it cost more than position 10 on the same page. If you outbid every competitor, your ad will receive the most prime spot. You will then pay the amount you bid for everytime someone clicks on your advertisement.
In turn, you gain more opportunities of converting sales. The tricky part is, depending on the industry and what keywords you are bidding for, this auction can get very expensive.
Learn From the Experts
Here’s something very helpful and well known: Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords: How to Access 1 Billion People in 10 Minutes (Ultimate Series).
This book is written by the “golden team” – Google Analytics expert Mike Rhodes and Google AdWords masters Bryan Todd and Perry Marshall.
They have joined together to introduce the latest, most comprehensive guide to Google AdWords . Through their methods, you will learn how to effectively apply winning AdWord campaign strategies to your website.
This book is not one of those Jargon-stuffed technical manuals that require a degree to digest. There are well-explained concepts and step-by-step processes to walk you through your first AdWord campaign.
In addition, there are many useful “hidden” techniques to help you save on marketing budget.
SEM Strategy #2: Cost-Per-Thousand-Impression (CPM)
What is CPM
The “Impression” here stands for the number of times viewers see your advertisement. The industry standard for paid impression is measured per every one thousand. Hence the “M” in CPM, which is used to represent 1000.
How CPM Brings Instant Traffic to Websites
Instead of paying for each click, you are paying an amount you have determined for every 1000 views of your ad. With this advertising model, viewers may or may not take any action to visit your website. However, your advertisement can reap the potential benefit of receiving a great amount of exposures.
Learn From the Experts
You can find more information about CPM model and its bidding options directly from Google in Google Support Adwords Help.
SEM Strategy #3: Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)
What is CPA
The acquisition here means visitors responding to a specified call-to action. You pay a fee when an action is performed.
How CPA Brings Instant Traffic to Websites
With CPA, you are able to indicate what action visitors should take in order for the advertiser to get paid. These user performances can be a wide range of actions. For example, it can be to make a purchase, sign up for newsletters, submit an inquiry, or any other types of conversion you have defined.
One of the biggest advantages of a CPA model is the ability to better control your ad spending and pay only for results. So if you are making a CPA campaign for visitors to sign up for your weekly promotions, you are paying for each time someone signs up.
Learn From the Experts
This is an informative piece by SEMRush. It can guide you to understand how to choose between the 3 SEM advertising models.
SEMRush is one of the top SEM research platforms. It is known for its ability to conduct profitable keyword research, competitor analysis, and provide complete SEO audit of any website. Tools are imperative in SEM marketing because they provide you with the insight to edge above competition.
You can learn more about SEMRush by typing a domain, keyword, or URL below.
We are Just Getting Started
No matter which SEM campaign model you choose, choose according to what works best for your business. The key is to start with a feasible plan.
Keep testing until you have results, and then continue to work on improving that result. So what’s next? What exactly do you need to start an SEM ad campaign? See our 4 step how-to guide on creating a winning SEM campaign.