What is Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?

Search engine marketing can have various meanings depending on who you are talking to but in our experience, its used to define engine advertising ie. pay-per-click advertising.

SEM can also be used as an umbrella term for marketing your services through search engines by way of search engine optimization (SEO), the practice of optimizing your website to the top of the search engines.

Search engines are arguably the best marketing tool for conversions and quality relative to their cost (Yes, there are few exceptions). The purpose of search engines are to provide people with information they seek by displaying the most relevant website paired to the specified search term. Essentially this means someone looking for a plumber will go to Google to research local plumbers to find one to fix their sink. It’s important to see the difference in advertising to someone you know is interested in your service offering as opposed to marketing in hopes that a percentage of the impressions/views of your advertisement will see you ad and respond.

To reiterate the plumbing example, you can advertise with direct mailers to a zip code and hope the locals need immediate plumbing or keep your materials around for a broken pipe. With search engines, you can capture someone actively researching for a plumber.

You have three options to put your listing in front of people searching for a relevant term for you business “ie. Best Plumber in Baton Rouge”. PPC, Organic, and Organic Local Listings.

Pay Per Click (PPC)

The PPC areas are located in the light blue portion. You can access traffic to your website using a system such as Google AdWords to pay for the top and side (to right-side) listings. Depending on your industry, you can see a range of costing search terms. For local search terms such as lawn care, plumbing, and pool cleaning you can expect to pay between$1.50-5.00/click depending on your adwords budget and quality of your ad campaign. For national terms in niche markets, you can expect $.20-.70/click. The main factors that determine your click rate:

  • Competitiveness of the term/industry for that keyword
  • Quality of your ad
  • Click-through-rate(CTR) of your ad
  • Relevancy of your web page to the keyword | Your keyword quality score
  • Monthly Budget – A high consistent monthly budget will reduce your costs

Organic Ranking

You will see the organic listing on the image above in light red. These listings are in those positions through Search Engine Optimization. This is the modification of your website and building links to your website to rank it higher. You can learn more about this on our other page about SEO.

Organic Local Listings

The organic local listings are seen above in green. They are in the listings as well as the map. These are a newer form of listings for local services that Google provides through their Places service. This is when you see a map come up for local search terms such as “Baton Rouge Dentists”

We recommend search engine marketing whether organic SEO or Paid Campaign to be included in any companies marketing plan. Look at your competitors online and see what they are doing.

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