SEM Strategy: Creating a More Successful Digital Marketplace with SEO and SEA
The consumer behavior of many customers has changed greatly in recent years. Today, users can find everything they need for their private and professional lives on digital platforms, in e-commerces, and on company websites.
In order to be able to compete against a multitude of competitors, a powerful search engine marketing strategy (or SEM strategy) is becoming increasingly important for most companies. A well-structured website with an attractive design and informative content is the key to building a stable customer base.
Although it may have been an easy task 20 years ago to land amongst the top positions on search engine results pages, today things are no longer such a breeze.
This is where a solid SEM strategy comes into play, which has grown in parallel with the development of the internet. Today, search engine marketing with SEO and paid advertising (SEA) offers a variety of strategies and possibilities to companies and products to compete amongst the biggest and to extend their customer base.
Table of contents
What is Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?
SEM refers to the entire field of search engine marketing and is divided into two strategies: SEO and SEA.
In this kind of marketing, the terms SEO and SEA come up a lot when trying to give a company the boost it needs. Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and Search Engine Advertising (SEA) are the two areas in an SEM strategy.
The right combination of both these strategies can help your company gain more visibility and attract traffic. This is essential if you wish to dominate the digital market. SEA and SEO have their own distinct ways of doing so.
How Does SEO Work?
An effective SEO strategy aims at increasing the visibility of businesses for an organic search result with website improvements.
In the long term, this form of online marketing is more likely to show positive results. With the use of the right keywords (and negative keywords), backlinks, and rich content, your website will have better chances of achieving better rankings in search engines such as Google or Bing.
The optimisation is carried out not only on the content side of things but also on the technical end.
Within technical SEO, a small but important sub-area of SEO has established itself. Here, improvements are made to the website that are invisible to the user.
All technical SEO measures are intended to make the work of the search engines’ crawlers and algorithms easier. Responsive web design for the different format sizes in the mobile is just as important as a reduction of the source code and a good structuring of the website.
With this, search algorithms are able to scan, register and categorise the content of your website more quickly.
The effects of this form of search marketing can be measured via SEO’s key figure with SEO tools. With this data, you can determine how well your website is accepted by users.
- Duration of time on the website
- Bounce rate
- Visibility indices for relevant keywords
- Snipped click rates
- Ranking position of individual keywords
- Distribution of ranking position on the search engine results page (SERP)
What Does SEA Have to Offer?
With the help of SEA, you direct your target audience to your website. To do this, you buy advertisements and banners from search engine providers such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo by putting money into bidding strategies.
Unlike SEO, which aims to land your page in the top positions of organic search results, SEA helps you reach your potential customers much faster and more directly with a paid strategy.
Google is the clear market leader of search engines and accounts for 70% of all search queries on desktop devices worldwide and 93% on mobile and tablet searches. As these numbers show, the Google Ads platform is the decisive function for your SEA campaign to reach your target market.
How Do You Use Google Ads for SEA?
Google Ads offers its users different options to advertise products via paid search ads. For example, you can place a:
- classic text ads
- shopping ads
- display ads
If you are a small company that does not need large advertising campaigns or has a limited budget, ‘Smart’ campaigns are a good solution for using SEA. Google generates the necessary data itself. All you have to do is enter the desired advertising budget.
Although Google does a great job at keeping things simple, businesses such as SEO agencies in the United States offer help to all kinds of companies to build their search engine marketing campaigns.
This kind of advertising allows you to develop your own keyword strategy and choose which ones you want to use in your pay-per-click (PPC) campaign. If a customer searches for results with said keywords, your ad will be displayed in the SERPs.
You can create an entire campaign based on different ad groups and ads. Relevant keywords are stored for each ad so that your ad is displayed when the relevant keywords are entered.
Keep in mind that appearing at the top of a SERP is helpful, but don’t forget to write a compelling ad copy to drive traffic onto the landing page.
Advertisements in images or also in text form are placed on different platforms that are a part of the Google advertising network. Your PPC ads are published on partnering websites, online games, search results pages, or apps. Here is an example of a display ad for Hello Fresh on the BBC website.
The Google websites (Gmail, YouTube, and Blogger) also belong to this network. You can sign up for this program via Google AdSense, for example. Employees review the incoming applications and find you the best platforms and advertising websites that fit your product.
With Shopping Ads, you can create product ads that are generated from your own product file. With this form of advertising, the structured data in the data feed is responsible for targeting.
These advertisements appear on YouTube as text ads or short video spots.
Cost models for SEA application in an SEM strategy
Google Ads offers various remuneration models. Your selection is based on what you wish to achieve with the ad. For example, do you want to increase website traffic to become more visible to search engines, or are you looking more for sales and membership growth? The most popular models are CPC (Cost per Click) and CPA (Cost per Acquisition).
The costs, whether a click or a follow-up action, are determined beforehand in an ad auction process. The advertiser specifies their maximum bid for an ad or for a keyword. Google then evaluates the bid amount and the quality of the ad and sets the price accordingly.
In addition, this is where Google decides on the ad rank on its SERP. The final cost may be lower than your highest bid, depending on how the competition bids. However, Google guarantees that the cost will never be higher than the maximum bid you specified on Google Ads (previously Google AdWords). You can also specify here what monthly budget Google can work with.
Billing model CPC
With CPC, costs are incurred for each click on your banner ad or text ad. Google presents the ad on the results pages when visitors search for the corresponding keywords. If a user then clicks on your ad, this click is associated with costs.
This model is primarily to generate more traffic to your website. However, it is not guaranteed that the visit to the website will be followed by a purchase.
Payment model CPA
If you choose this payment model for your paid ads, costs are only incurred if the customer performs a certain action. Depending on the company and industry, you can define exactly which follow-up action the customer must take after a click on your ad. CPA is most commonly used in these manners:
- Software companies and platforms pay when the customer downloads a program
- The visitor signs up for a newsletter subscription
- A contact, or order form is submitted by the customer
- A purchase is concluded
- The customer takes part in a raffle
Many companies prefer this form of billing because you can measure success by direct action. The costs associated with this model however are usually much higher than the CPC model.
Before deciding which system you want to use, consider whether the costs are worth the benefits. For example, 30 euros for an ad campaign may seem like a lot. However, is this is linked to an annual subscription of an insurance policy worth 1,500 euros, the 30 euros have been well spent. But if you are an online shop for T-shirts or souvenirs, such an investment does not pay off.
SEA and Possible Effects on SEO
In general, both SEO and SEA are two separate sub-topics of an SEM strategy. However, the use of SEA can have a positive effect on search engine optimisation.
With targeted campaigns in SEA, you increase the traffic on your website. You gain more visibility on the web and there is a chance that your company or online shop will be entered directly into the browser’s address bar more often.
Google notices these direct type-ins and gives your website a higher trust in the long run, which is then associated with a better ranking. The increased number of clicks and the rising traffic to your website flow into the evaluation of your internet presence. The page quality increases and thus also the ranking.
For many companies and agencies, reach on the internet is becoming increasingly important to achieve success in the industry. With the right SEM strategy and tools, you can better target your preferred audience and gain new customers.
In doing so, it is crucial to find an optimal combination of SEO and SEA strategies. A very good internet presence with valuable content and good structuring and programming is a prerequisite for SEA strategies to be well received by customers. Regardless of whether you rely on banner ads, text ads, or video spots in search engine advertising, you must keep the advertising promise with a top website.
Use the functions of Google Ads to create effective campaigns yourself or get experts on board who can offer you a complete marketing package. Set your monthly budget, decide on a cost model, and get more movement on your website and in your business.