Search engine marketing matters to brands regardless of their size, products, and other factors. What is search engine marketing? Why is search engine marketing important to online marketing? And which important SEM tools are available today?

We will cover all of these aspects below. Let’s start by learning about search engine marketing.

What is search engine marketing?

Search engine marketing (SEM) is a very extensive concept of online marketing. SEM requires a variety of paid strategies to build a brand’s online presence.

With Search Engine Marketing, companies can move traffic from search engine results pages (SERPs) to a specific domain. To do this, there are many techniques and tools that brands must use.

Search engine marketing used to be used to denote both paid and organic strategies. Now, however, the term is being used to describe paid strategies only – primarily through ads. The most common tool used to run paid ads is Google Ads.

Brands use SEM for ads that appear at the top of search results pages as shown below. According to a study by Business2Community, the click-through rate for ads rose by 75% to 3.69% in the first quarter of 2019.

If you look carefully, these top search results have the ‘Display’ Tag attached to them indicating that these branded domains are competing for the same audience for a specific search query.

  • The ad format for SERP contains the following information:
  • Ad heading
  • Advertising description
  • Advertiser URL
  • Website extensions

    Remember, your SEM campaigns will perform well if you are creating compelling ads.

    Therefore, some of the important parameters to consider when creating your ad copies are:

It should be noted that search engine marketing is not only used to increase the visibility of the website, but also displays products in the “Featured” section on the page. Therefore, e-commerce makes extensive use of SEM.

For example, go to the search bar and enter any keyword like “Best Nike shoes”. A list of ads competing for the same keywords will also appear in the Product Presentation section. Take a look below.


Advertisement carousel on SERP.

If you are using search engine marketing to set up the advertising campaign, you will need to complete the following procedure:

  • Do thorough keyword research and choose the keywords that are highly relevant to your website and products.
  • Select the geographic location of your users where you want the ad to appear.
  • Create the content for the ad that includes the ad title and description.
  • Bid for the price you want to spend on your ads.

    Now that you understand how SEM uses paid ads, there are a few terms in the ad world that you need to understand before you understand the benefits of SEM.

    Some of the common terms used to understand SEM advertising campaigns:

  • Click rate
    The click rate (also abbreviated as CTR) is the number of clicks your advertising campaign receives. Users go to the appropriate landing page when they click on it.
  • Impressions
    Ad impressions are the number of times your ad has appeared in search results. This does not necessarily mean that the viewer actually saw the ad.
  • Cost per click (CPC)
    As the name suggests, cost-per-click is the amount a brand pays when a visitor clicks on the ad.
  • Cost per Mille (CPM) (also known as cost per thousand)
    The cost per mille is the amount you would pay to be visible on search engine results pages for the first thousand impressions.

Advantages of search engine marketing

Why do companies need search engine marketing at all?

Here is the list of the benefits associated with using search engine marketing.

Builds brand awareness on SERPs

If you’re using organic search strategies or SEO, it can easily take months to a year to rank on SERPs. Depending on what strategies you implement and how consistent you are in search engine optimization, you can play around less or more with this period. It would take some time to get visibility as every domain competes with yours.

Search engine marketing therefore makes your website visible in much less time. The search engine places your ad at the top or bottom of the search results page. In fact, you can make it visible on the same day that you run your ads live. This will come in handy for emerging brands and startups to gain brand awareness.

Generate predictable income

If ads on SERPs lead you to the appropriate landing page (e.g. a sign up page, the product pages on ecommerce sites, etc.), clicking on your Google ads can generate revenue for every additional purchase.

Search engine marketing allows you to predict the revenue from Google ads you serve.

You can use the following formula to calculate CPM.

Divide total earnings from Google Ads for a given time period by the total number of ad impressions for the same time period. And multiply the result by 1000.

Your business will grow with SEM and vice versa

Search engine marketing is easy to implement when you are in a growth stage. You can create multiple ad copies for better visibility.
As your business grows with every click of your ads, so does your search engine marketing.

As sales increase, you can increase the number of ads and their frequency. You can test multiple ads, choose the ones that perform the best, choose your daily ad spend, and so on.

SEM brings you to the right audience in the right place

With search engine marketing, you compete with users looking for services like yours and your competitors. Your search ads will be shown to people who are actually looking for them. That makes it easy to understand how effective it can be in reaching your target audience. The more target groups you reach, the more conversions you will increase.

With the help of search engine marketing, you are free to decide in which geographical location your ads should appear. You can select countries, specific areas within a country, any radius around a specific location, and much more.
Implementing SEM for your online marketing ensures that you are not targeting the wider range of your target audience, but rather those who would get the maximum value.


SEM offers a competitive advantage over others

Let’s say there is a chance that your competitors are doing exceptionally well in SEO efforts and the top spot.

However, SEO is not an easy thing. In fact, SEO experts know how difficult it is to get a page in the top search results. It can even take years for the sites to appear in the top ranks of the SERPs.

Search engine marketing can help you outperform your competitor’s SEO efforts. And the benefits of search engines will be many if your competitor is not using paid ads. With the right SEM strategy and a compelling ad copy, you can be sure that you will gain an edge over your competitors.

Search engine marketing is cheaper than traditional advertising

Search engine marketing is far cheaper than your traditional marketing needs. In fact, it’s 61% cheaper than traditional marketing. Since this is an online marketing mode, you have more control over what you want to display, how long you want to display ads, and how quickly you can remove ads that are not performing well.

Some of the advantages of search engine marketing over traditional marketing are as follows:

  • You are spending what your business can afford with SEM as opposed to the large dollars that brands have to spend on traditional marketing like billboards, television advertising, etc.
  • With search engine marketing you can address and reach the target group of your preference regardless of the size of your company. While in traditional marketing the old and established market participants often play the game.
  • Search engine marketing makes your marketing efforts more accurate because you know the audience, their geographic locations, and the different demographics. On the other hand, traditional marketing is vague. You have to spend millions and still don’t know if it will work out and generate income for the specified period of time.
  • Search engine marketing delivers instant results and, unlike traditional marketing, you no longer have to wait to understand campaign performance. It can even take months to show results.