Search engine marketing or SEM is a type of advertising where advertisers place ads on search engine resultant pages. So it will be made visible to people when they search on search engines.
It is one way or another related to SEO, in that the ads are visible to people when they are searching for information on search engines. But SEM is a lot faster and easier to get started with. And SEO takes a lot of time and calls for a lot of work like article writing, link building and so on. But the catch is that you have to spend money to advertise your sites using SEM.
Here I will cover the topic on Search Engine Marketing for beginners.
Search engine marketing basics – getting started
To get started with SEM is not really hard and what you are going to do is pick a SEM network like AdWords to advertise with and create an account. Then create a landing page, a page to which your visitors are going to be directed when clicking on your ads. After that, you’ll choose where to and to whom you would like your ads to be displayed. For example, do you want to select local search results or mobile devises?
That’s the basics of search engine marketing and it’s easy to get started. But it doesn’t mean that you should jump right in. If you are not careful you can lose money faster than you can imagine. So you must have a plan.
When it comes to placement, your ads can appear on different types of platforms or places. For example, your ads can appear on local search results especially if what you are advertising has anything to do with the local market. Say for example, if you were a restaurant owner in your city and want to setup a campaign to get more customers, you can add your city in your keywords mix. So whenever people search on the internet for a restaurant in your city, your ads can appear.
There are also mobile specific targeting options which let you target mobile users. This is the way to go if your products or services have something to do with mobile users. Say for example, if you want to advertise your newly released mobile app or game, you can use this option to get more downloads.
Video search marketing is also another form of advertising you can choose to advertise your products or services with SEM. If you pick this type of advertising on AdWords for example, your ads will appear at the side of videos on video sharing sites such as YouTube.
Search engine marketing basics – types
The most common one is PPC or pay-per-click where you are charged every time your ad is clicked by a visitor. Others include CPM or cost per thousand impressions and CPA or cost per action. In the case of CPM, you are charged every time your ad gets a thousand impressions or gets viewed a thousand times. On the other hand, CPA is a form of search engine marketing where you pay only when someone performs or carries out an action such as buying an item, signing up for an account, or filling out a form.
There are also other advertising types that are not SEM as such but directly relate to it. A case in point is, display advertising where you create a banner ad or any other type of graphic ad to be displayed on the advertising networks sites. Say for example, on AdWords you can advertise using graphic ads through the Adsense network. Your ads will then be displayed on some of the millions of websites that are members of the Adsense network. But this type of advertising is not considered search engine marketing as such, since the ads are not displayed on search engine resultant pages.
Search engine marketing basics – SEM networks
AdWords is one of the most widely used SEM networks. It is a complete advertising program that offers quite a lot of advertising options from local marketing to video advertising to mobile advertising. There are also a whole lot of other features to help you polish up your campaign.
On top of search engine marketing, the advertising program also offers a type of advertising where advertisers can advertise on other people’s websites. The program is called AdSense which is a network of websites that will publish your ads on their websites by sharing revenue with Google. You can choose whichever type that suits you depending on what you want to get out of your advertising campaign.
AdWords also offers a lot of advertising features and so many advertising options to help you make the most out of your SEM campaigns.
Yahoo search marketing
Yahoo search marketing is another top search marketing network you can use to promote your products. The service was founded about a decade ago as a self-serve advertising network called Overture and served advertising for a few years before it was fully acquired by Yahoo in 2013. When you advertise on Yahoo search network, your ads will appear at the side of the search results and will be labeled “sponsored search” right below them.
(Update: Bing and Yahoo have now merged and advertisers on the Bing & Yahoo platform can advertise on their combined network)
Bing Ads is another well-known search engine marketing service and a good alternative to Google AdWords as well as Yahoo search marketing. PPC and CPM types of search engine marketing are allowed. CPA and revenue sharing types are also available on the network on a limited basis.
Bing ads is provided by Microsoft, its features include contextual as well as behavioral targeting to help you tailor your campaign. Web analytics and so many other important features are also available to you so you can target and track your advertising campaigns effectively.
What’s Your Feedback?
I hope my search engine marketing for beginners article has given you an overview of what search engine marketing is. I would like to hear from you though, through your comments in the box below.