SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing, or marketing through search engines, which can be paying or non-paying (although they are usually paying). Their objective is to make our websites more visible (that is, to make our sites be more frequently found and in a better position when a user makes a specific search).
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Thanks to this type of marketing based in search engines, it is possible to publish our products or projects quickly through the web. In addition, as they are always based on search engines operations, they usually give very good results, since people constantly use them to search for products or services through key words.
Search engines provide us with tools that allow us to advertise ourselves through them by using certain words or search terms.
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The main advantages that SEM or marketing through search engines offers are:
• It allows you to increase the number of people who visit our website.
• We can reach more people compared to other alternative means. Consequently, we will need a lower investment. This way, we will be able to compete directly with other products whose advertising campaigns are much bigger.
• We can lead the product or project we want to spread to very specific sectors or markets.
• People who use search machines to find a specific product or service are normally highly motivated. Thus, it is highly likely that a good marketing campaign based on SEM will have a rapid return on investment through a sales increase, the acquisition of customers or your brand recognition.
• The tools we use to implement a SEM also offer us other tools to perform an accurate web analytics in real time. Therefore, we can customize and control a substantial amount of variables in detail: who the visitors are, what they do, their profiles, etc.
We will also mention some of the SEM inconveniences, such as:
• It is only valid for peple that use search machines on the internet.
• As there is a widespread increase on the internet, there is a strong competition for using some specific key words, which sometimes raises up the price significantly.
• If we want to prepare a long-term publicity plan through search machines, it may be rather expensive, since they only work while you are paying for the service.
The main SEM methods available are search engine positioning (SEO, o Search Engine Optimization) and PPC (Pay for Clic). We are going to explain them briefly.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is basically the registration process and positioning/optimization of our website on the most important search machines, such as Google, through key words. The main objective is that, when someone searches with a key word, the link to our website appears in the first positions of the non-paid links.
For this reason, SEO is commonly known as “Search Engine Positioning”.
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We are not going to go deep into the factors by which a search engine positions a website better or worse. However, it is interesting to learn some basic aspects:
• The main factor that a search engine takes into account when positioning a website better or worse is popularity. Therefore, the more visits a website has and the more times it is shared, the better placed it will be.
• Additionally, if the website is closely related to what it is searched, its positioning will be better.
• When optimizing a website positioning, it is important to take into account some factors such as the key words, their loading time, the hyperlinks format, whether its code is or is not optimized, if it has a presence on social networks, etc.
• In conclusion, the more value our website provides, the better positioned it will be in searches.
In the infographic below, you will find 16 keys to optimize your websites on search engines.
In this infographic below we can see a comparison of the last tendencies when implementing a SEO, in relation to the traditional way.
5.3. Google AdWords
Google AdWords is the most used and widespread SEM application (marketing through search machines). It is an advertising service developed by Google that provides sponsored advertising to potential advertisers.
The advertisements are sponsored by Google AdWords and they basically appear in the Google search results:
a) Next to the regular searches (called “organics”), at the top or at the bottom. They usually include the word “Ad” and have a yellow background next to the URL.
b) As banners on webpages. They can be text, images or video and are called Google Adsense. In this case, Google shares the publicity incomes with the website owners.
The Pay-Per-Click concept is based on the fact that the advertisers pay Google per each click that a user makes on their advertisement. However, it is not a fixed price, but it is auctioned off depending on the current supply and demand. Similarly, the place in which the advertisement appears will depend both on this price and on the advertisement relevance.
How Google Adwords operates in more detail when positioning an advertisement will depend on the advertisement ranking. This ranking will be the result of multiplying the maximum price that you may be willing to pay for a key word (through a bidding or auction) and the word quality level. A low quality level means that what is being searched (through that word or search term) would be closely related to the key word which the advertiser is bidding for, as well as to the advertisement and the landing page that the advertisers owns.
The key word quality is very important when getting the best position in the search result. The advertiser who places the highest bid is not always the one that gets the first position. If we look at the following table we will see how Advertiser 1, although having a lower bid than Advertiser 4, gets a better ranking (because of the better quality). Advertiser 4, although having the highest bid, will not get the first position in the Google Adwords ranking.
Finally, Google Adwords enables to integrate with Google Analytics application, so that varied reports on advertising performance can be obtained.
In the following infographic you can see a summary of advices on how to use Google AdWords.