Growing your business effectively in today’s highly competitive marketplace with search engine marketing, or SEM, is one of the most effective strategies you can implement. With thousands of growing small businesses in an increasingly saturated space, it’s important to promote your products and services online the right way with search engine marketing.  

In today’s post, we’ll give you a quick rundown on the basics of search engine marketing along with some tips and strategies for doing it the right way without wasting money. Let us begin! 

A Quick SEM Overview 

If you’re not too familiar with search engine marketing, it’s the process of marketing your business using paid advertisements the will show up on search engine results pages, also known as SERPs. You do have the ability to advertise on Google and Bing but in this case, we will be talking about Google’s SERPs since that is the main search engine that a Harrisburg SEO Company | Local Search Engine Optimization Experts optimizes for. 

The advertisements that show up on the SERPs are known as pay-per-click ads, or PPC ads. You’ve probably see then whenever you search for something in Google and see a green “Ad” label on them. Some of these ads can be for local services like plumbers in your area, or for certain products that you search for. There’s no limit to the types of PPC ads that you can place on Google. They’re available for nearly every service or products available.  

The great thing about search engine marketing is that it places the advertiser’s ads directly in front of the customers before they see anything else on the SERPs. These ads are highly targeted according to your search results which makes them on of the most powerful marketing strategies that you can implement for business growth.  

SEM or SEO: Are They Different? 

In laymen’s terms, search engine marketing is the process of using paid ads on the search engines to advertise while SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of optimizing a site to gain a place in the SERPs organically without having to pay. Implementing both SEM and SEO strategies should a sure part of your company’s marketing campaign because of their many advantages. Driving long-lasting organic traffic to your site with SEO will save the company thousands of dollars in marketing costs once that top position is acquired and SEM can drive additional traffic directly to your sales funnel.  

Proper Keyword Research 

Keywords are the basis for both search engine marketing and optimization. Whenever someone types in keywords into Google for a specific product, service or even a question, it unknowingly becomes the foundation of the advertisers PPC strategy 

Before choosing any random keyword to start your search engine marketing campaign, proper keyword research should be done in order to properly optimize for your target customers. You want to start off by finding keywords that prospective customers would use when searching your products or services related to your business. One tool that we primarily use is Google Adwords Keyword Planner. Why not use a product that collects of the data from customers are typing in keywords directly into their search engine! There are other great tools out there that you can also try and it doesn’t hurt to see what other keyword suggestions are available for your campaign.  

You also want to bid on buyer intent keywords and exclude negative keywords. Negative keywords are words like “how-to” or “DIY” that does not show buyer intent. Instead these are people looking to do something on their own without the help of a company or product. These negative keywords can be added to a list which will exclude them from your campaign if a user types them in their search string.  

On the other hand, you want to include buyer intent keywords that prospects type in whenever they are actually looking to buy something. These keywords have high commercial intent and provides a good signal of a sale. These search phrases can include words like best, buy, deal, coupons, and even free shipping.  

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