Search Engine Marketing
Of the many emerging techniques and disciplines that have developed in the decentralized, Web 2.0 era of business, Search Engine Marketing is one popular and increasingly competitive way of handling marketing and advertising on the Internet. While the term is in itself rather vague, it can be broken down into several distinct subsets. As the name implies, Search Engine Marketing, or SEM, utilizes rankings in search engine results to promote links to specific sites, in the hopes of affecting buying decisions.
Many use SEM to refer more exactly to what is known as PPC, or pay per click advertising. Unlike traditional print and visual media advertising, the advertiser doesn’t have to pay specifically for space or airtime, but is ranked in high profile positions within search engine results based on how much they are willing to pay for Google Adwords and Yahoo! Search Marketing listings if a prospective buyer should click on their link and follow it to their site. The general idea is rather simple, but implementing a successful SEM campaign is far more complex than it would first appear.
For starters, there is the typical advertising and marketing considerations to weigh when embarking on a Search Engine Marketing effort. Wording is important when configuring the appropriate pitch. What works with certain keyword phrases may not work with others. Careful research must be done to match the correct pitch to the demographic most likely to use that set of search phrases. Just because you can get a lot of clicks doesn’t mean it will translate into sales. You need to target buyers, not casual â€œwindow shoppersâ€ or random surfers.
The next area that must be dealt with delicately is the economics of the campaign itself. Comparing the costs of the campaign versus the additional revenue brought in is key. Obviously, normal economics applies here. If the campaign is a money loser out of the gate, its bad. If you’re paying $10.00 per click, which is not an unreasonable price for highly sought after keyword phrases, and each click on average brings in $8.00 all told, some reconfiguring needs to be done. The idea is to hit the right niche search term with a high enough search volume but low enough competition from other advertisers to be profitable.
SEM is a complex and involved area of business that is becoming all the more crucial to the online portion of any enterprise. It’s not for the faint of heart and requires a lot of hard work and concentration, as well as constant maintenance to be effective. For larger businesses it often makes sense to outsource this to companies or firms that specialize in optimizing SEM programs for the maximum gain. In many cases, hiring a well respected outside contractor to handle this task is a wise move. In any event, as more advertising and marketing moves online, this will become increasingly important with each passing year.