Online search marketing, otherwise known as SEM, can be a complex marketing effort. However, when done well, it’s payoffs aid in branding, lead generation, and product and service sales.
In addition to having a reasonable budget for search marketing, it’s important to have these elements as well:
- Proper keywords to draw in your target market;
- An engaging call to action that will cause viewers to accomplish your goal;
- Several ads to test and modify based on reaction;
- An understanding of how search marketing works (algorithms) so you don’t waste time, money, and resources trying to get a good return on investment.
Now that you know some of the things you need, here are some misconceptions about search marketing.
- The more keywords you use in your search marketing efforts – keyword stuffing – the better off you’ll be. In the past, say five to six years ago, that may have been true. However, the current algorithms frown on that behavior and want the marketing effort to be tied directly to the offer being promoted. Instead, when doing keyword research target long-tail keywords (phrases versus single words) to draw in those in the buying mindset versus those in the information-gathering mindset. Here’s an example. If you were selling Firewall and Network Management solutions, rather than using a keyword like “network management,” use a term like “network management solutions.”
- Spending a lot of money on search marketing will positively impact your site’s domain ranking. According to this Moz article, “We’ve never seen evidence that paid advertising positively affects organic search results.” There is a “wall” between paid search and it’s impact on organic rankings. What it does do is put your ad in front of the right people who are looking for your solution at the time they need it.
- Google search is more popular than Bing search, so I should only focus my efforts on Google. Yes, Google is the world’s largest search engine, but that’s now what you should be focusing on when it comes to search marketing. Rather, look at your demographics – who you are trying to attract? For example, Bing’s users are 58 percent female versus Google’s 48 percent, according to this Wordstream blog post.
- Search marketing is just for search engines. Untrue. You can do search marketing on shopping sites, map sites, search partners (like AOL), prominent websites, and on social media platforms. It’s not just dedicated to search tools like Google, Bing, and Yahoo!
- Search marketing (paid) and organic search efforts reach the same audience, so I don’t need to spend money on paid search. Search marketing efforts help to target your content to a specific type of online users – the buyer. Organic search is used to help your brand appear in search rankings for those looking for information about you, your brand, and products or services you may offer – a much more passive online user. Putting a lot of effort into organic search pays off ten fold, but takes a lot of time, effort, and resources. Paid search helps you to reach your target buyer quicker, but you must have a specific plan in place to make it work successfully and to produce the best return on investment.
Search marketing is not an out-of-the-box solution to high returns on your investment. When done well, yes, it can be very positive to the bottom line. They key there is “when it’s done well.” Work with a marketing firm that specializes in search marketing to help you become more familiar with how it works, and to provide you with the foundation you need to bring it in house.