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SEM - Your Key to Success

Originally posted on March 8, 2016; Updated on April 22, 2022

SEM - Your Key to Success

You've got a great website and it's content-rich with excellent product descriptions and natural use of keywords throughout, yet you still aren't getting high placement on search engine results pages (SERPS), and your local business isn't growing at the expected rate. What on earth could possibly be missing? The key to your success that will place your business right where it needs to be is search engine marketing (SEM). Call us to learn more!

Search Engine Marketing Defined

Surely you have heard of pay-per-click (PPC) ads or have seen advertisements at the top and sides of search engine pages when you have searched for information online. These little gems are what SEM is all about. To put it simply, SEM is where you pay for ads to appear on SERPS, based on chosen keywords, your ad content, and keywords. What places this strategy above all other marketing functions for efficiency is that your ads are placed in front of the right customers, at exactly the time they're most likely to buy.

SEM Your Key to Success

The Keyword Conundrum

Sounds easy enough, right? Choose a handful of keywords, set up a budget and create a few ads- done! No, it's not quite that easy. Keyword management is the most fundamental portion of SEM; after all, you are literally bidding on these terms and counting on them to be what your best customers are using to find your ads. Keyword management includes:

  • Discovery- learning which keywords are most effective for your SEM campaigns
  • Research and analysis- finding alternative keywords that can be used, learning which keywords cause the most engagement and filtering out negative keywords (negatives might include DIY for products you sell ready-made, as one example)
  • Organization and grouping- developing a logical order and structure by dividing similar keywords into small groups
  • Action- creating ad copy based on your best keywords

It is important to note that this is only the beginning of a successful SEM campaign. How high your ads are placed on SERPS and how often also depends on your budget; how relevant your landing page is to the ad and how relevant your ad copy is to the keyword. The hard work you put into fine-tuning your business website will matter greatly to your PPC campaign.

AI & Machine Learning

In recent years, Google has added more machine learning and AI capabilities to your PPC campaigns to make them more efficient. AI allows your campaigns to automate processes that are time consuming and painstaking to do manually. It autonomously monitors your bidding, so that you won’t bid too low for an ad that will generate quality leads, and also helps eliminate overbidding. AI can also continuously optimize your campaigns. It runs your keywords and phrases against Google’s algorithms, performing analyses on search volumes and trends. From the machine learning, it can make further suggestions, and continue to optimize your campaigns at rates that humans just can’t keep up with.

The Human Element

But that doesn’t mean that humans are losing their place in SEM. Humans will always be necessary, no matter how worried we get about the robots taking over. AI may be able to do what people can’t, but people do what AI can not – make connections with other people. People have the emotion and compassion that is so necessary to relate to your customers.

AI and machine learning is definitely making SEM smoother and more efficient, but it’s just another tool for people, not a replacement for them. Here are some ways that people and AI work together to create a seamless SEM experience:

  • People write ads. But instead of writing full ads, we now create multiple headlines and descriptions, and AI chooses which ad to show each individual searcher depending on their search and other behaviours with the aim of showing the best possible ad to get this exact person to contact you.
  • People have to figure out the campaign logistics of who to target and how. AI helps to optimize conversions and drive down your advertising costs.
  • People have to analyze performance data to ensure the campaign is cost effective, as well as AI generated Google recommendations to determine if they align with client goals.

PPC Pros

Pay-per-click advertising is touted as the single fastest way to generate leads and grow sales from the internet. Paid search advertising can position your company at the top of the search results almost immediately and allow you to instantly connect with customers looking for your products or services. To learn more about SEM and how it fits into your digital marketing strategy, call Smart WSI Marketing today.

Lynne team member
Lynne Motkoski, Digital Marketing Strategist
Specialty: Digital Marketing Strategies
Education: MA Communications & Technology, BComm [U Alberta]
Author: The Online Marketing Handbook for Busy Entrepreneurs (coming soon)

Lynne is known for her strategic approach to marketing communications, technologies, and lead generation. She has a passion for education, keeping up with current marketing trends and practices, and helping clients keep ahead of their competition.


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