SEM Search Marketing


Paid marketing through the search engines, or SEM, is the fastest way to drive targeted traffic to your web site. Sudden Sites is a Vancouver web developer that also provides SEM. The cost of SEM varies according to your online industry competition level. 92% of searches in Canada and 88% of searches in the US are done through Google. If you are not familiar with SEM paid marketing, here is how the pricing works for paid search SEM:      


SEM primarily involves bidding on key terms and phrases that target the type of customers you are looking for. The amount you bid on a key term determines how much you pay and the positioning of your search ad when someone clicks on a listing and goes to your website.  This is known as pay-per-clicks, or PPC marketing.


In SEM, paid search ads are displayed at the top of the search engine result pages, or SERPS. There can be up to 4 PPC ads at the top of the page and up to 3 ads on the bottom of the results page. The higher up the page you want your search ad to be displayed, the higher you have to bid on the key term-phrase you want. There are other variants of paid search engine ads but the bidding process is basically the same. PPC search marketing is just one of the tools for SEM.



SEM – Positives and Negatives


There are a lot of positives and negatives when it comes to SEM.  If you are not familiar with PPC marketing there are 5 main factors that you should consider when formulating a strategy and budget for SEM:


Your online competition has a big impact on cost.  In the screenshot below is a comparison of the PPC costs for two common terms used in two different industries.  The daycare industry has far less overall traffic and PPC costs are a lot lower than the car business.  The more competitive your industry is on the search engines, the more you need to budget for SEM.




The price ranges for your services and-or products will have a bearing on SEM costs.   As a rule, if you are selling high ticket services and-or products, you are probably in a high competition online market with higher PPC costs.  


Driving traffic to your website is only half of the SEM equation. Unless you are able to convert paid traffic into leads and-or sales, you can quickly lose a lot of money. Proper landing pages, appealing design, clean navigation and a message that sells are critical for converting paid traffic into sales. Make sure your website is optimized for conversions before embarking on paid marketing and SEM.    


Click fraud is a reality with SEM.  Click fraud can come in different forms, from jealous competitors trying to jack up your PPC costs, to fraudsters trying to steal a percentage of more click throughs. The higher the industry PPC range, the more prevalent the fraud.  The search engines are in a constant arms race to counter click fraud.  This is why companies with large SEM budgets use search engine certified programs to monitor click fraud.  


Pinpoint the key terms with the highest conversion rates.  A key component of SEM is tracking the results from paid marketing.  By consistently analyzing your results, patterns will emerge. You will find some key terms attract traffic with way higher conversion rates than other terms and phrases.  You will find some key terms bring in the wrong type of customer so there is no point paying for irrelevant traffic.  High conversion key terms are the core of profitable SEM.


There are obviously other factors to consider but these are the main ones.



Interested in SEM?


Give us a call and we can answer any questions you may have and suggest some marketing solutions.  You can also schedule a free consultation on paid search marketing and SEM.