Virtual marketing- A comprehensive study of search engine marketing

Search Engine Marketing or SEM is the term given to the type of marketing which is done over different search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Initially, SEM included both Search Engine Optimisation and Paid Advertising, but now SEM is generally associated with all kinds of tools for which money needs to be spent. SEM, when combined with SEO, has the power to become the most effective marketing strategy for a business entity. So, before discussing SEM in more detail, let’s have a quick look at SEO.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

The most basic thing to know about SEO is that it is a process of optimising your website in such a way that its natural or organic visibility in search engine results improve to the point of top five search results or at least the first result page. Organic or natural visibility refers to unpaid rankings which can only be achieved through quality content and better user experience on the website. SEO is something which cannot be achieved in a day or a week. It is a long process of constantly improving the website with unique content and backend optimisation. There are various factors which make a website more useful for the people and so the ranking is based on it accordingly. For a more detailed view on SEO, please visit the link- what is search engine optimisation?

Coming back to the main topic, SEM requires a different kind of strategy keeping in mind that it is paid to advertise. So, it is expected to produce quick results and easy return on investment. Following are some of the basic things one will come across while doing SEM.

Keywords: The roots of SEM

Keywords can be regarded as the roots of SEM. People search for a particular product through specific keywords so a keyword research on the basis of your type of business is a necessary factor in SEM. It is very important to understand consumer behaviour and figure out those commonly used words which will provide you with the maximum number of leads. You may use various keywords planning software like wordstream which might give you good ideas for different keywords related to your company or specific products.

Some common keywords which generally attract consumers are buying, discount, deal, coupons, free shipping, free gift, offer etc. It depends on the kinds of products and companies to choose the most suitable keyword. Also, once you make a Google AdWords account or a Bing Ads Account, they give you some free credits initially which you may use to experiment on different keywords.

Keyword Management combined with proper account structure

For a Company selling a number of products or even a single product, it is very important to have a proper structure of what you want to show the consumer.

For example, Company A is a pizza company who makes two kinds of pizza one veg pepperoni and one non-veg spicy chicken. Now, for Company A’s proper SEM strategy, it needs to structure its account in three different ad campaigns- one for veg pepperoni pizza, whose keywords should be related to it and the landing page should be the pizza specification page with a big picture, the second one would be for the non-veg pizza with the landing page of its picture with all the details and the third would be for the pizza company itself whose landing page should be the main website.

For those who don’t know what a landing page is, it is the page which opens when a customer clicks on the search result ad. This landing page can be the websites’ home page or any other specific page of the website.

So, it is very important to take advantage of all possible ways of advertising your products through search engines and with more keywords, the chances of success increases.

Ad Auctions’ key aspects

You got your basics covered with proper keywords research and everything. The next hurdle is to win the ad auction since many companies want the same keywords and they also want their ads to publish first. In order to understand this process, Google AdWords’ auction process is the best example.

This is not a typical auction where whoever bids with the highest amount wins. A good budget is always handy but in order to win this auction, the quality of the ad needs to be top notch. The two metrics, on the basis of which Google ranks an ad, are the Maximum Bid or Cost Per Click(CPC) Bid and the Quality Score of the Ad.

The maximum bid is the amount you are willing to pay for a click say 1 or 2 dollars. The quality score is determined by Google on the basis of an Ads utility to the users and their queries. Its scale, in general, is 1 to 10. The Ad Rank is calculated by multiplying the CPC with the quality score and the person with the highest rank wins. In this case, winning means that your particular ad will be given priority and people will see your ad first before anyone else’s. Therefore, a person with a CPC of say 2$ and a quality score 8 will win the auction against someone with a CPC of say 4$ and a quality score 3.

In this type of auction, it will depend on how good your ad is. How the landing page is appropriate for solving the user’s problem. For a very good ad, you will ultimately spend very less money.


The process is almost the same for the Bing Ads auction with the exception that the CPC is calculated again for the top ranked person and it generally gets lower than what was originally bid by the person. This new CPC for the 1st Rank Holder is calculated by dividing the AD Rank Score of the 1st Rank holder with the 2nd Rank Holder. For the 2nd Rank Holder, the ad score of the 2nd Rank Holder with the 3rd and so on.

CPC($)

Quality Score AD Score or Rank New CPC($)

2

5 10 1.10(10/9)
3 3 9

2.25(9/4)

4 1 4

4

 

Do not panic if this all seems too difficult. It comes with practice. All you need to do is apply the concepts and learn as you go through with the process. The best part about these SEM tools is that once you start a new campaign, you start seeing some results from day one which helps you alter your strategy and save money. You can stop at any time and you only pay if someone clicks your ad. You won’t be charged anything if no one clicks your ad on a particular day. So what are you waiting for, start learning and earning?