Search engine positioning (SEM and SEO) is a key strategy to gain visibility and to attract traffic to our brand's website.
There is some confusion surrounding the term "SEM marketing." There's debate whether it includes payment ("pay per click" type ads), results, or covers the techniques designed to improve the positioning of a website in the search engines.
The point is that organic positioning (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) are complementary tools. Their combined use can help you in your business strategy. We will learn about them, the advantages of combining them, and how we can carry out a strategy in which the power of the two multiplies.
The elements of the SEM marketing: SEO and SEM
If we define SEM marketing in a broad way, we can divide it into two different areas. Let's see what they are and how they differ.
As mentioned before, we call SEO (search engine optimization) the organic positioning in search engines. SEO encompasses a series of tools, techniques, and strategies aimed at making a website occupy the top positions of Google without having to pay for advertisements.
Within SEO we distinguish two aspects:
- SEO optimizes the different aspects of our website from the contents and descriptions of the images to the code and more.
- SEO tries to increase the relevance of a page for search engines by getting inbound links from other websites.
SEM (search engine marketing) or search engine advertising places paid ads on Google and other search engines. These ads are at the top of the results and the advertiser is charged every time a user clicks on them. The cost associated is known as PPC (price per click).
As we can see, the two areas of SEM marketing are aimed at positioning in the search engines, but there are some important differences between them:
- They demand a different type of investment. In SEM we pay every time a user clicks on the ads, so it is a continuous and linear expense. However, in SEO we invest time and resources in the hope of obtaining a long-term result.
- They try to occupy different places within the search engine results page. The announcements are located in the upper zone, while the organic results occupy the central zone.
- They go to different points of the conversion funnel. In general, the pages that we seek to position through SEO have more informative content and seek to capture users in the early stages of interest. In contrast, the SEM focuses more on positioning landing pages, which seek a more immediate conversion and profitability. It targets users who are ready to buy.
The benefits of combining SEO and SEM in your marketing strategy
- They are symbiotic. If you invest part of your marketing budget in paid advertising, you will get more subscribers to your website. Also more users who share your content on their social networks and other sites, which in the long run will have a positive impact on SEO.
- It helps you multiply the clicks. According to data from Google, having an ad and an organic result in the first place at the same time generates 50% more clicks ( including visits and potential conversions) than if we were positioned only in an organic way.
- It helps you reach customers in different stages of the conversion funnel. With SEO, you can capture users who are beginning to look for solutions to their need. Later, when this same user is searching with purchase intent, he may find a paid ad. Therefore, the two areas of SEM marketing do not hinder one another but complement each other.
- It allows you to optimize your efforts. For example, if you have done keyword research, you can use what you have learned in both SEM and SEO campaigns.
- Multiply your online visibility. Even if users don't click, seeing your brand twice when doing an online search increases the user's memory of your brand and associate it with what they need.
How to create a combined SEM strategy step by step
As we have seen, combining SEO and SEM is a strategy that helps you get the most out of your SEM marketing. Let's see how to do it in three steps.
1) Research your keywords
Keywords are the essential pillar in any SEM strategy. To carry out a complete study, it is advisable to follow this method:
- Analysis of the current situation of our own website and those of the competition. What words are you positioning for?
- Definition of the buyer person, focusing on what their needs are and how they seek to resolve them through online research.
- Search for generic keywords, in "brainstorm" mode. Here we will rely on tools such as Google keyword planner, Ubersuggest, Moz or SEMRush.
- Search for "long tail" keywords (more specific). Continue to take advantage of our tools to find those terms that seek to respond to a very specific need that our brand can solve.
- Cleaning and classification of the list. Finally, we must analyze the list of keywords we have generated and stay with those that are more relevant to our brand, have a higher number of searches, and generate less competition. We will also classify them according to their interest for SEO or SEM.
2) Create your SEM campaigns
Given its potential to generate immediate results, we recommend starting by creating SEM campaigns and leaving other aspects of the SEM marketing for the next step.
It's time to define the campaigns, ad groups, keywords and creatives. We will use them in Google Ads, Bing Ads or other similar solutions and put everything in motion.
3) Take advantage of the work done for SEO
Once we have our SEM marketing campaigns running, we will start with the organic positioning of our website. For this, we will rely on the research of keywords that we have made. We can also use the first results of our ads to get an idea of which topics attract more interest in users.
This information will help us create well-targeted content that responds to the needs of users and their search habits. It will give us many points when positioning. In parallel, we will also launch the actions of the SEO off page or link building, a very important marketing SEM technique to improve our authority and positioning.
SEM has great potential to help companies achieve their goals quickly and scalably. It's ideal to have experts who have extensive experience positioning brands in Google.
If you want to take advantage of all the benefits of SEM marketing for your brand, get in touch with us!