Is Paid Advertising SEM
Many home business starts want to know, “Is paid advertising SEM?” SEM is short for search engine marketing. Many home business startups mistake pay-per-click (PPC) paid advertising for SEM. I thought I’d explain the difference and offer a few tips at the same time.
While many home business startups quickly figure out how to set up a campaign in a search agent such as Google Adwords, they don’t realize that what they are doing is managing a paid advertising campaign — not conducting search engine marketing.
Obviously, paid advertising costs money. It makes sense that if you invest enough money in paid advertising and bid high on key words, you will see a rise in click traffic to your site. It’s like gambling. It’s exhilarating to see the number of clicks you generate, and many people even boost the budget to see even more clicks. You have streaming traffic to your site and the piggy bank is soon starving for more coins.
More savvy PPC advertisers learn how to fine tune their key words, bids and budgets in a way that delivers the most value. It’s not real complicated. In fact, it’s easy and because it’s easy, it has a tremendous appeal to business people who are new to the Internet.
The problem is that anyone can generate traffic if you have enough money. That is not the objective of advertising.
Why Do Home Business Startups Like Paid Advertising?
Pay-per-click programs are simply not as complicated as search engine marketing. That’s why many home business advertisers who are new to the Internet confuse their success generating traffic using paid advertising with basic SEM — search engine marketing.
I’ve spoken with clients and potential clients who are delighted with the “success” of their pay-per-click campaigns. “We’re getting so much traffic” they tell me, or “we’ve doubled traffic and our sales have gone up.” They are new to the concept of search marketing and can’t get over how successful their campaigns are.
Success Isn’t Measured by the Amount of Traffic
The real objective is not about how much traffic you are able to buy. It’s about buying conversions. Sales. Money in the bank.
Here are some figures to illustrate. 70% of people we speak with who are running their own pay-per-click campaign can answer two questions almost immediately.
. How many visitors did you buy last month?
. How much did those visitors cost you?
The real questions you should be asking are:
. How many new customers did you buy last month?
. How much did each customer cost you?
. Which keywords buy your best customers?
. Which keywords do you stop bidding on or drop bid prices on?
If I ask these questions, I usually get silence.
And that’s understandable, as most new online advertisers are experimenting with a new form of marketing and simply don’t have the knowledge or training to even know what it is that they don’t know. They see their traffic going up and their sales going up and that’s enough for them. They know that pay-per-click works, but they don’t know that it could work better.
A lot better.
Consider the amount of money you invest to generate new business sales. If you buy $500 in PPCs in one month and generate 2000 visitors to your site, but no one buys > you have zero. In fact, you’ve lost money.
If you buy $500 in PPCs in one month and generate 2000 visitors to your site, and two become customers with initial total sales of $500, you might be delighted. But what is your conversion ratio? You regained your initial investment. You maybe even gained the potential for repeat and referral sales. But if you have to invest $1 to get $1 back, you have not made much progress. And next month (when you invest another $500, you may not get any new sales). Conversion. That’s the key. Conversion success is the goal.
Hopefully you have a new understanding of what paid advertising is about — even though I have just touched the surface.
Now compare PPC to SEM — search engine marketing.
These days, even new business owners have heard the phrase, search engine marketing (SEM) > and the reason for this article is > too many web owners confuse SEM with paid advertising.
SEM (sometimes referred to as organic marketing) is the strategy that helps your site show up in the ‘free found list’ when someone uses your designated key words in their browser’s search field.
The process of SEM is about getting your site listed high up in that listing so people see you, click the (free) link and go to your site. If your site is listed on the 100th page, not many people will find your listing.
SEM gives you the opportunity to achieve a high ranking in the search engine ‘found list’ – and these listings are free – and generally more prominent than the paid ‘sponsored ads’ that cost you money.
Ask anyone what the number one key to SEM is, and you’re probably going to hear > content development and link building are essential. They would be right, but neither are number one. So what is the number one key to SEM? It’s selecting the right key words and causing your key words to be written on the page in such a way to meet search engine requirements while at the same time, motivating a favorable response from potential buyers who land on your page. Whew! I hope you followed all that.
Once your web page has the valuable information you want to publish and is written with a direct response strategy to support a persuasive sales result, your web page must be search engine optimized, and this includes embedding meta tags, as well as your visible text. Don’t get me wrong. Content plays an enormous role, but that’s for another time.
(Optimization doesn’t mean loading the page with every key word you ever thought had anything to do with your business. Wrong!) There is a strategy involved in order to get indexed above the top 1,000 listing, let alone the top 10.
As you can see, SEM is complicated and time-consuming. If you are not in the business, learning how to get just one page of your website ready for a high search engine ranking could take you hours and even days. By the time your page is ready, the search engine’s rules would probably have changed – if history is any indication.
It’s a full-time business keeping on top of what works and what has changed. Submissions must be precise and ongoing. (Yes, that’s right. After you get your page ready, you don’t just let it sit there on the Web. You must take action to let the search engines know it’s ready to be reviewed and indexed.)
There are billions of pages on the Web. It takes a little more than a few hours of time and a couple of Ben Franklins to get your web page noticed.
You can pay for paid advertising, and you can get your web pages ready for search engine marketing (SEM). Both can be effective advertising tools that generate web traffic to your site, but they are not the same.
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