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What Is Search Marketing And How You Can Build An SEM Campaign?

| August 2nd, 2022 | 1089 Views

Search Marketing

Search Marketing consists of two components of digital marketing: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing(SEM). Some may even confuse Search Marketing with Search Engine Marketing. They are, nevertheless, distinct and by reading this blog, you’ll understand Search Marketing, but more importantly, you’ll learn about Search Engine Marketing extensively. This blog will help you comprehend Search Marketing and its components, more specifically, SEM. Finally, the blog will serve as a guide that’ll help you formulate a holistic Search Engine Marketing strategy.

What Is Search Marketing And What Are Its Components?

Search Marketing is the technique of using search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo to drive visitors to your website or generate leads. When someone types a search query related to your industry, your business should appear in the search results(preferably at the top). Paid and unpaid(organic) forms of marketing can help you achieve these rankings. As a result, Search Marketing has two disciplines:

  • SEO or Search Engine Optimization(Unpaid Marketing)
  • SEM or Search Engine Marketing(Paid Marketing)


Simply put, Search Engine Optimization consists of those internet marketing or digital marketing tactics that are organic or unpaid. SEO allows a business to market itself organically on the internet. This can involve tactics such as content generation and dissemination, Off-Page SEO, Technical SEO, Local SEO, and more.

Even the organic and paid ranks displayed on a Google SERP(Search Engine Result Page) are different. Paid rankings have the word “Paid” in front of them and appear at the top. On the contrary, organic results appear just below paid ads.

A Google Search Page Differently Displaying Paid And Organic Results

Source: A Google Search Page Differently Displaying Paid And Organic Results

The main reason why companies use this sort of search marketing is that SEO is both productive and cost-efficient. It helps a brand build trust and authority with its audience. With higher rankings on the SERP, the website traffic automatically increases leading to more organic visitors and higher sales and revenue. Also to note, as per a study carried out by GroupM UK and Nielsen, 94% of the clicks go to organic search results. This further demonstrates that people trust organic results more, which is why SEO is crucial for organizations.


Businesses use paid advertising to promote their websites on search engines through Search Engine Marketing. There’s a process for it as well, which you’ll learn about later in this blog. But for now, you should know that paid results appear at the top of the SERP.

A Google SERP Displaying Paid Results

Source: A Google SERP Displaying Paid Results

Digital Marketing is a competitive space and organic efforts may not always yield the intended results. It is then that businesses need to put some budget behind their digital marketing campaigns.

SEM is a conveniently customizable process and can work wonders if the organic digital marketing strategy or SEO isn’t producing results. Through Search Engine Marketing, a business can see quick growth or results. As per Google Economic Impact Report, a business makes an average of $2 in revenue for every $1 spent on Google Ads. Therefore, SEM or paid Google Ads may quickly propel your internet marketing efforts to new heights and is thus an essential component of Search Marketing.

How Does SEM Work?

The major goal of this blog is to focus on SEM and how it can help a business. Therefore, to start with, you should know that SEM is different from SEO. Keep in mind that SEO services might take anything from three months to a year to produce results or to achieve the target rankings. On the contrary, SEM can get you the ranks more quickly, if done wisely. Because you’ll be paying money on this form of promotion or marketing, you need to be cautious. So, to get it right there are a few things you should know starting with:

The Ad Auction

Once your business is ready to invest in SEM or paid marketing, you enter an ad auction in Google Ads. You make ads to spread your message, to advertise your products or services, etc. These ads are then shown on the SERP. Every business participates in an ad auction before the results are shown on the SERP. The ad auction has a bidding system. You place bids on the keywords or search terms that are relevant to your industry. As a result, you must first conduct deep, comprehensive keyword research to get the keywords sorted for the ad auction.

It’s unwise to bid on every keyword as you’ll be paying for them. It’s preferable to target keywords with a high search volume and low competition. As a result, select particular keywords that you are confident will generate leads and income.

Mind you, not every search query or keyword displays ads. But the ones that do display ads and if you’re optimizing for it, then it can become highly profitable for you on those keywords.

The Keywords In Google Ads

Once, you’ve chosen your ideal keywords related to your niche, it’s time you optimize them. To do so, there are ways and more majorly, the types of keywords that you can use in Google Ads:

  1. Broad Match Keywords: Broad Match Keywords appear when the user’s search query or term is related to or close to the keyword you’ve chosen. This means if your chosen keyword is sports shoes and you go for the broad match keyword setting, then your ad may also appear for searches such as running sports shoes, fitting sports shoes, and more. Take a look at this example:
Broad Match Keyword

Source: A Broad Match Keyword And The Searches That It Could Appear For

As a result, broad match keywords appear for broad or related topics rather than specialized or rigid searches. To make your ad more visible for related searches, going for Broad Match Keywords is the best option. There’s no syntax for broad match keywords and simply entering them in Google Ads makes them broad match. So, therefore, by default, keywords are the broad match.

  1. Phrase Match Keywords: A phrase match keyword setting allows your ad to appear if your selected keyword has the same meaning as the search query. Therefore, your ads appear less frequently than the Broad Match keywords. The syntax is to put ” ” around the keyword, i.e. “[Your Keyword]”.
Phrase Match Keyword

Source: An Example Of A Phrase Match Keyword

  1. Exact Match Keywords: As the name implies, Exact Match Keywords only appear for searches that have the exact same meaning and intent. To make your keywords exact match, simply place square brackets around it. Exact Match Keywords provide you with the most control over your ads.
Exact Match Keywords

Source: Ads For Which An Exact Match Keyword Can And Can’t Show Up For

  1. Negative Keywords: You may wish to exclude your ad from showing up for searches that look to be comparable but are unrelated to your business. To do this, simply add a minus (-) symbol before the keyword.

You can optimize your ad keywords as you like, but it’s critical to remember your budget and target demographic. It’s important to narrow your chosen keywords for the searches which is why Google Ads allows you to do so.

Keyword Cost

Google Ads assigns a quality score to every ad. The ads with the higher bid have a competitive advantage in getting a good quality score. Your maximum bid and the quality of your copy or ad are used to determine the quality score of your ad. As a result, because bid or keyword cost is a component of quality score, they are incredibly important.

Therefore, be cautious when deciding keyword cost as it affects your ad quality score. The better the quality score of your ad, the higher it gets placed on the SERP.

You should be aware that keywords with a high level of competition normally have a higher price or are more expensive. The budget should be set based on the keyword’s competition. Going too low on your bid can decrease the chances of your ad showing up. In the USA, the average cost per click is between $1 and$2 on the search network. As a result, your bid price must be balanced. You can also fine-tune your keywords as Broad Match, Phrase Match, or Exact Match as discussed above. Doing this allows you to target your ads for a specific audience.

The Ad Copy

Writing good ads is crucial and impacts your quality score significantly. At the end of the day, it’s your ad copy that makes an impact and makes a search engine user click on it. The ad consists of the following components:

  • Title
  • URL
  • Description

First and foremost, create an appealing advertisement that responds to a user query. After all, Search Engines are all about answering a user query. So have a relevant title, URL, and description that aptly describes what the users are searching for. Also, make the ad’s landing page as relevant as possible. The landing page is the page user lands on after clicking on your ad. All these factors combined with the ad budget determine the quality score and that affects your paid rankings on the SERP.

Also, keep in mind you don’t pay your maximum bid. The actual price that you pay for a click is explained below by a diagram.

A Diagram Explaining The Individual Price an Advertiser Will Pay

Source: A Diagram Explaining The Individual Price an Advertiser Will Pay

How To Setup An Account Campaign Structure?

In practice, structuring your ad campaigns is crucial. Structuring your ad campaigns allows you to wisely spend your money or budget. Most certainly, no company has one keyword to target and they have a group of keywords that they’d like to target through SEM. As a result, planning and organizing your campaigns become crucial.

Combining all your ad keywords in a single ad would allow only high-volume keywords to show as the entire budget would get spent on them. That’s not a wise thing to happen.

Instead, it’s preferable to arrange your ads on several levels. To do so, keep these definitions in mind:

  • Campaign: This is the highest level for managing several ad groups.
  • Ad Group: A group of keywords grouped by theme.
  • Keywords and Ad: The copy that gets displayed on the search engine with your target keyword.

Keeping this structure in mind will allow you to build better ad campaigns, the ones that are better organized. Also, remember to make use of ad extensions. Ad extensions allow you to include additional information in your ad. It could be a phone number, any links, etc. Adding a single new ad extension boosts the CTR or Click Through Rate by 10-15%, as per Google data. In your advertising, you can include one or more extensions.

Source: A Google Ad Consisting Of Call Extension

Source: A Google Ad Consisting Of Call Extension

Therefore, remain flexible with your ads and continue to test what works and what doesn’t. SEM is a matter of continuous improvement. It’s not like you did it once, and then put it on hold. It goes on and with time and experience, you should probably become more strategic with your campaigns and spending.

PPC Automation

SEM is also known as PPC or Pay-Per-Click and you can even automate your paid ad campaigns. Through this, you are charged automatically when your ad is clicked. With the help of automation, your ads are controlled by machine learning, and you don’t have to spend hours optimizing your ads campaigns.

PPC automation can even allow you to set up your campaigns. If you want your ads to stop on a particular day, it can do that for you as well. So, therefore, it’s easy automation without the manual activating, deactivating, and adjusting your ads. You can even make use of PPC automation tools to do that for you.

PPC automation makes your job easier and allows you to set up and manage your campaigns more efficiently.

Best SEM Tools For Your Campaigns

As a marketer, you’ll need the necessary tools to run a successful SEM campaign. Here are some of the finest tools you can use to create an impactful SEM campaign:

1. SEMrush

SEMrush Interface

Source: SEMrush Interface

SEMrush is a full-featured paid marketing tool that lets you do anything from keyword research to site audits to traffic analysis. SEMrush can assist you in determining how much money you can put behind certain keywords. Not only that, but with the help of this tool, you can find out paid competitors, know their keywords, and comprehend their ads.

When you’re unsure of how to outrank your competitors in the paid search, SEMrush is a valuable resource that can assist you. The tool can help you formulate a good paid strategy based on the data that you get.

2. Google Trends

Google Trends

Source: Google Trends Showing Data On The Keyword gymwear

This tool can help you figure out how popular a keyword is over time, in a particular region, or in a particular language. Through this, you can understand which keywords are trending and which aren’t. Knowing this is vital as you don’t want to put a huge budget behind unpopular key terms.

This tool is also largely beneficial for an e-commerce company as it helps them gather data on their product or services in a certain geographical area. Through this, the business gets an idea of where to display their ads and how should they budget them.

3. Google Ads Keyword Planner

Google Ads Keyword Planner

Source: Google Ads Keyword Planner Showing Data On A Paid Campaign

The quintessential SEM tool which you must use for a paid campaign. After all, you want your ads to show on Google so it makes sense to use this tool. Google Ads Keyword Planner can help you find the right keywords for your business. You can then narrow down the list and select high-priority keywords.

Google Keyword Planner also suggests a bid price for every keyword so that you can get the best advertising budget. All of this may be done directly from this tool. As a result, it can be the first tool you should use in an SEM campaign.

4. HubSpot Ad Tracking Software

HubSpot Ad Displaying Data For A Campaign

Source – HubSpot Ad Displaying Data For A Campaign

The HubSpot Ad Tracking Software allows you to review how your advertising is influencing contacts. Through this data, you can see which of your ads are working and which aren’t. For a better SEM campaign, this tool is a must, providing you with crucial data metrics such as ROI, impressions, total spend, and more.

This tool is a must-have since, with ads, you’re attempting to generate leads and income for your company, and having such vital information in your hands allows you to create comprehensive, yet effective campaigns.

5. WordStream

WordStream Interface

Source: WordStream Interface

This tool is a comprehensive advertising solution that can help you measure, and optimize your ads. WordStream is also a complete research solution for running successful ads. With this tool, you get advanced features for data analytics and a full palette of tools for creating eye-catching adverts. With alerts and workflow tools, rest assured that you’re using the right tool for your SEM campaign. Hence, WordStream can just be the solution that you’re looking for in your SEM campaign.

What Are Ads Retargeting And Remarketing?

Ads Retargeting allows your paid ads to be shown to those specific customers who visited your website but exited without buying anything. It’s a potent strategy to bring your target customers back to your website and get them to place an order. With Retargeting, your brand products and services stay in the mind of a past visitor. If they click on your ad, you can then redirect them to your website. Not just from buying perspective but even if you want to achieve a conversion like filling a form, downloading a PDF, you can redirect customers for all such purposes with Retargeting.

Ad Remarketing, on the other hand, is to push products or services to those customers that have already done business with you. Ad Remarketing primarily makes use of Email to connect with your customers. In fact, as per Moz, the conversion rate from remarketing emails can be as high as 41%. It’s a good customer retention tactic. Remarketing could include offering similar products or services, giving your customers a discount on your products or services, etc.

As a result, there’s no denying that remarketing and retargeting can significantly improve the performance of your SEM campaign. Both of these strategies have various applications, and if you utilize them in the right way, you’ll get results.


SEO and SEM are the two components that make up SEM. SEM is used to swiftly improve ranks, particularly in a competitive setting. To run a successful paid ad or an SEM campaign, you require tools and a high-quality score on your ads. To get that high-quality score, make sure you’re establishing the proper budget for your keywords alongside focusing on creating premium ads that answer user queries. If done right, SEM can provide multiple benefits and can help a company achieve its internet marketing goals quickly. It is for all these reasons that SEM is considered vital in Search Marketing.

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