Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Certified Pay Per Click Online Advertising

  • Complete Management of Google, Bing/Yahoo accounts – allow our Google Certified team to help you stay on top of your SEM campaigns.
  • SEM Account Audit – is your account in need of a revamp or you just don’t know which direction to take next? Our SEM account audit looks at historical data, aligns performance with best practices and your business’ goals and delivers an accurate snapshot of your accounts health, complemented with actionable recommendations.
  • SEM Consulting – are you working on a rebrand or new strategies? Our team will spend time with you at your work location and help you define next steps to continue utilizing SEM to its fullest capabilities.
  • Google Ads (previously known as AdWords) Workshops – do you have a new team in-house or just need an effective and efficient way to bring everyone up to speed? We offer half- and full-day workshops, delivered at your business location. Our workshops are developed around your and your team’s needs and are customized for every client.

Our 6 Step Approach Your SEM Strategy:

  1. Conduct account audit and flag any areas that need immediate attention.
  2. Determine key performance indicators (KPIs) and goals for your SEM efforts.
  3. Develop and align account structure to your website and business operation.
  4. Monitor and optimize your account on a regular basis.
  5. Make sure that any new campaigns meet best practices set by Google, Bing and Yahoo.
  6. Through regular reporting track the success of your campaigns and make changes accordingly.

Stay on top of your SEM

Paid search is an advertising medium, which has been around for 20+ years. It is one of the most important areas of marketing and one of the biggest budget allocations for digital advertising. Paid search has a great impact on discovery of brands, products, and services, reaching users at a critical moment – when they are typing what they are thinking about.

Because it has been around for so long it is an arena with many competitors, which can also makes it an expensive one.

Google AdWords is possibly the largest local ad marketplace. To utilize the platform to its fullest capabilities and to drive ROI, you have to be an expert. It takes a lot of experience plus understanding of how pay per click works to properly set up and manage a successful campaign. Thus a lot of businesses fall into the trap of keeping the management of this platform in-house and end up spending a lot of funds, without being able to track results. In the long run it may save you money to hire an outside professional to do this for you, instead of attempting it in-house.

Depending on the size of your account, maintenance and management efforts can easily take anywhere from one hour a day to four or five hours a day. Do you have the bandwidth to allocate that time consistently?

Before diving any deeper, it is important to know the difference between the search engine results you see after you enter a query in a search engine.

Search Engine Advertising

Often times, the first part of what we see in search result pages is sponsored results. Based on what your query was, it triggered text messages that someone paid to have show up. That is search engine marketing or SEM.

Search Engine Organic Results

The second part of the results you see when you type a query in a search engine is called organic results. Again, based on what your query was, search engines use algorithms to decide what is most relevant to show to you, not influenced by advertising bids dollars. Trying to get your content or your page rank in organic results is a process called SEO or search engine optimization.

Local Business Results

Depending on your search, you might see complete business information on the right-hand side, next to the organic results. This information is important for every business to have up-to-date and complete.

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Most Popular Search Engines

In the biggest portion of the world (most countries which use the Latin or Roman alphabet), Google holds the biggest market share. In the U.S. for example, Google owns 67.6% and is the dominant search engine. In other markets such as Russia or China, engines such as Baidu or Yandex may be the dominant ones. In any case, the basic principles tend to be similar among different search engines.

Reach People At The Right Time

SEM allows you to reach customers at their moment of intent. They are not in their living room trying to relax, rather actively thinking about something they need, taking actions, spending money, etc. So that alone makes it a uniquely valuable moment to reach your customers.

Reaching people as they search for specific things also allows you to be in full control of how and when people see your ads. For example, you might want to target only users who are looking for red service dog vests. Search engines provide the tools to refine your ads visibility by excluding any other searches for dog vests (e.g. other colors, fashion dog vests, dog swimming vests, etc.). This flexibility is very powerful especially when we work with smaller budgets, because it allows us to “trim the fat” and make your buy more efficient and increase your overall return on ad spend (ROAS).

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Ads

Search ads are text only. They have strict character limitations, as well as advertising policies they should follow. Knowing how to craft your messages right is key to overall success.

It is also important to know that search ad formats change over time, particularly as search is evolving to be more suited to mobile devices. For example, we no longer engage with ads that just lead you to a web page, but also features, such as click-to-call. Those allow us to further study intent and respond better to customer who might be looking to speak to someone. Your ad can offer a message, which detects if a user is on a mobile device, and upon clicking on it the user phones into your business right away.

Only Pay When People Engage With Your Ads

You only pay when people click on your ads. The impressions your ads generate (just someone who sees your ad but doesn’t click on it) are free. This bidding model is called cost-per-click (CPC) or pay-per-click (PPC). This model is vastly different to traditional advertising where your cost is based on the audience who is watching television and sees your ad. It can prove to be more much more efficient in two ways:

  • Your ads are triggered only by people who are actively searching for your products and services – the overall relevancy of your message and viewer is much higher
  • You only pay when someone actively responds (clicks) to your ad

How Is Cost Per Click (CPC) Calculated

In addition to knowing when you pay, it is important to understand how your CPC is calculated. In the “reverse Dutch auction” everyone enters information on how much they’d be willing to pay to appear in the search results for a given term (also know as maximum CPC). With that information at hand, Google takes everyone’s bid and compares the respective ads based on a number of variables to determine which one would have the highest rank. The highest-ranking ad pays only one cent, above the next highest bidder.

So if your maximum CPC is set to $5, but best ranked bidder after you is only willing to bid $2, you will end up paying only $2.01 per click. That’s how the reverse Dutch auction works. It is a very efficient way to find and maximize the right price in the market for value to both sides.

Best User Experience In A Fair Playing Field

A crucial aspect to SEM, however, is that how much you are willing to bid is not the sole factor that influences ad ranking. As mentioned above, additional variables play a role in your overall ad performance. This is a mechanism was developed by search engines in order to provide the best user experience possible. Google’s promise is to show you “the most relevant results possible” for your query. If Google shows you relevant, useful messages, you are more likely to click. The more you click on ads, the more money Google makes. Alongside the user experience, ranking ads based on more that just budgets makes the playing field for advertisers as fair as possible – you don’t need to have the biggest budget in order to drive ROAS from SEM. What you do need is a strong partner who understands the platform in depth and stays on top of any updates and/or changes as they evolve

Customer intention is extremely valuable, which makes SEM a marketing channel in high demand for many local businesses. However, there are only so many searches done each day on all available devices. As a result, two things can occur:

  • You can only spend so much once you saturate specific queries.
  • High demand + limited inventory = higher overall costs.

There are many categories where you might need bigger budgets to stay competitive. We can help you determine if SEM is the right approach for you and how you can make efficient buys to support your business objectives.

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We are excited to announce that Twelve Legs Marketing, won a Heartland Regional Emmy Award!