Another day, another acronym.
SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing – another route a business can take to increase their website traffic.
But wait, isn’t that what SEO is for? There’s a difference – let us explain.
SEM vs SEO: What’s the difference?
SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, is all about organic results. You post frequently, offer useful information, decorate your articles with juicy keywords, and do all the rest of it to naturally boost your page rankings in Google.
Once upon a time, SEM encompassed all forms of search engine marketing, but these days, it has become known purely as the paid side of the business. It’s also known as paid search, paid advertising, or PPC (pay-per-click).
Search engine marketing strategies are significantly faster than SEO, as they jump you straight to the head of the queue. Google Adwords is the most popular paid search platform, followed by Bing Ads, which is why it’s handy to have a service like Yellow SEM that is both a Google Premier Partner, and a Bing Elite Channel Partner (which, we’ll be honest, is actually fairly rare!).
SEO and SEM tend to work well together, with some of a company’s investment going into content creation for the former, and some going into paid search for the latter. Aside from the payment aspect of SEM, one of the biggest differences between the two is the ability to seriously hone in on a particular demographic or audience for super targeted ads.
Customer groups you can target with SEM.
Targeting customers in your online marketing almost knows no bounds. Here are some of the top ways you can use SEM to speak to your audience:
By geography: If you are a local store selling homewares, you can target ads to customers within a vicinity around your shop to make sure they’re aware of your presence, and know you’re not far away. Another way of using geographic targeting is to push ads exclusively outside of your local area, for example if you run a tour company and want to appeal to travellers who are currently far away, but planning a trip to your location.
By time: Let’s say you’re a business that delivers pizza. It wouldn’t make much sense to run paid ads at 9am in the morning. From 5pm to 9pm however, when people are hungry and could be tempted into skipping the shop-prep-clean process, would be the perfect time to push your paid ads.
By behaviour: Search engines are clever enough to follow a consumer’s behaviour, so you can create audience segments cut along the lines of the way people act online. For example, a simple one is to target those who have already visited your site, which is called remarketing, and is why you’ll often see ads online for sites you have already been to. Another sneaky option (but often worthwhile!) is to target customers who are fans of your competitors, which is easy to do with Facebook advertising as so many people offer insights into their preferences with their listed interests.
By device: You can even target your ads based on what type of device your audience is browsing on. For example, if you’re advertising a game app, it would make more sense to target tablets and mobile phones, but if you’re promoting a business that people prefer to view on a laptop or desktop computer, you can skip paid ads on mobile and tablets.
Yellow’s digital experts work with thousands of businesses to ensure their SEM is as effective as it can be. If you’d like to chat with one of our team about how we can create and implement an SEM strategy to connect you with the right customers, click through to book in a call back.