SEM, or Search Engine Marketing
In the previous parts of our series on the different dimensions of internet marketing, we explained what to look for when creating your own website and what software to choose to update it. Then we briefly presented the benefits and threats of running your company's website on social networking sites. We showed how to set up your own fan page on Facebook. You've learned Google Analytics - how to place a tracking code on your website, what statistics to pay attention to and what knowledge to obtain from GA reports. In this part, however, we will introduce you to a completely different knowledge - related to SEM - internet marketing in search engines. It is a very popular and extremely effective field of marketing recently. Generally, it is about getting the best (highest) position in the search results - there are many different ways to do this, and in the later parts of this cycle we will try to bring you closer to them.
We will tell you what is the essence of SEM - internet marketing in search engines, what it is all about and what it covers. We will explain the importance of search engines in marketing and briefly present the types of SEM depending on the type of search results.
SEM - the essence of internet marketing
SEM - Search Engine Marketing - called in Polish search engine marketing is a relatively young marketing mechanism. As we have already mentioned, it is based on the position of the website, the page in the search results. Internet marketing in search engines is defined by Heather Lutze, a specialist in issues related to SEM:
It is a set of marketing activities aimed at increasing the visibility or findability of a company, product, service, activity, organization or website. Two popular methods used in search engine marketing are sponsored links campaign (PPC ads) and website optimization for search engines (SEO).
Search engines and their importance in marketing
Let's start our considerations about SEM by explaining what an internet search engine is. This is because it is a type of website (or program) that searches the Internet for pages, information and content in accordance with the keywords given by the Internet user. Search engines rely on four different tools:
- Pajak - he deals with reading the codes of pages, treating them entirely as text. The information contained in the tags is used by another tool - the searcher - to determine the topic of the page.
- Database - they collect information obtained by the spider and index the pages.
- Index - collects words that the spider has found. These words are assigned to specific places in the network where they occur.
- Searcher - a search module - it is used by the user by entering a phrase into the search window. Searcher searches the indexes for specific words and presents the result of the searches to the internet user.
This is approximately how search engines work. The activities of spiders and indexing and searching tools can increase their scope by following specially created algorithms. It is also worth adding that the indexes are constantly updated and the robots operating in search engines constantly collect new knowledge related to the Internet resources.
The most popular Internet search engine in Poland is the global tycoon - Google. Its use is declared by 93% of Polish internet users. This is a real declassification of the competition - next in the list, Bing is used by just over 2% of respondents, and Yahoo! - known mainly in Asia and North America - in Poland it is used by slightly more than 1.5% of respondents. The rest of the users declare to use, inter alia, from search engines operating at large internet portals (WP, Onet, Interia).
Given the popularity of Google, we will primarily consider this service in our further considerations on search engine marketing.
Where did the interest of search engine marketing specialists come from? It's very simple - it was found that if a web user types a phrase into the search engine, it means that he is interested in it. Then it is enough to reach him with the right offer and the chance of making a purchase or other action by him is almost guaranteed. That is why it has become so important to be in the right place in the search results.
Methods were started to improve the position of a given result (link to the page) on the search results pages. First of all, they are based on keywords for a given page. If they match what the user enters, search engine search programs will pick up on this - the greater the match, the higher the result will rank. However, it is not difficult to guess that keywords turned out to be an easily exhaustive criterion for page positioning. Therefore, search engines began to take into account also other parameters of the website - including the speed of its loading, the number of links in the network leading to the page, etc. On the other hand - the fact of striving for high positions was used and thus the PPC advertising was introduced. The future of internet marketing in search engines is still viewed with some optimism. Despite increased activities related to social media marketing, specialists claim that SEM will be the most important branch of online marketing for at least a few more years.
Types of SEM
Two popular methods that Heather Lutze mentioned in the quotation we quoted earlier - sponsored links campaign and website optimization (SEO) - are also components of the frequently appearing online equation explaining the essence of SEM:
SEM (Search Engine Marketing) = SEO (Website Optimization) + PPC (Pay per Click)
We will now briefly discuss these two most important methods used in SEM. These are, in practice, the two main types of search engine marketing.
Search engine optimization
In Polish specialist literature, it is also referred to shorter as positioning or the English acronym SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is used. What is SEO? These are all activities that are intended to influence the search engine robots that check the matches of search results to specific queries. These are activities consisting in modifying the content of the page and its elements in such a way that it can be considered the best result for a given query. What does SEO consist of?
- Selection of keywords and phrases (the greater the convergence of the keywords and phrases of a given page and the phrase entered by the searcher, the higher the chance of a high position in the search results).
- Appropriate planning and placement of keywords in the content on the website.
- Optimization of the source code elements of the website - in particular the so-called meta tags.
- URL optimization.
- Building a network of links leading to your website.
It should be remembered that SEO is not a one-time action - it is a continuous process of matching a website to searches conducted by internet users. We will discuss all SEO elements in detail in the next parts of our cycle.
Non-advertising search results on SERPs (SERPs - Search Engine Results Page) are called organic search results.
Sponsored links campaign
It is a Polish term for the English abbreviation PPC (Pay per Click) - another component of SEM. It is a form of advertising in search engines, consisting in buying places on SERPs. It is based on keywords and is related to the phrases searched by users. When they coincide, such an advertisement will appear in the sponsored links section of the SERP. The PPC model is not the only payment model for this type of advertising, but it is undoubtedly the most widely used. A search engine (eg Google) sets prices for a click on a sponsored link - then you pay as much as the number of clicks from users on your link in the SERP. We will discuss sponsored link campaigns in detail in part 12 of the cycle.
Search results in the form of advertising on SERPs are called paid search results. They must be clearly marked as sponsored (advertising) links.