What is Search Engine Marketing?

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) includes various tools and strategies to drive online marketing via search engines. The basic goal of search engine marketing is to increase awareness of a company. The website or services and performances of a company are displayed in the keyword search engine below the top results.

This allows new customers to be reached and won quickly, as approximately 95% of internet users state that they use search engines to inform themselves about a product or service before buying. Among the various search engines, such as Google, Yahoo or Bing, Google is the absolute market leader with approximately 30 trillion URLs that can land under the search results.

Google, like most other search engines, uses different algorithms to evaluate websites based on the occurrence of certain keywords, but also on the basis of the average page views or their actuality, and to rank them. If word groups are searched for by a user, the results are sorted by this rank and displayed as organic search results (Naturial Listings). Beside and above the results are short advertising texts or advertisements, which are also related to the terms sought. For companies, it is desirable to land as far up as possible in the search results. The user is suggested that he will receive useful information on the linked page. Thus, 42% of internet users say that they only click links on the first page.

Measures that increase the ranking of a company’s web presence and thus enter the organic search results are referred to as Search Engine Optimization (SEO). On the other side, the use of online ads is called search engine advertising (SEA).

What is the difference between SEO and SEA?

Search engine optimization and search engine advertising have one goal. The link to the web presence of a company should be displayed on the request of a user. Different instruments are used for this purpose.

Search engine marketing is basically free of charge and is divided into two areas. On-page and off-page strategies. On-page strategies include all measures that can be implemented directly on the side of a company. Examples are the use of keywords in the content, so the texts and descriptions of the website. This gives the web presence a higher rank for these keywords and is thus displayed further up in the search results. Companies can optimize their texts themselves. For this purpose, keywords with a certain density are integrated into their texts. Of course, there are also companies that specialize in search engine optimization and prepare the web presence accordingly. Off-page measures, on the other hand, describe everything that happens independently of the company’s own side, for example the involvement of link partnerships. In this case, websites with similar content point to each other in order to improve the ranking of the websites.

On the other hand, search engine advertisings are paid for and are offered as a service by many search engines – for example, through Google AdWords. AdWords has a market share of almost 90% in the SEA segment in Germany and is therefore market leader as well as Google itself. To post an AdWords ad to Google, a promotional text and the keywords relevant to the company are provided. In addition, you set an amount that you are willing to pay per click on the ad – but the final price can be lower than this bid. Based on various factors, including the willingness to pay, but also the quality of the website itself and the slogans, an ad rank is calculated.
If a user searches a specific phrase or keyword on Google, then the ads will be selected and displayed according to their rank. If the user clicks on one of the advertisements, this will be settled with the company. You can set a maximum budget so that even small businesses can benefit from Google AdWords. It is therefore possible to dispense with large sums for search engines. Furthermore, the risk is minimized.

Why are both areas so important for search engine marketing?

SEO and SEA offer companies the opportunity to be found on the Internet quickly by interested users. This increases the visibility of the company and allows customers and leads to be gained. Search engine marketing is in contrast to classical advertising a form of pull marketing. With pull marketing, the customer finds a product or a company, instead of the company – as is common in conventional push marketing – go to the customer and must convince him of his product or his service. This means that there is already a basic interest by the customer. This means that the probability of a purchase is higher. According to the data-based Omnichannel marketing survey conducted by Etail and Tealium, 38% of survey respondents see marketing as the most important marketing tool. 31% say that SEM is at least very important. Companies that dispense entirely with these instruments are barely competitive in the digital society.

Both SEO and SEA are equally important to make optimal use of marketing by search engines. SEO is free and can be done by a company itself. However, it takes a long time – often several months – to actually show results. So you have to constantly adapt the texts, that you use on your website, to the search behavior of the users and it takes time until the rank of a web presence actually increases. SEA, however, costs money, but performs much faster to more traffic. Since the ads are displayed above the organic search results, they attract more attention and the process, until the link lands in the top results, is significantly shorter. Through statistics, how many times the ad is clicked, how long the customer remains on the linked website, you get very quickly feedback. Alternatively, if it comes into contact afterwards. On the basis of the results one can improve the ads and develop further.

Therefore, both small and large companies should be informed about the different tools of search engine marketing and different measures for their web presence should be selected and implemented.