Every eCommerce owner sooner or later hears about SEM. So what is it and what benefits it offers? Why is it worth investing in SEM? In this article, we will look at SEM possibilities and explain the difference between SEO, PPC, and SEM, as well as describe their definitions and benefits.
What does SEM mean? The brief definition
SEM is an acronym for “Search Engine Marketing” and the simplest way of describing what does it mean is as follows:
SEM = SEO + PPC
So in order to understand it, we need to explain those 3 terms above. In the next paragraphs we will describe SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and PPC (Pay Per Click), but firstly let’s clarify what SEM is in general.
SEM may be described as all marketing activities in the internet browsers, both in paid and organic searches.
It will be easier to explain it through an example of Google search engine. For any query we write in the search box, in response we get a list of results that contains several content variations including organic site links and paid advertisements. We see them, because page owners are implementing appropriate measures related to visibility in SERP (Search Engine Results Page), in other words, they invest in SEM. What does it mean in practice?
There are two ways to be visible in SERP: you could optimize your page with some keywords using SEO or launch a paid campaign. If you take both of those actions together, you get SEM.
SEM vs PPC and SEM vs SEO in practice
You already know that two essential components of SEM are SEO and PPC. This dependence is perfectly visible in Google search results.
If we ask Google to search for “Feedink”, in the first place we will see PPC results (marked as an advertisement). Just bellow them we get organic search results influenced by SEO. All those actions relate to SEM.
It is worth mentioning that the image above is one of the simplest SERP types. Depending on keywords that we use we can get different results:
- More PPC adverts, which are always shown above the organic searches.
- Product ads on the right side of SERP.
- Organic search results can be displayed in different formats, so called featured snippets. It could be for example a fragment of text with an answer or numbered list from some page.
Overall, we can use the following definition of SEM: it is a blend of PPC (i.e. payable ads) and organic search (SEO), since using both (SEO and PPC) yields the best effects.
Before you start, you should know one thing, there is an important difference between SEO and PPC campaigns:
- Properly managed PPC campaign will be visible much sooner than SEO – instantly, once the ads start running.
- SEO campaigns in general take more effort and time, even few months. However, links in organic search results can be positioned high in the ranking, while PPC links disappear after the campaign finishes.
Are SEM and PPC the same thing?
PPC is a component of a larger channel – SEM, but in practice marketers often treat these two terms as synonyms, thinking about paid advertising in SERP.
It is a colloquial but very common nomenclature, so it is worth remembering, since in some publications these terms may be used interchangeably.
SEM campaigns for eCommerce – possible benefits
We already know what SEM is, but how to use it in practice, especially in eCommerce?
Ecommerce’s main objective is selling products and services on the internet – SEM campaigns could (directly or indirectly) increase their conversion rate (i.e. number of transactions).
How exactly SEM could be used to boost online sales?
- Sponsored links (Paid Search). You already saw how these ads look in the screenshot. We can create PPC campaigns using Google Ads focusing on proper keywords.
(Organic search to Feedink page is present below sponsored links).
Using PPC we can attract attention at each stage of the customer journey – of course, on condition that our keywords are well defined.
- Product Ads. They are showing specific products in the product feed. This way we can facilitate shopping experience, guiding customer directly to the page with the product that he searches for.
- Dynamic Ads. You can create them automatically using Google Ads. This time you don’t have to focus on keywords – they will be chosen automatically based on the content of the page. Therefore, before starting a campaign, it is recommended to optimize texts on the page.
- Organic Search Marketing. When you create a solid SEO strategy, your page should be visible in a search engine with numerous keywords linked with your products or services. This way, your company can be remembered by users.
It is worth noting that the customer’s journey from acquiring information about the product to actually buying it may be long and take even several months, so it’s important to take marketing actions on each of its stages.
A regularly updated product feed is key to success
If you plan a product campaign, you will need a product feed containing all the data related to products you’re selling, for example product image, title, ID etc. If you want to build a highly effective campaign, the data should be regularly updated.
With Feedink your product feed will not only be properly optimised for multiple marketing channels, but you will also gain one central place, where you can update and modify all product-related information.
See what we can do for you and in many marketing channels you can conquer with our help!