Search Engine Marketing: What Is It and How Do I Do It?

There are over 640 million domains on the World Wide Web – and thousands more are being added every day. Using effective search engine marketing strategies will help your business stand out, and is a crucial step to driving website traffic and reaching consumers when they’re ready to buy.

Ninety-three percent of web experiences start at a search engine and 75% of users don’t look past the first page of results, making your website’s visibility critical to reaching your target audience. This is where search engine marketing (SEM) comes in.

SEM is the collection of methods used to gain traffic and visibility through search engines such as Yahoo! or Google. The more visibility your website has, the easier it is to find – increasing your click-through rates. A typical example of SEM is paid search advertising, which appears on the top and right-hand side of your results page.

One of SEM’s many advantages is flexibility. You can target who sees your ad, down to the postal code – resulting in less waste in your ad spend, and more quality click-throughs. SEM plans can accommodate any budget; you’re not paying for users just looking at your ad, you’re paying for actual clicks to your website. You pay for genuine consumer interest in your product or service.

These days, almost everyone has a smartphone. More than ever, people are searching “where to eat” and “where to shop” on the go. SEM is the best way to make sure it’s your link that’s popping up – flagging your business to those hungry customers.

But how does SEM work?

When a user makes a search a “spider” is sent out. This spider crawls through the web, pulling out webpages that appear relevant to the user’s request. Tools such as Google AdWords can check which words and phrases are being searched most frequently. You can bid to use those keywords or phrases so that your website is a top result when those searches are made. The key to search engine success is using the right keywords and phrases, and then grabbing your customer’s attention with effective copy that will entice them to learn more about your business.

Great SEM copy is crucial to increasing your click-through rate.

Here are four tips for writing effective SEM copy:

1.    Be precise

You only have a few sentences to work with. Make them count. Say what you have to offer and why you’re different from the next guy.

2.    Use keywords and phrases

If the search term is used in the ad copy, it not only confirms relevancy to “spiders”, it tells the consumer you’re offering what they’re looking for. If the search term is “cheap organic pizza”, use it as more than just a search term; incorporate it in your SEM copy and avoid looking too general.

3.    Be specific

If a user is searching “cheap pizza”, advertise your deals and prices, as that’s what is important to your customer. If they’re searching “organic pizza”, talk about where your wholesome ingredients come from, or the thought and care that go into your products. By being specific, you can cater to different needs.

4.    Consider tone

Tone changes depending on your target audience. If you are advertising to businessmen, you talk to them differently than you would to a teenage girl. Reach your target audience effectively by using a tone and vocabulary that appeal to your market.

5.    Consider the buy cycle

A general search term means the consumer is looking for more information, while specific ones may indicate they’re ready to buy. For example, if someone searches “Ottawa pizza”, they are likely just researching their options and educating themselves. If they were to search “order pizza online”, they are further along the buy cycle and ready to make a purchase. Write your SEM copy to address specific needs.


With the perfect SEM strategies, the proper tools and precise copy, you can drive website traffic and effectively reach consumers when they’re ready to buy.

For more help developing the perfect SEM plan for your business,

Contact Acart today


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