Search engine marketing, SEM, pay-per-click, PPC, search advertising, Google Adwords…it’s all the same thing, and to make things easy we just call it SEM.

Instant Gratification

“All this SEO stuff is great, but I need results right now, I can’t wait 3-4 months!”

There’s no doubt organic SEO is the best long term online marketing strategy. It provides the best return on investment and if you get off to a good start it’s tough for your competitors to catch up. But sometimes you just can’t wait. You need results starting yesterday, and that’s where SEM shines.

What Is SEM?

arizona-self-storageGo do a search on Google for “arizona self storage” and you’ll get a screen that looks a bit like the one on the right, except without drawing on it. At the top and down the right hand side you have search results that are paid advertisements. If you want to create an ad and have it show up there you can get the job done from scratch in about 20 minutes. You simply create a Google Adwords account, follow the steps, and soon you’ll have a campaign, an ad, you bid on the keywords “arizona self storage” and you’re up and running. The part the black arrow points to are the “natural” or “organic” search results. You can’t “buy” these spots, per se. You get there by doing good SEO.

How Does SEM Work?

This form of advertising is called “pay per click” because you pay every time someone clicks on your ad. How much do you pay? It depends on what you bid on the ad.

“But there are a lot of ads, where will mine show up? Cause I want it at the top.”

There are two things you can do to get your ads at the top; 1) pay more than anyone else, and 2) have the best ads. But this is where SEM gets a bit tricky. You might not want to have the ad in the top spot. Why not? Because it doesn’t necessarily perform the best. You might get more clicks being the ad that shows up just above the organic results. Or there might be no difference in the #1, #2, or #3 ads, other than that #1 costs twice as much as #3 per click.

The Best SEM Strategy

Getting the most from your SEM campaign means managing for best overall results, not just great placement. Would you rather have your ad in the #1 spot for all your favorite keywords, spend $250,000 per month on ads, and get back $500,000 in sales, or would you prefer to have you ad showing up in spots #4 through #6, spend $250,000, and get back $5M in sales? Don’t get hung up on the location of your ad–focus on the results that really matter.

At MWI we manage our client’s SEM campaigns for maximum results. Combined with our talent for conversion optimization, we can deliver customers to your business and do it within a tight timeline.


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