Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

What is SEM?

The goal of website operators is to direct as many users as possible to the website. This can be achieved if the website ranks as high as possible in the search engine results output.

SEM is the abbreviation of search engine marketing and includes all measures for search engine optimization of websites (SEO) and search engine advertising (SEA).

What does SEO mean?

SEO stands as an abbreviation for “Search Engine Optimization” – search engine friendly optimization of the website.

The goal of website operators should be to be listed among the first 10 results, i.e. on the first page of the results output (SERP) of a search engine, for relevant search terms entered by users. In order for your website to be found organically, you need to make your website attractive from a search engine perspective. The more attractive a search engine finds your website, the higher your website will rank in the search engine results output and the more likely it is that users will arrive at your website by clicking on the results output. More specifically, search engines rank the value of each page of a website for relevant search terms. The work of making your website search engine friendly with strategies and tactics is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Criteria for ranking high on search engines include the following in particular:

  • Domain authority Age of the domain (search engines trust older domains more than newer ones) and URL structure of the pages with relevant keyword in URL.
  • secure website with encrypted connection between user and server through secure sockets layer (SSL)
  • high quality and detailed content
  • structured presentation of content (markups, plugins)
  • long dwell time of users on the website (interesting content, videos, audios)
  • relevant keywords on the website, selected on the basis of a competitive analysis (non-specific (short tail), (medium tail), topic-specific (long tail))
  • Number of backlinks from high quality websites and listing in high quality directories
  • Links from social networks
  • Provision of the website for mobile devices, with “responsive design” if possible
  • High loading speed of the website (outdated hosting technology, technical shortcomings of the website)

How can you specifically edit your website to rank better with search engines?

You can effectively improve the ranking of the individual pages of your website by choosing relevant search terms for which you would like to be found and determining for these search terms at which position your page is found by search engines. If you are on the first positions, everything is good. If you are on positions from 8 to 25, your page is already recognized as relevant by search engines, but is not yet displayed sufficiently far ahead. If the intensity of competition for these search terms is also low, these pages are most likely to be worth revising.

  • Develop these pages into informative and descriptive “landing pages” that deal comprehensively with the relevant topics. No question should be left unanswered for users.
  • Structure your landing pages clearly with formally organized headings: The landing page title is “H1”, the subtitles on the following hierarchy level are “H2”, possible others are “H3 “t, and so on.
  • Look at what terms relevant to your business are being searched for on search engines. An online marketing professional can help you with this. Use these terms in the text of your website.
  • Define technical terms you use and provide descriptive examples.
  • Lead from these landing pages directly to your specific offers in your web store with links, if necessary.

There is a high probability that the pages will rank significantly better afterwards. In this way, you can revise your entire website top-down in an SEO-friendly way.

If you also guide your users on a clear path from the first page view to paid orders and describe and visualize your products and their benefits well and clearly (screenshots), you can increase the probability of generating sales with your users. You improve your “conversion rate”.

What does SEA mean?

SEA is the abbreviation of Search Engine Advertising.

With classic advertising, you buy presence near your target customers. You lead target customers to you. That’s why advertising is one of the inbound marketing activities.

Just as you can book advertising space or advertising time in trade magazines, on the radio, on television and on billboards, you can also book advertising space and advertising time on the Internet for specific target groups and topics. To reach as many target customers as possible, it makes sense to use the major search engines such as Google for this purpose. This is SEA. SEA can be interesting to promote awareness of new offers in the market, but is also useful to support and strengthen brands.

Sponsored rankings

The operators of search engines offer to display your website on the upper ranks of the results output for search terms that you specify. For example, Google sells “GoogleAds” for this purpose. For each click that a user makes on your link, you pay an amount to the search engine operator. The amount depends heavily on the attractiveness of the search term. In this respect, SEA is a success-dependent payment model. You get “paid traffic” to your website.

You have to judge how high the value of a click to your website is for you. If you offer products on your website, the “conversion rate” plays a decisive role, which indicates how much revenue or contribution margin you generate per click to your website. Now you can compare how much a click costs and how much it earns you.

Example: If a click on your GoogleAd costs EUR 0.45 and you receive 1,000 clicks, you pay EUR 450.00 for it. Let’s assume that of the 1,000 visitors who click through to your website, 50 users reach the advertised product and 10 of them buy it (1% conversion rate). If your product costs EUR 99.00, you generate EUR 990.00 in revenue, which costs you EUR 450.00. If your product is purely digital, this sales channel may be worthwhile; but if there are variable costs associated with product creation, this route may not be profitable.

Placement of advertising banners

With advertising, you can draw attention to yourself and your services wherever your target customers are. Advertising space must be purchased. The real world (billboard advertising) is mirrored on the Internet (banner advertising). You can place digital banners on search engines and/or on websites where you think your target customers are users.

Search engine marketing: SEO versus SEA

In practice, a combination of SEO and SEA works well. Using analytics applications such as Google Analytics, observe how many users come to your website via paid advertising (paid traffic) and how many come to your website through search engine optimized pages (organic traffic). The higher quality your pages are and the better connected your site is, the larger the percentage of organic traffic will become. You will then have to pay less and less for clicks to your site.

The most sought-after places cost the most money. That’s why the choice of advertising places in media planning is as important as deciding on the intensity with which the advertising message is conveyed.

And that brings us to the advertising message by mail or e-mail. The message should appeal to the target customers. The advertising message can create this effect as well as the graphic layout of the advertisement. A story and/or humor or even provocation can help make advertising successful.

Advertising is necessary, but it costs money. Even in situations where available money is tight, there are realistic financing options that can be implemented with a little creativity.


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