How important is this thing called SEM?

Search engine marketing (SEM) is the umbrella term used for the range of online methods you can use to ensure your website and content is ranked highly in search engine results.

From highly technical methods conducted behind the scenes on your website to all the promotional campaigns created using off the page tactics like content sharing or link building. SEM covers a large range of different marketing strategies.

It also comes in two flavours, organic and paid strategies. The paid is when an SEM company or specialist creates formal paid campaigns on search engines, like Google and Yahoo. The most common form being Google AdWords. Organic strategy or SEO, however, is based simply on how well the content and digital assets already on your website, match the search terms your customers are looking for.

When a marketing campaign combines the best strategies, listens to both customers and the business’s need, it turns into something called a unicorn campaign. Called so because it occurs in less than 3% of all marketing campaigns, unicorns can be global – think viral campaigns, or simply the best performing campaign for your company.

While rare, unicorn strategies are so special and sought after because they can end up delivering more of your traffic and conversions than thousands of other campaigns. However, to maximise your chances of getting a unicorn campaign, there are a few ways to elevate your SEO performance.

Convince the rest of your business or organisation the importance of SEO

Do you truly understand the reasons why SEM is important? If so, the first way to elevate your business’s professional SEM performance, you must establish its importance to others in your business. This might be as simple as sitting down with your boss or manager to explain how online traffic is directed to your website. It might also be as important as focusing your business’s efforts on improving certain SEM key metrics.

Convincing the rest of the organisation can be a challenging task. However, this can be made easier by demonstrating the impact of both PPC and SEO on a website. As a data-driven, SEO company in Melbourne, we have found that hard data figures can quickly convince even the most sceptical business owner.

One of the best ways to turn your business’s focus onto SEM is to maximise your human capital. For businesses owners, this might be finding ways to train existing team members on marketing strategies, or simply looking at new hires who have multiple skill sets. The ability of your team to function unified behind a certain campaign will boost your success with that campaign. There is no point advertising your reputation for customer service, or a certain deal via SEM if the staff and greater team are not informed. Not only does this discredit you in front of your customers, but it can also earn you a negative reputation with the important SEO algorithms themselves.

You have data, use it!

To effectively utilise your SEM campaigns and improve your performance, you need a clear picture of where you are and where you are going. Not just a clearly specified goal, a holistic view of your metrics can also help you monitor your performance.

To work effectively, you should monitor your ongoing and past campaigns at every level, from how they are ranking per keyword, right through to the impact on revenue and the business’s return on investment.

New technologies have also provided a range of rich data monitoring sources, enabling you to understand your industry search landscape better and more effectively reach your target audience. So, when you start bringing data results into your strategies, use them to focus on the customers. You’ll be surprised how simple information can change your company’s behaviour. Do you know what types of devices people use when accessing your content and how they find you? All these aspects affect the customer’s behaviour, the path to conversion and ultimately how effective different marketing effort are.

Pay attention to the data you have access to, it is one of the biggest tools you have at your disposal and is unique to your company and customers specific needs. The more complete your understanding of your customer is, the easier it will become to make a clear strategy that meets your customer at their need.

Work your Unicorns

We previously talked a little bit about how important and valuable unicorn campaigns are. However, it is important that as a business owner, you find your own unicorn and make the most of them. Unicorns come in all sizes and shapes, from ads to blog posts, emails, even certain landing pages and content.

With exceptional click through rates, conversion levels and high engagement, it is important you know exactly where and why that particular campaign work so well. Don’t just acknowledge your unicorn assets, make sure you use them and put them to use across the rest of the company.

So if you find a unicorn somewhere, use the same principles across your other marketing channels. Use your data to pinpoint your customer’s traits, demographics and typical online habits, then market your campaigns to those hot spots. With a smart social ad strategy, you can promote your content targeting the perfect audience for much less than other forms of advertising.

The digital marketing industry is a continually changing space, SEM tactics from even a few months previous, no longer work. With the recent emergence of AI, this might also become more complicated and fluid in near future, so it is important to continually monitor your SEM campaigns. If your company does not want to fade into obscurity, then it is important to spend time now on both SEO and PPC. As we venture into 2017, now is the perfect opportunity to set you and your organisation up for a great year.

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