Why Your Company Should Leverage Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

June 19, 2020

While newer, flashier or more dynamic marketing resources have emerged in recent years, the fact remains that search engine marketing, or SEM, is a pillar of any strategic marketing plan. SEM isn’t always the first thing marketers talk about when they discuss their strategies, but any business that wants to get the word out about their business makes great use of the search engines. Here’s why your company should utilize SEM to its fullest potential.


Search engine marketing may seem like one of those things you can put off — until you look at the numbers behind the scenes.

More than a third of product searches begin on Google. Ninety-five percent of mobile searches are done using Google, and mobile searches comprise 60 percent of Google’s search volume. Four out of every five consumers use a search engine to obtain information about local businesses. () The list goes on and on, but all results point to one indisputable fact — if you want a successful business, you need to make a name for yourself on the search engines.

There’s More than Just Google

One important thing to understand about SEM is that it’s not only about Google anymore. Yes, Google is undoubtedly the world’s most popular search engine. But it’s not the only game in town.

Microsoft’s Bing runs a distant second to Google, but it’s a capable search engine with a loyal following, clocking in with a market share of nearly seven percent in the United States. Concerns about Google’s privacy practices may push that number higher in the future. Bing doesn’t just have a decent searcher base, though. It’s also a great platform for paid search. Ad rates are significantly cheaper on Bing, which could help an upstart company to get noticed at a fraction of Google’s cost.

Additionally, there are aspects of the SEM game that aren’t even related to conventional search engines. Amazon is host to more product searches than Google, making it valuable real estate for any business that sells consumer goods. Sites like eBay can also be beneficial to marketers looking to gain exposure. There are many avenues for search engine marketing. Google is just the beginning.

Mobile Search

To the uninitiated, there’s not much of a difference between desktop searches and mobile searches. However, there’s a significant disparity between the two. The marketer that understands these differences, and executes their SEM strategies accordingly, will be very well-suited to thrive in the modern marketplace.

Generally speaking, desktop browsing is more informational. People do research on computers; they obtain information, seek reviews and consider alternatives. If they’re ordering online, they may do so right then and there from their desktop.

Mobile searching, on the other hand, is completely different. Mobile searchers are out and about. They’re on the go, and they’re looking to buy something now. They generally know what they’re looking for, but they’re relying on a search engine to give them the best option.

That last part is a huge problem for companies that don’t understand SEM. An incredible 30 percent of search engine results that land on the first page of Google’s search results on desktops don’t crack the top ten on mobile devices. In a medium like mobile search where searchers are much more likely to click on one of the top results, that’s the difference between a thriving business and an empty shop.

Having a SEM presence for mobile-based search queries is the holy grail for local businesses. If someone needs gas in an unfamiliar area, they aren’t going to spend ten minutes looking for the best option. Instead, they’re going to go with the closest option, or the one they see first. That sentiment remains true for any other type of in-store purchase. Knowing how to reach these mobile shoppers is critical for any business, and it’s a major reason why SEM is so important.

Maximize Your Niche

There’s a corner of the Internet for everybody. SEM can help you to reach the very audience you’re trying to target.

The great thing about SEM is that you don’t necessarily need to revolve your strategy around paid search ads. You can, and should, also incorporate search engine optimization into your tactics. Using this combination of the two will help you to attract your ideal consumer, wherever they may be.

More than 35 percent of Google searches consist of four or more words. This means that people generally aren’t searching for one-word queries, at least not when it comes to products. This gives companies the opportunity to target long-tailed keywords that hone in on specific niches and product offerings. Smart businesses can use this to their advantage, finding these searchers with particular tastes and appealing directly to those consumers.

This can also be done through paid search. While paid search alone isn’t a sustainable strategy for success, it’s a very valuable element of a well-rounded SEM approach. Marketers can use paid search ads to cut the line, allowing their ads to be seen by searchers before even the top organic search result. Best of all, companies only pay when their ads are seen by the very demographics they specify, mitigating costs and ensuring that all of their impressions are high-quality.

Paid search is particularly effective when it comes to mobile searchers. On desktop searches, searchers may see as many as four text-based ads relating to their search. On mobile, though, the searcher generally sees one ad on their screen above the organic search results, and even better, it’s a visually pleasing, picture-based ad. Because of this, 65 percent of paid search clicks come from mobile devices.

These tactics can help any business to get exposure and gain popularity among their target audience. But it’s only through dedication to SEM that a company can use these search engines to drive sales, raise awareness and improve the profitability of the business.